Kansas fired athletics director Sheahon Zenger earlier today. If the move was immediately greeted as a vote of no-confidence in Zenger’s ability to find and hire the next Jayhawks football coach — and, thus, a vote of no-confidence in the David Beaty era — that’s because it pretty much is.
“But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said in his statement announcing Zenger’s firing.
The playbook is well documented by now: to replace the head coach, you must first replace the AD who hired the head coach, and the replacement will then hire the new head coach. We’ve seen it play out at a number of places, most recently Nebraska, where Bill Moos was brought in to replace Shawn Eichorst, and Moos promptly fired Mike Riley and hired Scott Frost.
Beaty is a well-liked coach, but college football is a results business and a 3-33 record speaks for itself. Beaty surely knows that score better than anyone.
Hours after the news went public, Beaty released a statement of his own on Monday afternoon.
As if the 3-33 mark wasn’t obvious enough, the beginning of the end of the Beaty era likely came on Monday.
The Kansas Jayhawks made a change in leadership Monday morning with the firing of athletics director Sheahon Zenger. While a change in AD may be an ominous sign for a head coach of a struggling football program, Kansas football coach David Beaty appears to be safe from any further changes.
“Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership,” Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod said in a released statement. “But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.”
“[Earlier] today I spoke with Coach Beaty and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season,” Girod made a point to say in his released statement about the firing of Zenger.
Deputy athletics director Sean Lester will fill the gap at the AD position on an interim basis while Kansas conducts a search for a new athletics director.
Zenger was named AD at Kansas in 2011, after a previous stint at Illinois State. Prior to his job at Illinois State, Zenger was an assistant AD at Kansas State. Zenger has made two coaching hires for Kansas football. The more recent hiring of Beaty was made in after the 2014 season and has yielded a football record of just 3-33 in that span. Prior to Beaty, Zenger was responsible for hiring former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis to a massive contract that took a toll on Kansas athletics years after the Weis experiment had imploded. Of course, Zenger should take the brunt of the attack for the Weis hire, but there is plenty of blame to be spread around with others having a chance to say “no” to the sizable contract that was being offered to Weis at the time.
With a new AD coming in, it may not be unfair to suggest the 2018 season must be one that sees obvious improvement in the football program on the field. Beaty’s hot seat will certainly be warming if Kansas continues to struggle and a new AD is put in place to decide his fate as the head coach moving forward.
Not only has Bobby Hartzog confirmed his departure, he’s also revealed a landing spot.
In a tweet Thursday, Hartzog announced that “[i]t is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my departure from the [Kansas] Football Program.” The move comes less than a week after the wide receiver graduated from the university.
The same social media missive also saw Hartzog reveal that he will be transferring to FCS Texas Southern for his final season of eligibility. The Houston native wrote that he “was able… [to] find a school to play my final season of eligibility where I can be closer to my Dad, who has had some medical issues.”
From his true freshman season in 2014 through 2016, Hartzog played in a combined 25 games. He played in the 2017 opener against Southeast Missouri State as well, only to see his year come to a premature end as he suffered what turned into a season-ending injury in that game.
The three-star 2014 recruit will finish the KU portion of his playing career with 27 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown. All of those statistics were recorded during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
If you’re trying to figure out who the worst Power Five football program is, chances are high that Kansas is on the shortlist, if not on the absolute bottom. Such is the case when you haven’t been to a bowl game in a decade and haven’t won more than three games since 2009.
Appropriately, interest from Jayhawks fans in the team has dropped like a rock. In new figures obtained by the Lawrence Journal-World, we now know just how much: ticket sales dipped to a new low of $3.4 million this past season. That’s a drop of some 65% from their peak of $9.5 million in 2009 and a nearly $6 million shortfall as a result.
Needless to say, that is not a great sign and certainly adds to the pressure that David Beaty is feeling going into what amounts to a make-or-break fourth season in Lawrence.
I guess there’s hope from Jayhawks brass that if you build it, they will come? At Kansas however, that might be a tall task.
Big 12 fans will have to learn a new name to curse at when officials blow a call in a game this fall.
Speaking at Big 12 spring meetings in Arizona on Wednesday afternoon, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed that the conference’s Coordinator of Football Officials Walt Anderson has submitted his resignation and will no longer be involved with the league. A replacement is expected to be found over the coming months and announced later this summer.
Anderson had been pulling double-duty for years in splitting his time between the Big 12 and the NFL, where he was a recognizable face on Sundays. He was hired last fall to be a full-time official with the league office but continued to perform his duties at the college level.
That arrangement didn’t last long.