Archive for Tuesday, December 6, 2011

KU search may look for current head coach

Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes.

Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes.

December 6, 2011


With so many potential candidates and so little information surfacing, it can be difficult to dissect the Kansas University football program’s ongoing coaching search.

As the quest to find Turner Gill’s replacement enters Day 9 and moves forward after one of its quietest days to date, it seems safe to place the remaining candidates into a few different categories.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is off the table and Southern Miss star Larry Fedora — one of the hottest names on the planet — might not be an option for KU much longer. Fedora, whose stock soared following last weekend’s 49-28 pounding of then-No. 6 Houston in the Conference USA championship game, is rumored to be the top candidate at North Carolina, while Arizona State and Texas A&M; are also in pursuit.

With Leach signing on at Washington State and the odds of landing Fedora dwindling, KU’s options shift to a couple of other groupings — former head coaches, current head coaches and current assistant coaches.

All three groups include worthy candidates, but sources have indicated that KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger may be inclined to stick to one of the key points in the criteria he outlined last week before hitting the road. If that’s the case, head coaching experience becomes key.

Many of the names kicked around as potential options for Kansas fit the criteria, with Dave Christensen (Wyoming), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), June Jones (SMU), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech) and Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois) all currently employed in the college ranks.

Gaining access to interview the guys who have jobs already is a little tougher than finding one’s way into a conversation with former head coaches such as Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee) and Houston Nutt (Ole Miss) or Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, who was the head coach at Boise State and Arizona State before jumping to the NFL.

The reason? Common courtesy, according to KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony, who said ADs often times will ask permission to speak to a coach who is under contract with another school.

“There’s no policy,” Marchiony said. “It’s just what the athletic director feels is in the best interest of his school. Part of that is what the AD feels is in the best interest of any potential candidate, as well.”

Calls Monday, from the Journal-World to more than half a dozen athletic departments that employ coaches believed to be KU candidates, yielded little information about the depth of KU’s search. Most athletic directors either ignored inquiries about whether KU had sought permission to contact their coaches or were unavailable. The only one who was reached, Louisiana Tech’s Bruce Van de Velde, said he had no comment at this time.

While head coaching experience seems to be a major bonus for candidates interested in landing the KU job, a handful of assistant coaches could remain in the hunt should Zenger choose to go away from the guys above.

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, and perhaps even Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables each could rise into the top tier in the coming days. For now, it appears as if their lack of head coaching experience may keep them on the back burner.

As was the case Monday, a lot of what KU is able to do in its search depends on how openings at Texas A&M;, North Carolina and Arizona State are filled first.


Larry Evans 6 years, 6 months ago

North Carolina is NOT a high profile job. It was sour for many years and still isn't much to crow about... But it seems the LJW thinks so .

stevieboy 6 years, 6 months ago

Shows you how low the ku football is. No fan support at all...No worthwhile coach will take this job..

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

Simply not true, but you are entitled to your opinions.

newmedia 6 years, 6 months ago

So why can't the KU job be filled before Texas A&M, North Carolina and Arizona State? If KU has been reduced to the dust bin of college football programs and has to wait until "big name" programs fill their coaching vacancies just what expectations should Jayhawk fans realistically have? Just asking.

Richard Payton 6 years, 6 months ago

Zenger that list of Chryst, Malzahn, Stoops or Venables would be a great hire. I could care less if the person ever was a head coach.

parbuddy38 6 years, 6 months ago

How many times are you going to write the same article?

CHEEZIT 6 years, 6 months ago

Exactly! It's like ESPN talking about the BCS! They'll do it for the next month until the bowl games! It gets old about the second day!!!

tophawk87 6 years, 6 months ago

Should have kept Turner GIll for one more year, he wasn't even playing with his own Juniors and Seniors. This search is now hurting recruiting....

Bill Lee 6 years, 6 months ago

I've said from the beginning that KU should hire someone who already has a job. Most other businesses do that. Offer $2 million a year to someone making less than half that and the opportunity to play in the Big XII, and we should be able to land a top flight coaching talent.

drillsgt 6 years, 6 months ago

john gruden...MNF......tampa bay..okland.....eagles...packers...and to him

Commenting has been disabled for this item.