Archive for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ex-KU AD lauds Sheahon Zenger’s approach

Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger watches the Jayhawks warm up before tip off against Texas Tech on February 1, 2011.

Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger watches the Jayhawks warm up before tip off against Texas Tech on February 1, 2011.

December 7, 2011


Fans of Kansas University football may be growing tired of the silence surrounding KU’s quest to find a new head coach, but there are those out there who are impressed by the crafty way with which KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger has conducted the search.

“I admire him for what he’s doing and the way he’s doing it,” said former KU AD Monte Johnson, who held the post from 1982-87. “He indicated right from the start that’s the way he was gonna conduct the search. He didn’t try to mislead anybody. And I have nothing but great respect for what he’s trying to do.”

During his brief time leading Kansas athletics, Johnson had a hand in hiring three football coaches. The first, prior to the 1983 season, was Mike Gottfried, who previously injected life into the football cultures at Murray State and Cincinnati. The second came after Gottfried left following the 1985 season, when Johnson turned to KU assistant Bob Valesente. Valesente lasted just two seasons, and although both Johnson and Valesente left KU after the 1987 season, it was a tip from Johnson about a young coach named Glen Mason that helped lead KU to find Valesente’s successor.

Johnson remembers about each search. In many ways, he was proud of each. One thing he made sure to emphasize was that the coaches he went after were in good standing with the schools they were at or had been at previously.

“I don’t think there was one coach on my list that had recently been fired,” said Johnson, recalling the search of 1982.

That was by design. Johnson said pursuing coaches who have been fired within the past several weeks can send the wrong message. Although none of the names on Zenger’s official list are known absolutely, some that have been floated in the past week include Houston Nutt (Ole Miss), Pat Hill (Fresno State) and Mike Sherman (Texas A&M;). Each was fired within the past two weeks. None are believed to be serious candidates for the job.

“I’m not sure that I would refer to them as dangers, but any time you’re looking at someone who was recently relieved of their duties, it almost automatically conjures up questions in people’s minds,” Johnson said. “I have to think, if Sheahon has his choice, he’s going to find a sitting coach that has done well and has the strengths that he’s looking for.”

Beyond the negative connotations that come with targeting a coach who has just been fired, one of the biggest reasons Johnson says it’s best to stay away is the time-crunch factor.

“If you’re looking at someone who was fired at the end of this season, how much due diligence could you do to know exactly everything that went into that firing?” Johnson asked. “You can’t track down every reference and talk to every administrator, and they can’t tell you everything because most of them are more concerned about being sued. I’m not sure there’s enough time in the day to verify everything about a coach that’s just been fired, while at the same time carrying on a legitimate search for the best coach that you can find.”

Fedora to UNC?

A report in the Winston-Salem Journal late Tuesday evening indicated that Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora had agreed to become the next coach at North Carolina. Sources said KU was interested in Fedora and might have been in his final three.

If Fedora is UNC-bound, the Jayhawks will have to take their search in a new direction. Some of the names that are rumored to remain in the running include: Dirk Koetter (Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Dave Christensen (Wyoming), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech), Gus Malzahn (Auburn OC) and Chris Petersen (Boise State). There also has been some chatter about a couple of candidates who have not been mentioned much, if at all.

Nothing has leaked from KU during the past nine days, and, according to Tim Caboni, KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, that’s been the goal.

“There are less than a handful of people,” said Caboni, asked who was privy to the details of the search. “The posts on message boards and Twitter, as interesting as they may be, I can guarantee they are not coming from the very few people who would know. They are not posting on message boards and tweeting.”

Camaraderie no issue

As KU prepares to welcome in its third football coach in four seasons, there are plenty of factors that must be considered. According to Barry Hinson, the director of operations for KU’s men’s basketball team, getting along with KU’s hoops coach isn’t one of them.

“You never have to worry about Bill Self getting along with anybody,” Hinson said. “They could hire Darth Vader to be the football coach, and Bill Self would pull for him and do everything he could to help him be successful.”

Gill on ESPN

Former KU coach Turner Gill joined a panel of college football analysts Tuesday afternoon on an ESPN show known as “The Experts.”

Gill, who was fired by KU on Nov. 27 after finishing 5-19 in two seasons, recently was named a finalist for the head coaching job at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. UAB elected to hire Arkansas assistant Garrick McGee instead of Gill, whose overall record in six seasons as a Div. I head coach is 25-49.


shadowbox66044 6 years, 6 months ago

Turner Gill = Herm Edwards. Where are the haters now?

DRsmith 6 years, 6 months ago

Looks like KU will end up with another scrub for a coach. Good job Zenger. Don't get comfortable in that position.

jesse499 6 years, 6 months ago

Normal your already saying he's done a bad job and don't have a clue what he's doing at all.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

Zenger can't control where a coach wants to go. He sells the program like anyone else.

Sayers44 6 years, 6 months ago

Zenger should have never fired Gill until he had a replacement committed to KU.

Zenger thought he had Leech and lost.

Now he must scramble like Steve Peterson had to do at Nebraska.

At this stage of the game Zenger is competing with 10 or so other schools for coaches.

Note to Zenger --Not smart to fire current coach until a new coach is committed.

stevieboy 6 years, 6 months ago

Exactly, no recruit that is any good would commit to a program with no coach.Zengers secrecy is just so other coaches won't know how many have turned job down ..

swavity 6 years, 6 months ago

If by "scrambling" you mean engaged in a typical football coaching search, then I guess he's scrambling. He may or may not have thought he had Leach - sounds like Leach didn't want to come to KU but considered only because he's friends with Zenger.

What purpose would it have served to keep Gill while he's flying around the country interviewing for the position? No self-respecting coach would ever come to Kansas if he did that. Any of a hundred potential hires remain that would be just as good as or better than Gill.

drillsgt 6 years, 6 months ago

leech would of never come to get off it

blindrabbit 6 years, 6 months ago

Is the leech people keep referring to the same as individual as the Mike Leach going to Wazzu.

jesse499 6 years, 6 months ago

I have an idea why don't we let the man do his job before we start bitchin about the job he his done.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 6 months ago

Nonsense. KU is the party that broke the terms of the contract, not Gill. Zenger barely even gave him a chance to play his own recruits.

luv2recre 6 years, 6 months ago

SONNY DYKES – PLEASE! He’s a Mumme disciple (spread offense), has the pedigree (coaching linage), hometown connections (Texas high school football), and young (enthusiastic, energy), experienced (jock, good decisions). The Total Package, not glamorous (no attitude), a hard worker, with realistic expectations, and a real long term solution (stability) to program that has potential (a destination).

boknowssports 6 years, 6 months ago

nonsense, Gill should have been fired for the incompetency clause in his contract. His record at KU screams incompetent. Heck, he did not even come across good at all on ESPN.

6 years, 6 months ago

Incompetent? How many games have you ever coached? My bet that most people on these boards have little if any coaching experience but they sure do know how to judge and give out information.

KU cannot compete if it does not have talent - end of story. The talent Mangino brought to KU were good guys but when you are competing in a good league you better have something a shade better than good.

6 years, 6 months ago

Headed to the great state of Arizona ...

Watch KU hires Fulmer ... what a thrill that would be, hiring a retread.

luv2recre 6 years, 6 months ago

Charlie Weis HC at KU go Dr. Sheahon Zenger, Rock Chalk!

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