Beaty reaching out to students

KU football coach David Beaty instructs his players during spring football practice on Thursday, March 26, 2015.

As part of his ongoing quest to bring the Kansas University student body and the KU football team closer together, first-year head coach David Beaty plans to spend some time competing with those outside of the program.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Beaty will be on the lawn of Watson Library, taking on all comers in the yard-game challenge of their choice between cornhole (also known as bags), pop-a-shot and the quarterback challenge.

The event, dubbed “Coach Beaty’s Campus Challenge,” just scratches the surface of what Beaty hopes will become a regular and bigger outreach effort.

“I was working with (KU assistant athletic director for marketing and fan experience) Jen Allee about how we could get our student body integrated with our team and our new staff,” Beaty said. “And this was one of the things that (came from that). (We’re) really trying to get to know them and seeing if we can get them to want to stay a whole game.”

Beaty said getting the student body to feel ownership in and a connection with the program would go a long way toward helping the Jayhawks on Saturdays in the fall and in recruiting as well. Beaty said he has seen the way the students operate at Allen Fieldhouse.

And he remembers the student section at Memorial Stadium being packed and rocking when he was an assistant coach here. He believes that with a little effort and some improvement on the field, such an atmosphere again can exist.

“They are absolutely necessary,” Beaty said of the KU students. “It has so much to do with them. Kids are making decisions about where they’re going to school based off what they see and how they feel. And when they see that stadium rocking, it makes a huge difference.”

In addition to Thursday’s on-campus event, Beaty has invited the KU student body to attend practice from 4-6 p.m. later that day.