Archive for Tuesday, November 29, 2011

KU football turns eye to future

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger hangs out with head coach Turner Gill on the sidelines of practice in this Aug. 16 file photo. Zenger announced Gill was fired on Sunday.

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger hangs out with head coach Turner Gill on the sidelines of practice in this Aug. 16 file photo. Zenger announced Gill was fired on Sunday.

November 29, 2011


As some members of the coaching staff loaded cardboard boxes into vehicles outside of the Anderson Family Football Complex on Monday afternoon, Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger met inside with the KU football team and a few remaining members of the staff.

The meeting began just after 4 p.m., lasted about 20 minutes and, according to sophomore running back James Sims, was about nothing more than getting the program back on track.

“He basically just talked about getting stuff corrected,” Sims said. “That’s pretty much what he was giving to us.”

Sims said Zenger did not share details of the ongoing coaching search to replace former KU coach Turner Gill, who was fired Sunday after going 5-19 in two seasons.

“No, sir,” Sims said. “Not yet. It was just about all the stuff that was going on and how we need to get it corrected and turned around.”

According to Sims, the Jayhawks liked what they heard.

“It was received real well,” said Sims of Zenger’s message. “We all respect the AD and the decision that he made, and we’re just looking forward to whoever’s coming in next.”

While the answer to that question remains up in the air, interim head coach Reggie Mitchell shed some light on the topic while speaking with a small group of reporters on a teleconference Monday morning.

Mitchell, who went through a coaching transition in 1999, when Nick Saban left Michigan State, said the important thing for the coaching staff was to maintain contact with KU’s recruits and keep working.

“Everybody’s professional,” Mitchell said. “We came here to do a job. We would love to be able to do it with coach Gill, but now that’s not possible so we just have to be professional and keep moving forward.”

Mitchell said the recruits who planned official visits for this weekend said they would take those visits and he remained optimistic about KU’s ability to keep the recruiting class of 2012 largely intact. As for attracting a new head coach, Mitchell, who currently is in his second stint with the Jayhawks, said that should not be difficult either. He also said it should be done in 10-15 days.

“Lawrence itself is a great place,” he said. “You’ve got a great academic institution in Kansas. And, when you think about it, there’s only 10 Big 12 schools. So for anybody that wants to coach at this level, Kansas is a great place to coach. I think it’ll sell itself.”

Asked if he hoped to stick around to be a part of the new staff, Mitchell didn’t hide his optimism.

“Yeah, I’d like to be a part of the staff here,” he said. “My wife’s a KU grad, and I spent 11 years of my life here. If it works out, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to find something else to do.”

For the next several days, Mitchell’s to-do list includes maintaining all aspects of the KU football program. He has been in constant contact with Zenger and also has helped coordinate meetings of the players and other staff members. Mitchell said he, wide receivers coach David Beaty and defensive-line coach Buddy Wyatt would be the only three members of the old staff on the road recruiting.

“Any decision that’s made with the football program, I’m gonna make those decisions,” he said. “Right now, we’re getting ready for finals, and then guys will be going home. So hopefully there won’t be anything that I’ll have to deal with that’s gonna be a big issue.”

Rumor mill

KU’s isn’t the only college football coaching job that’s open right now, and what happens elsewhere could go a long way toward determining which direction Kansas goes. Here’s what the Journal-World learned Monday:

There are a few names you can cross off the list: Jim Tressel, Mike Stoops and Jim Leavitt.

Sources told the Journal-World that Tressel would have no interest in the job. He also never was approached about it.

As for Leavitt, who currently coaches linebackers for the San Francisco 49ers, the timing may be the biggest obstacle for him. Although he has ties to Zenger, he would not be able to join the program for at least two more months because of the ongoing NFL season. Furthermore, the mistreatment of players that led to his dismissal at South Florida continues to be an issue.

It appears that Mike Leach remains KU’s top target, with Larry Fedora, of Southern Miss, not far behind. Fedora’s name is gaining steam at Ole Miss, and if the Rebels take him off the board, that could eliminate one of KU’s top options.

In addition, UCLA, which long has been rumored to have interest in Leach, appears to have pegged Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin as its top choices, making a Leach-to-Kansas move more plausible.

That leaves those two, along with Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Oklahoma DC Brent Venables and a host of darkhorse candidates as names worth tracking from here on out.

Gill releases statement

Gill released a statement through the university Monday.

“I would like to thank the University of Kansas for the opportunity to be its head football coach,” Gill’s statement read. “On behalf of our staff, I want to thank the players for putting their heart and soul into this football program the past two years. I hope nothing but the best for all their future endeavors, both on and off the field.”

Mitchell said his conversations with Gill since Sunday had been largely positive.

