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Archive for Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sheahon Zenger’s challenge: Find money to make coaching change

Kansas head coach Turner Gill is escorted by security from the field following the Jayhawks' 59-21 loss to rival Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill is escorted by security from the field following the Jayhawks' 59-21 loss to rival Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

October 22, 2011

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 59-21 loss to Kansas State on Oct. 22, 2011.

Sheahon Zenger, this is your mission: Find a way to get the Kansas University athletic department out of the financial pressure your predecessor, Lew Perkins, put it in, in part because he believed in giving coaches everything they needed to succeed with little regard for how much it cost.

Perkins brought KU’s fundraising into the 21st century, upgraded facilities and signed many coaches to one-sided contracts that paid them far too much money.

Turner Gill was earning $450,000 per year at University at Buffalo, where he raised a national embarrassment of a football program to respectability. Perkins didn’t raise Gill’s salary to $1 million. He gave him $2 million per year and guaranteed all five years.

Ask yourself this question: Have you ever known anybody in any industry who said no to an offer that more than doubles his or her salary? Didn’t think so. Gill, no doubt, would have taken $1 million a year.

Perkins put too much emphasis on image, believing that if he paid a coach $2 million, the coach would be perceived as a $2 million coach, which would help in raising money, landing recruits and generating a national buzz.

In the wake of the latest embarrassment for a football program that had been raised to respectability by Gill’s predecessor, Saturday’s 59-21 loss to undefeated Kansas State left many wondering: So how does Zenger get out of this pickle?

Irony of all ironies, hated rival Missouri could help out the Kansas football program in its moment of desperate need.

Should Missouri, as expected, bolt the Big 12 along with Texas A&M, the two SEC-bound schools will pay exit fees that will be split among the eight remaining conference members. A combined fee of $32 million is as good a guess as any. That’s $4 million per member. Gill has $6 million left on his contract after this season.

A pool of donors will be counted on to come up with the rest. If they do, that’s a sign they won’t make Zenger pay for Perkins’ excesses.

But when? Nothing will happen during the season because mid-season moves, especially with classy coaches, lack class.

Zenger made it clear in a postgame statement that this mess will be fixed, and the only logical way to interpret that is that if Gill doesn’t fix it himself in the remaining five weeks of the season, the AD will by replacing the football coach.

The scripts in four of the past five weeks (Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas State) varied little: Decent first half. The door viciously slammed on KU’s fingers in the third quarter. Oklahoma State varied, dominating the Jayhawks immediately and mercifully slamming on the brakes before halftime.

The third-quarter score the past five weeks: Opponents 80, Kansas 7. That sort of a statistic happens in big-time sports about as often as a school helps its most hated rival to dig itself out of a crater.

With each third-quarter disappearing act, more and more embarrassed boosters have vowed to stop donating to the athletic department if either a drastic change in performance or in the coach himself doesn’t take place.

Behind the scenes, a prominent, highly respected alum has tried to calculate the cost of not replacing the coach (withheld donations, projected decline in ticket sales, etc.) to compare it to the cost of replacing him. Clearly, the wheels are in motion for a change.

If Gill’s team doesn’t right itself and a change is made, nobody expects a complete overhaul in the coaching staff, as happened when Mark Mangino was bounced for being an ornery football coach. (Remember when ornery football coach was considered a redundancy? I do.)

Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell is among the nation’s best recruiters. Receivers coach David Beaty demands attention to detail from his players and recruits the heck out of the Dallas Metroplex. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long has a personality and knowledge well-suited for developing young quarterbacks. Just about everywhere he goes, offensive line coach J.B. Grimes upgrades the program’s running game.

Bill Snyder, in the midst of his second resurrection act, has his Wildcats welcoming unbeaten Oklahoma into Manhattan. Clearly, Snyder sees football as few ever have. He even knows how to look into the future. His complimentary words had a ring of sincerity to them, so it should come as no surprise that he was not talking about KU’s defense or special teams.

“The University of Kansas is a very fine offensive football team,” Snyder said. “They have good balance in their offense and they can throw it and run it. They have good offensive linemen. I like those backs and I think that quarterback (Jordan Webb) is a poised young guy. They are going to get better and better because they have some talent on that side, but right now they are a young football team.”

Inexperience isn’t an excuse for a quick barrage of defensive and special teams blunders: allowing a 48-yard pass play on the final play from scrimmage of the first half, a 97-yard kick return for a touchdown on the first play of the second half, and committing three penalties before the first snap of the second half.

It’s difficult to fathom a football team that can cram that much undisciplined slop into 32 seconds of game clock can right itself in five weeks.

Comments

irvan moore 3 years, 1 month ago

don't forget. some of the blame must go to bgl also. if turner gill was truly a man of integrity with high values as he wants others to perceive him he would resign and take a paltry million dollar buyout to walk away.

danmoore 3 years, 1 month ago

I understand the anti-Gill sentiment but the chancellor?

pace 3 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't mind raising money for teachers, education, arts, the poor, the ill, but nope, end the corrupt sports sink hole and let them play kick ball.

mcontrary 3 years, 1 month ago

There was a recent editorial in the LJWorld regarding the merits of Gill, but Gill had a poor coaching record before coming to KU and it hasn’t improved since arriving.

Robert Rauktis 3 years, 1 month ago

Fire some of the eighty or so Assistant DA's at $140,000 per. That department makes the Pentagon look efficient.

There are also some underachieving coaches otherwise with disgraceful salaries. Why lose rich when you can lose poor?

BringBackMark 3 years, 1 month ago

I believe several assistant coaches also have gauranteed contracts at least through year3.

