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A quick look at the candidates for KU's open coaching position, with odds on who might land the job


Kansas linebackers Malcolm Walker (44) and Darius Willis (39) stretch as they run through drills during practice on Monday, April 25, 2011 at the practice fields near Memorial Stadium.

Kansas linebackers Malcolm Walker (44) and Darius Willis (39) stretch as they run through drills during practice on Monday, April 25, 2011 at the practice fields near Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Friday marks the end of the work week for most and could mark the end of a coaching search for the Kansas University football program.

The Journal-World has come up with the following list of viable candidates who could fill KU’s assistant coaching position in charge of linebackers. An announcement could be made as soon as Friday.

The job came open after former defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, who also handled the linebackers, announced his retirement last Tuesday so he could focus on his upcoming battle with prostate cancer. Immediately, KU head coach Turner Gill promoted Vic Shealy to defensive coordinator and Buddy Wyatt to co-defensive coordinator. Gill also said he hoped to fill the final spot on his staff by the end of the week.

That time has come and it’s time to look at the top candidates for the job.

The nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary is the favorite to land the job. Vantz Singletary, 46, worked under Gill for one season at the University of Buffalo in 2008 as the defensive line coach, and has a total of 17 years as a college assistant on his resume. His stops include Tennessee-Chattanooga, Hawaii, Southern and Trinity College.

After leaving Buffalo, Vantz joined his uncle on the San Francisco 49ers staff, where he worked as the assistant inside linebackers coach in 2009 and 2010. Mike Singletary was fired by the 49ers before the final game of the 2010 regular season and Vantz was relieved of his duties a few days later.

After playing two seasons at Blinn College, Vantz Singletary finished his playing career at Kansas State. He lettered at KSU in 1987 and 1988 and graduated in 1990.

A native of Houston, Vantz is married to the former Shawndra Saulter and he and his wife have four daughters.

Odds: 1-to-3

Gibbs, 43, served as the secondary coach at KU under Glen Mason in 1995-96 and has since spent 13 seasons coaching in the NFL.

From 1997-2000, he served as the defensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. From 2001-04 he worked with the Denver Broncos, holding down three different jobs, all with the secondary. From 2006-08 he was the DB’s coach in Kansas City and, most recently, he spent the 2009-10 seasons in Houston coaching defensive backs for head coach Gary Kubiak.

Gibbs dipped back down to the collegiate level once during the past 14 years. In 2005, he was the defensive coordinator at Auburn.

Gibbs currently is out of work. Though he has an impressive resume, it’s a little light on collegiate experience and that may hurt his chances.

Odds: 12-to-1

You never know who’s going to come into the picture late or who’s being talked to behind the scenes. With that in mind, we’ve gotta leave open the possibility that the job will go to someone who’s not on this list. In today’s world, that’s very possible. However, in this scenario, it’s not very likely.

Odds: 25-to-1

The only man on this list with direct ties to Nebraska, Colman, now in his second year as linebackers coach at Tulane, played for the Cornhuskers from 1991-95 and coached at NU in 2008-09.

As a player, he was a part of five Big Eight championships and suited up for back-to-back national champions (1994-95). As a Nebraska coach, he helped guide the Huskers to two straight Big 12 North titles and consecutive bowl appearances.

Originally from Ocean City, N.J., Colman, who turns 38 Saturday, has heavy recruiting ties to the east coast. He’s also familiar with Gill, who was Nebraska’s quarterbacks coach while Colman was on NU’s roster.

Odds: 33-to-1

It’s likely that Bowen’s name was the first that came to mind for many KU fans when first hearing about this opening. And with good reason. Bowen played at KU from 1992-93 and was an assistant coach with the Jayhawks under both Terry Allen and Mark Mangino for 12 seasons.

When Gill was hired Bowen left for Western Kentucky, where he spent the 2010 season as the Hilltoppers’ defensive coordinator. This offseason, Bowen, 38, and his family moved again, this time to the University of North Texas, where Bowen was hired to serve as the defensive coordinator to head coach Dan McCarney.

Had things not gone so well for Bowen since leaving KU, it’s possible that he would entertain the idea of coming home. However, the Lawrence native is very happy with his current job and believes in what the Mean Green are doing. In addition, he often has expressed a desire to become a head coach someday, and most head coaches aren’t position coaches before they move up, they’re coordinators.

Bowen’s in a great spot at an up-and-coming program and would have to be considered a longshot to come back to KU at this point.

Odds: 100-to-1

Stay tuned...


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