“He was disappointed that we didn’t get it done,” Mitchell said. “But he was still the class guy that he is. Upbeat, positive, he said if there was anything he could do to help, he’d be more than willing to do.”

Self talks football

KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self shared his thoughts on the football situation during his regularly scheduled news conference Monday.

“I think yesterday was a sad day,” Self said. “Everybody likes and respects Turner and his staff, without question. A lot of times in business you make decisions that are hard. But I know that we’ll be in good hands moving forward. I have total confidence in the administration to bring in a good guy, the right guy, and I certainly wish the best for Turner and his family.”

Asked for his opinion on where the KU football job ranked nationally, Self did not shy away from saying what he believed.

“I would rank it definitely as a good job,” he said. “I don’t think that the football job at KU is the equivalent of the basketball job at KU, because there’s not as much history and tradition. But I do think this. We’re still selling the same product. We’re selling the school, the education, the conference. I think it’s really a good job. And I think it will definitely attract a lot of people. It’s been proven that you can win big here.”

Self went on to stress the importance of football functioning as a money-maker for the university.

“I don’t know exactly where we’re at,” he said. “But I think basketball is close to maxed out as far as what we can generate. So I think it’s very important for our football program to be successful. We need football to be good also because football brings you an element of enthusiasm and energy to your campus ... There’s no revenue stream that this university can create that’s greater than putting people in the seats over there (Memorial Stadium).”


lionheart72661 6 years, 6 months ago

Possible conversation between Turner Gill and Lew Perkins (For fun but possible) Perkins: Mr. Gill, Would you like a job with a win-win contract? Gill: What do you mean win-win? Perkins: Simple, you come in sign a multi year 10million dollar contract, coach a couple years, get fired and walk with 6 million dollars! Gill: Shoot, yes! where do I sign? Perkins: Ahhhh! Great. That will teach these school officials a lesson! DISCLAIMER: KU please do not hunt me down and sue me because like you I have no money. This was a hypothetical post. Although it may have happened just like I posted! ;)

jayhawkinsf 6 years, 6 months ago

The article is about moving forward, not looking back at the past.

SCJayhawker 6 years, 6 months ago

Great move in removing the strength staff. They were not worth the money being paid. Two additional firings remain. Mitchell must go. Very suprised to see him as interim. He is a loser. Has been associated with losing teams all his life and that cancer must also be excised. Next the training staff. Some of the trainers have been nothing but obstacles in returning injured players back to good health. To have injured players with knee injuries be forced to go out and perform 110 yard sprints is counterproductive to good healing. Their condesending remarks and poor behavior toward injured Jayhawks does not promote a cohesive "Team" environment. Some players got to the point of not reporting injuries in order to avoid trips into Dr Mengelas torture chambers. They must go starting with Dave.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

Would like to keep David Beaty who was on Mangino's staff. He has the pedigree of tough hard-nosed football.

mlk733 6 years, 6 months ago

but thats why thy fired mangino, he was to hard nose

parrothead8 6 years, 6 months ago

Sure, fire Reggie Mitchell, the recruiting coordinator, the one guy who all of our recruits have been building relationships with, at a time when we have no coaching staff for our recruits to keep in contact with. That's brilliant, dude.

SCJayhawker 6 years, 6 months ago

Hey parrothead, guess how many guys on the team now actually even spoke with our wonderful recruiting coord? Not too many. Mitchell is a figure head only. I have spoke with players, and their families and none of them were worhty of having Mitchell come down off his thrown and even speak to them. Wise up and smell the coffee dude!

Douglas Garst 6 years, 6 months ago

KU should stop the searching over the nation for a football coach...there is a local coach that has a better record and lives in Lawrence and would win more than 2 games. Who is it?

Mr. Lisher coaching tenure spans 29 years from including one year as head football coach at South Jr. High in Lawrence to nine years as Defensive coordinator at Lawrence high school. Coach Lisher has coached in 8 State Championship football games winning seven. He also served as head track coach at Lawrence High school for four years where he won a State Championship in 1991. Coach Lisher has been head football coach for eighteen years, three at Blue Valley and fifteen at Free State. Coach Lisher has also coached in three Shrine Bowl high school all-star games, serving as head coach in 2006 as well as four Kansas City Metro All star games serving as head coach in 2010.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 6 months ago

As much as I like the coaching abilities of Lisher, you have to be kidding, right?