Douglas Garst 3 years, 1 month ago

So far it appears all of the comments lean to "the coaches are 100% responsible for the KU poor performance". I have watched several of the games and I don't recall seeing any of the coaches fully uniformed on the field missing tackles, missing blocking assignments, dropping passes, inaccurate passing, or making pentalies.

The current KU players have plenty of talent but sorely lack a key ability....IT IS CALLED DESIRE TO PERFORM AND WIN!!!!!!

Want to know what "DESIRE" looks like? You just saw it this weekend but the players were wearing "Purple & White"

Jason Bailey 3 years, 1 month ago

Ever played team sports before? It's the coach's job to inspire, motivate and get the team fired up and ready to play. If there's not a natural leader within the team who can do this, it's the coach's job.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. Regardless of who's fault it is, the head is responsible.

Douglas Garst 3 years, 1 month ago

Yes I have played team sports...I never needed to have a coach inspire me to win!!! Who wants to play just to lose? Winners don't play football, winners beat others that just play football, any other sport, or succeeding in life.

droppinplates 3 years, 1 month ago

Why are players who lack desire to perform and win even on the field? Who's decision is it?

Larry 3 years, 1 month ago

orhs1963 - I'm sure you felt this way when Prince was at K-State, correct? Fact is, these guys play with no emotion, little effort, and are fundamentally unsound. How many times do you see a defensive player in the correct spot, but position wise, they have the wrong foot forward and can't make the play, if the player is even in the right spot? This boils down to coaching. Young team or not, progress should be visible. We are less than three seasons removed from an Oranga Bowl victory, yet this ranks as one of the worst KU defenses ever.

Larry 3 years, 1 month ago

orhs1963 - I'm sure you felt this way when Prince was at K-State, correct? Fact is, these guys play with no emotion, little effort, and are fundamentally unsound. How many times do you see a defensive player in the correct spot, but position wise, they have the wrong foot forward and can't make the play, if the player is even in the right spot? This boils down to coaching. Young team or not, progress should be visible. We are less than three seasons removed from an Oranga Bowl victory, yet this ranks as one of the worst KU defenses ever.

IslandContributor 3 years, 1 month ago

I miss Mangino...Those times were nice when we were competitive. If was fun to sit at a bar and tell people how underrated we are and argue that the media did not give us the credit deserved. Now it is alright that the media overlooks us because its back to embarrassing. Its to bad we burned bridges with Mangino I would like him back. Why did we replace him with a coach with a poor record and expect things to continue to be good? At least he knew how to get the job done.

RatherBGolfin 3 years, 1 month ago

I doubt that we could even get Mangino to answer the phone, but I'd sure like to see Mike Leach in Lawrence.

ManLaw 3 years, 1 month ago

There aren't many coaches in America that could make Kansas successful in football (AND would take the job). No Mr. Nice Guy can do it and nobody who already has a better job would take it.

We had that guy and ran him out on a rail because he didn't fit some "Adonis" image. Some passionate lunatic fringe like Rick Leach (who wouldn't consider it) would trump our current "No Swearing, Tackling, or Blocking" coaching style.

Kansas is a tough job and will take an extremely tough coach.

RatherBGolfin 3 years, 1 month ago

There ARE jobs where you can make millions shoving your religious beliefs down impressionable throats with out having to produce any results. They call them televangelists. An NCAA head football coach is NOT one of those jobs. We have talent. We've showed that in stretches every game, but we're getting humiliated week after week on mental errors and tactical fiascoes. That's on coaching. Half time is when coaches earn their money, correcting your own mistakes and making adjustments to what the other team is doing. We're losing the 3rd quarter by over 70 points this year and it would be MUCH worse than that if Ok-State hadn't pulled their starters midway through the 2nd quarter. We even lost the third quarter 14 to 7 to McNeese State. When there are no consequences for a lack of discipline and bone head plays in practice, why should these kids think it would be any different on Saturdays. I was afraid Mangino would up and die of a heart attack, I never dreamed Perkins would be stupid enough to fire him. When Nebraska left the Big 12 they should have been forced to take Gill with them. I would love to see Mike Leach in Lawrence, the sooner the better.

chetrico79 3 years, 1 month ago

Just a quick refresher for all the memory-challenged fans longing for the 2nd advent of Coach Mangino: two weeks after the Orange Bowl victory, Defensive Coordinator Bill Young leaves KU for MIami Univ. And then what? Mangino beats (& eats) some cream puffs and finishes '09 with an 8-5 record. After that, to top off the cake and with T.Reesing in his senior year, KU finishes the season losing 7 - that's S.E.V.E.N. - in a row! Gotta love that. Where's Bill Young now? He's the DC at #3 Oklahoma State. You can have the rotund one, I'll give Coach Gill room to develop his team/staff and if it hasn't happened at the end of his 5th year, hire someone else.

RatherBGolfin 3 years, 1 month ago

That 7 game losing streak started when we were 5-0, climbing the rankings and Perkins started back stabbing Mangino 24/7 in the press. We were also in every game midway in the 4th quarter except at Texas who was undefeated, until they lost a close game to Alabama in the national championship game, without their all everything quarterback Colt McCoy. Three of those games were lost on questionable calls ( I'll refrain from saying BAD calls ) at critical moments. The last 5 games this year, our critical moment came at the opening kickoff.

RatherBGolfin 3 years, 1 month ago

Number_1_Grandma: LOL I forgot about that little gal that made Briscoe and Taylor both look like fools.

irvan moore 3 years, 1 month ago

i can't see any reasonable argument to be made that gill is a better football coach than mangino

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