Jeff Long made it official. David Beaty will not be retained following the 2018 football season, which means for the fourth time since 2009, KU will search for a new head football coach.
David Beaty’s tenure began in a rough spot. Reports estimated that the Jayhawks had roughly 39 scholarship players when Beaty walked in the door in 2014. While Beaty was handed a nearly impossible task, the reality is he didn’t do enough to stay in charge. Here are some names to watch in the coming weeks as Jeff Long searches for KU’s next football coach.
Les Miles, Actor, 64
Miles’s name has been thrown around for this job since Long took over as the AD in August. Jeff Long and Miles are reportedly close friends, and the two coached together at Michigan. A handful of national pundits have already put his name out there, and Miles fits Long’s desire to bring in an experienced head coach. Miles won a national championship in 2007, and his name carries weight in the college football world. Does he want to take on such a tough rebuild at his age? Does he have the energy and motivation to carry this program out of the dark ages? KU needs definitive answers to these questions if they want to avoid Charlie Weis 2.0. I like Les, but I think it’s fair to question his abilities outside of resource rich Baton Rouge.
Greg Schiano, Ohio State Defensive Coordinator, 52
Schiano built a program at Rutgers. I’m reading the tea leaves here, but given the Tennessee debacle last season and the hiring of Alex Grinch coming into this season, I think Schiano is looking for a way out. Schiano recruits at an elite level and his teams play with discipline. Again, he fits Long’s mold of an established head coach. I think his name will be in plenty of searches this fall.
Dan Enos, Alabama QB Coach and Assistant Head Coach, 50
Enos was the former offensive coordinator at Arkansas under Bielema. He previously coached at CMU, recording 26 wins and 36 losses. This year, Alabama is seeing some of their best quarterback play in program history. A lot of that is Tua, but Enos and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley deserve some credit for the offensive explosion. Enos is connected to Long from their tenure together at Arkansas.
Seth Littrell, North Texas Head Coach, 40
Littrell is about to be the hottest name on a fairly thin coaching market. Littrell coached at Kansas under Mangino. The Oklahoma native is going to be a power five coach soon, whether he will jump for Kansas or wait it out for a better job has yet to be seen. The UNT head man comes with a $2.1 million buyout and will demand top dollar for his services. Can KU lure one of fastest risers in college football to Lawrence? I’m not sure he fits Jeff Long’s coaching profile, but he would be a great get for the Jayhawks.
Matt Wells, Utah State Head Coach, 45
Another Oklahoma native, Wells has quietly built one of the best G5 teams this season. He has his alma mater humming and would bring an exciting uptempo offense to Lawrence. Would he leave his alma mater for the Kansas job? His name will be brought up if anything opens up out west. He would be a good fit at Kansas, but I’m not sure he answers the call.
Jedd Fisch, Los Angeles Rams Offensive Analyst, 42
Jedd Fisch’s name has appeared on a few lists already. It’s no secret that the Jimmy Sexton client wants his name out there for head coaching jobs. Jim Harbaugh loved him during his stint at Michigan and believes Fisch will be a head coach soon. He is a personal favorite of mine and connects with Long through Michigan. Long stated he wanted someone with head coaching experience, so this might already be a long shot.
Triple Option guys
Alright, here we go. I am lumping Jeff Monken, Willie Fritz, Ken Niumatalolo, and Troy Calhoun together. There is a portion of the fanbase wants a triple option coach, but given Long’s history I doubt he goes this direction. I think the option/flex could work at KU, but it’s a risky move and not one that a brand new AD typically makes.