Tyson Travis 6 years, 6 months ago

Not to demean the abilities of Lisher, I'm sure he's a competent coach, but KU has been down that road before. Anyone old enough to remember Chuck Mather, the 'best' HS coach in the country from Massillon, OH? KU brought him in here in 1954, after J.V. Sikes' program went into a losing skid like Mangino's, he promptly went 0-10 his first year, (I attended the 0-65 OU blowout and four other games.) I think he finally got to a barely winning record in '57 before they replaced him with Jack Mitchell. HS coaches do well with the talent that comes to them, they're excellent trainers of future talent, but you need someone who can recruit nationally.

Douglas Garst 6 years, 6 months ago

Mainly "tongue in cheek" thought...Gil was suppose to be "the" coach with not the record to support it and it cost big money - so is the next coach going to be "record proven" but will end up "not the" coach and the cost will be greater.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree i said that 3 weeks ago about an in house high school coach. Although I never specifically said Lisher. But I know that I'm sick and tired of these retreads getting jobs they don't deserve. In college football its like a disease it just never stops.

Mike Leach come on you guys the man knows his offense but the current roster of kids are slow again. Plus TT had horrible defense with Leach. The question is who would be available as a great defensive coach?

Plus KU needs to recruit in Louisiana, Alabama and California. Lawrence is a tuff sell for 5 star recruits from Texas.

Locomotion 6 years, 6 months ago


I find myself vaguely interested in this whole matter, but do not find it terribly relevant.

I attended classes in the original Fraser Hall and watched in the student union when we lost the Orange Bowl by having 12 men on the field on what would have been the last (winning) play. I have suffered with these huckleberrys for almost 50 years and know a wee bit about what I speak.

The Kansas football job is an audition for a big-time position. If he loses, ala Gill, he'll go for that reason and if wins, ala Pepper Rogers, he'll move on because of that reason. The most Ikely outcome is somewhere close to .500 ball in which case he will finish his contract and be resigned or no depending on the market and current administration.

The Bill Snyders of this world are once-in-a-lifetime affairs.

SCJayhawker 6 years, 6 months ago

Your joking right? This guy is the number one problem in the training room. He needs to go yesterday. He destroys the team atmosphere. His condecending remarks are uncalled for and not needed in college athletics.The guy is a joke and everyone unfortunate enough to have to be around him knows it.

stevieboy 6 years, 6 months ago

kU wont find any decent coach, this is a basketball school. Always will be,we should consider removing ourselves from football..And iam serious...

Brian Conrad 6 years, 6 months ago

hmm just few years back KU top ten in nation. won the orange bowl! the only school in history to be in a BCS football bowl, college world series And a FINAL FOUR same year. KU can and will be able to find a coach to compete. KU had been in the top ten several times over the last few coaches. Glen mason had some GREAT teams and strong recruits. And YES Mangino has many recruits in the NFL and was in the top ten and won THE Orange Bowl!!! look KU fans not looking for national titles.. top 20 and bowl... Fans will fill the stadium... many coaches would love this job! we are not looking or Demand undeafeted seasons like many coaches are asked to do.. heck 8 wins and we will love the coach... 6 wins gets you to a bowl... Stevie boy .. you are way way off here...

jhawkinsf 6 years, 6 months ago

Think Los Angeles, think USC and UCLA. when you think of USC, you think football. When you think UCLA, you think basketball. Now think Kentucky, Duke. North Carolina, Kansas and you think basketball. Think Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame and you think football. Almost all schools are either football or basketball. Some, like mizzou are neither (I couldn't resist). And sometimes, a football school does well in basketball for a short period of time (Florida). Sometimes a basketball school does well in football (KU winning the Orange Bowl). But for the most part, schools are what they are. We are a basketball school. A damn fine basketball school, but long term football success like Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, it's not going to happen.
We need to set realistic goals. A winning record of any sort would be great. A bowl game of any sort would be great. No scandals would be great. Integrity within the program would be great.

stevieboy 6 years, 6 months ago

A winning record in this league? A bowl game ? are who we think we are...

Jayhawk1963 6 years, 6 months ago

If K-State can do it , there is no rational reason why KU can't.... Besides, no one expects KU to ever excel at football like UT, OU or NU but they should be able to emulate Texas Tech (win about 60% of their games, usually go to a bowl and win half of them, etc.) And that would be a tremendous improvement over our past performance.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 6 months ago

Well said I've been saying that during the Big-12 scattering everywhere fiasco. Kansas is basketball period. Unless KU recruits Alabama, Louisiana and California and forget about those slow 3 star Texans.

SCJayhawker 6 years, 6 months ago

Your joking right? This guy is the number one problem in the training room. He needs to go yesterday. He destroys the team atmosphere. His condecending remarks are uncalled for and not needed in college athletics.The guy is a joke and everyone unfortunate enough to have to be around him knows it.

Snoop 6 years, 6 months ago

Jack Del Rio earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Kansas in 1990, while he was a player for the Kansas City Chiefs.

