3 former Power 5 head coaches KU could potentially consider in its football coaching search
photo by: AP Photo/Eric Gay
The ever-rebuilding Kansas football program isn’t exactly the most attractive destination for those who want to be the head coach at a Power Five program.
But a coach with experience at that level might be convinced he can turn KU football around. It will be tricky for the next athletic director to find an experienced Power Five coach who is actually interested in coming to Lawrence to lead the Jayhawks when other jobs will inevitably become available after the 2021 season.
The KU job figures to be more enticing for someone looking to get back into a head coaching role than someone currently leading a program in the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC.
Here are three former Power Five head coaches who KU’s next athletic director could potentially consider while deciding who will lead the football program into the future.
FBS head coaching record: 54-22 (.711 in 6 seasons); 32-18 at Texas (.640, in 4 seasons)
The head coach at Texas just last year, Tom Herman is currently biding his time working for the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.
Whether Herman would be interested in the Kansas job remains to be seen, but he spent the previous six seasons as a college head coach and would likely be in the running for most FBS head coaching jobs that come open heading into 2022.
Why he makes sense for KU: Lofty expectations at Texas cost Herman his job. The kind of wins he racked up with the Longhorns would be more than welcome in Lawrence, where losing records are the norm.
After going 22-4 at Houston, Herman won seven or more games each of the past four seasons at Texas.
In Herman’s best year in Austin, the Longhorns finished 10-4 in 2018 — the first time UT won double digit games since 2009.
Herman’s team has played in a bowl every season that he’s been a head coach, and he has a 5-1 bowl record, with a Peach Bowl win at Houston and a Sugar Bowl victory with Texas.
FBS head coaching record: 29-25 (.537 in 4-plus seasons); 28-22 at Miami (.560 in 4 seasons); 1-3 as Florida’s interim coach in 2017
It’s been more than 10 years since Randy Shannon was the head coach at Miami (Fla.), but he has remained an assistant coach at the college level since then.
Most recently, Shannon was the defensive coordinator at Central Florida the past three seasons, under former UCF head coach Josh Heupel.
Shannon also led Florida’s defense from 2015-17, and was a linebackers coach at Arkansas (2013-14) and TCU (2012).
Why he makes sense for KU: According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, Shannon has expressed interest in the KU job.
Shannon is currently a coaching free agent of sorts, as the result of the staffing change at UCF this offseason, with Heupel leaving to coach at Tennessee and Gus Malzahn bringing in his own assistants at UCF.
While it has been quite some time since Shannon led a program, when he was the head coach at Miami, the Hurricanes won seven or more games in each of his final three seasons.
FBS head coaching record: 79-62 (.560 in 11 seasons); 45-43 at North Carolina (.511, in 7 seasons)
It’s hard to imagine KU finding many potential candidates with more than 10 years of head coaching experience at the FBS level, but that’s one of the positives Larry Fedora brings to the table.
A successful run at Southern Miss from 2008-11 (34-19 and four bowl appearances) landed Fedora the North Carolina job. The Tar Heels enjoyed four winning seasons and went to four bowl games during Fedora’s first five seasons.
But UNC went 3-9 in 2017 and 2-9 in 2018, putting an end to Fedora’s time in Chapel Hill.
Why he makes sense for KU: Fedora actually has spent the past couple of seasons in the Big 12, so he knows the landscape and has a feel for the personnel around the league.
Fedora worked behind the scenes at Texas for Herman in 2019. Then Fedora was the offensive coordinator at Baylor in 2020. The Bears ultimately parted ways with Fedora after just one season, though.