Notebook: KU staffer Lubick battling leukemia, still helped Jayhawks get ready for OSU

photo by: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Washington quarterback Jake Browning, left, stands with co-offensive coordinator Matt Lubick, right, before an NCAA college football game against BYU, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Seattle.

Stillwater, Okla. — Kansas offensive analyst Matt Lubick told ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Friday that he has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Lubick, who joined the Jayhawks’ coaching staff in 2022 and primarily works remotely, continued to help KU prepare for Oklahoma State from afar, conducting his analysis from the Aurora, Colorado, hospital where he plans to receive treatment.

“His courage, faith and passion to want to contribute to this program while he’s battling this has really been remarkable,” KU coach Lance Leipold told ESPN. “Our prayers are with him.”

Lubick joined Leipold’s staff after stints as an offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at schools such as Oregon, Washington and Nebraska.

Lubick started to feel unwell after a 16-mile run in late August, and visited the doctor, where a dangerously low white blood cell count eventually led to his diagnosis.

The KU football program sent Lubick wishes for good health in a post on X, adding, “Our entire Jayhawk family is with you!”

Lubick said that the messages of support have been motivating and “spiritually uplifting.”

“There’s a purpose to this and I’ve gotten some meaning through the suffering,” he told ESPN. “It’s humbling to know you’ve impacted people’s lives.”

Conference connections

Reis Vernon kicked the extra point on many a Brennan Presley touchdown and even the occasional Jordan Reagan pick six when the three were high school classmates.

Their names are all over Tulsa World box scores from when they teamed up at Bixby High School in the fall of 2019, before they went off to play at Big 12 Conference schools the following year — Vernon as a punter for KU, Presley as a receiver and Reagan as a cornerback and special teamer for OSU.

That’s just one thread on the web of connections between the conference foes.

Elsewhere in the Tulsa area, Sevion Morrison and Iman Oates each went to Edison High. They chose divergent college destinations — Nebraska and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, respectively — but are now reunited in the Big 12. Here in Kansas, KU walk-on offensive lineman Jake Eisenhauer and OSU tight end Quinton Stewart were teammates in high school at Salina Central. So were KU freshman Taylor Davis and OSU redshirt freshman Calvin Harvey at Ridge Point High way out in the Houston suburbs.

Farther afield, KU corner Kalon Gervin and OSU running back Elijah Collins, both Detroit natives, were teammates years ago at Michigan State. And even farther, indeed, across the globe, ProKick Australia produced both another KU punter, Damon Greaves, and his OSU counterpart Hudson Kaak.

Looking toward the future, last year’s defensive freshman of the year in the conference, OSU safety Kendal Daniels, is from Beggs, Oklahoma, home of KU running back commit Red Martel.

It serves to show that in many cases, these power-conference schools fight for the same pool of talent on the recruiting trail — and in many cases, as it turns out, they can find that talent in Oklahoma.

Road woes

Kansas hasn’t had much success on the road historically against the majority of its Big 12 Conference foes. The Jayhawks are 0-11 all-time against Baylor in Waco, for example, and 1-11 at Texas Tech in Lubbock. KU doesn’t have to play in either of those places this season (after losing in both in 2022), but Stillwater, Oklahoma, is right up there on the list of the Jayhawks’ most dreaded destinations.

Ahead of Saturday’s result, KU had won there just once in nine tries since 1995, with the eight losses by an average of 36.5 points. The lone victory in the Jayhawks’ historic 2007 season. KU, then unbeaten and ranked No. 4, jumped out to an early 33-14 lead over Oklahoma State and held on for a 43-28 victory, racking up 529 yards of offense along the way. Marcus Henry caught eight passes from Todd Reesing for 199 yards and three scores, and Brandon McAnderson ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

This latest trip to Stillwater did present an interesting sort of parallelism, however. As it happens, that was also the last time KU went into Stillwater as a ranked team. More recently, OSU has been ranked. Last year, the Jayhawks hosted the Cowboys in Lawrence — bowl eligibility was on the line then, too, and Jason Bean was at the helm — and won 37-16, which was their first victory over a ranked team in 45 tries since 2010.

Double feature

The Kansas baseball team played a free, public fall exhibition game against its OSU counterpart just around the corner from Boone Pickens Stadium at O’Brate Stadium at 10 a.m. Saturday. KU has another one coming up at Hoglund Ballpark against Illinois State next Saturday, though that has no analogous football tie-in.

This and that

Oklahoma State added running back Terry Miller, a two-time All-American and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, to its Ring of Honor Saturday.

OSU announced Tuesday that it has sold out every home game for the remainder of the season, completing a run of seven sellouts. As for KU and its ongoing quest to “pack the booth,” athletic director Travis Goff provided a minor update this week on 810 WHB’s “The Program” Wednesday when he said of the Oct. 28 home game against Oklahoma, “My expectation is that thing sells out here in really reasonable short order and then we got one of the best atmospheres in the country.”

Goff also said on “The Program” that KU is exploring hosting high school football and potentially high-level soccer in its revamped stadium in future years.


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