I'm just sayin...

oldbaldguy 6 years, 6 months ago

Take their time and pick a keeper. Leach is not it. He is presently suing his old employer, we do not need that.

puddleglum 6 years, 6 months ago

Leach is exactly what we need! He is a winner, and by golly I'd love to see someone stand up to this university. what happened to larry sinks was pathetic.

but back to the coach: I would love to see Leach's high flying offense in effect.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 6 months ago

I've disagreed with you before, but I agree now. Leach would bring real excitement and competitiveness back to our team. Leach is offensive, and I love it!

He's probably toned down a bit of his "fat girlfriend" interview rhetoric. Even if not, hire him!

Kevin Randell 6 years, 6 months ago

All I can say is that I am sooooooo glad that our AD and even our Head Men's Basketball coach does not share the same view as several of the Kansas Jayhawk Basketball fans. I mean we are not talking about building a team who will compete for a National Championship every year like Texas and OU. All we are talking about is building a decent and respectable football program that can go to bowl games. I have a question. Why are there so many people on here who are basketball fans, hate football so much? All I can say is, who cares what KU football has done in the past. I wasn't there....all I care about is what we do in the future because we can't change the past, but we can change the future.

Brian Conrad 6 years, 6 months ago

Stevie boy... with non con games , all KU needs from a coach is to beat few big 12 schools and we get a bowl bid. with a Decent ( not Great ) coach.. few wins in big 12 very real.. heck only few years ago we beat KSU and MU most of the time.. check overall wins... look who is at the bottom all time in big 12.... History tells us KU very easy middle of big 12 and KSU overall the bottom.. one good coach and KU will be back check stats bellow .. Also with NU, A&M, MU gone KU moves up! Texas 845 317 33 .707 115 1195 Nebraska1 832 341 40 .701 118 1208 Oklahoma 802 302 53 .716 114 1157 Colorado2 658 419 36 .591 117 1113 Texas A&M3 665 439 48 .577 112 1152 Texas Tech 512 393 32 .544 82 928 Missouri4 612 512 52 .520 116 1126 Kansas 568 550 58 .483 117 1176 Baylor 525 531 43 .478 105 1099 Oklahoma State 519 521 47 .499 107 1087 Iowa State 476 556 46 .442 115 1078 Kansas State 459 604 41 .416 111 1104

Brian Conrad 6 years, 6 months ago

very real chance Louisville will come to Big 12 and maybe Cinn .. ( Louisville already telling recruits they will play in Big 12 ) any way , when we get back to 12 teams and conference is back to North and South... KU will have as good a chance to win North as anyone. KSU coach will retire for good soon.. no Nebraska or MU.

Brian Conrad 6 years, 6 months ago

all time wins big 12 schools

Texas Oklahoma West Virginia Texas Tech ( largely due to Leach ) Kansas & TCU are tied 568 wins Baylor OK State Iowa State KSU holds up the bottom...

beaujackson 6 years, 6 months ago

It will be snowing in August when KU football wins the big ( ? )

zackattackku 6 years, 6 months ago

Maybe Zenger asks Leach to coach at KU on the condition that he drop the suit against his former employer.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 6 months ago

Mike Leach, if interested, should be hired for as many reasons as I can think of.

average 6 years, 6 months ago

If, after two seasons of whomever Zenger hires, KU is the worst team in BCS-AQ play two years in a row, and its average score in league play is 27 points under their opposition over those two years then, yes, Zenger and whoever he hires probably go.

mlk733 6 years, 6 months ago

ku just likes firing. you have to let the coach coach !! Stay away Leach Texans don't like this liberal crap !!

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Skip Holtz would be a great fit for KU if we could tear him away from the east coast.. The kind of money TG got might do it though.

juma 6 years, 6 months ago

Hey, did I forget something here. Is KU a "university" or just a place for the ghetto to go pro? Why is so much money $$$ going for NON-academic activities?????

mlk733 6 years, 6 months ago

wow kansas fan, why would any real coach come to ku. They fired the best coach they ever had, why because he was to hard on players? You would never even here any of that crap from a real school !!! Football is hard nosed and the coaches have to be to be successful. Wanting to hire someone thats done the same thing that Mangino did (allegedly) ? What, so it's ok now? Or has the light shined on ku fan since the scammy AD is now gone. So no more wait till BB season? Why would a real D1 coach come here after the way ku has been so wishy washie about what's ok. KU you desearved Gill !! Good luck with next one!!

7texdude 6 years, 6 months ago

Leach accepted the Washington State job, according to ESPN. WHo was the No. 2 guy - Fedora? So, maybe, who is our third choice?

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