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.
It all got started before mid-September and lasted until the beginning of February. This past season’s edition of the coaching carousel went on a tad longer than perhaps anyone could have imagined, but with Central Michigan officially introducing John Bonamego as its new head coach today, we now have closed the book on head coaching changes among major college football programs.
Hopefully, at least.
In all we saw 15 head coaching changes at the FBS level, including seven from power conferences. Three of those power conference coaching changes came in the Big Ten, with Michigan and Nebraska each turning a page with their respective programs and Wisconsin having to react to losing a coach to the Pac-12.
Ready for a quick trip down memory lane? Here is a walk-through of the timeline of events regarding this now completed coaching carousel.
Coaching Carousel Timeline
- September 8, 2014 – SMU head coach June Jones announces his resignation from the head coaching position. SMU names defensive coordinator Tom Mason interim head coach for the remainder of 2014 season.
- September 28, 2014 – Kansas head coach Charlie Weis relieved of his duties. Kansas names defensive coordinator Clint Bowen interim head coach.
- October 5, 2014 – Troy head coach Larry Blakeney announces he will resign at end of 2014 season.
- October 13, 2014 – Buffalo relieves Jeff Quinn of his duties. Buffalo names Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Alex Wood interim head coach.
- November 16, 2014 – Florida announces Will Muschamp will be dismissed at the end of the regular season.
- November 28, 2014 – UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck resigns from position.
- November 30, 2014 – Nebraska fires Bo Pelini, effective immediately. Running game coordinator Barney Cotton named interim coach for bowl game.
- November 30, 2014 – Troy announces Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown will be new head coach.
- November 30, 2014 – SMU announces it will hire Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to be new head coach.
- November 30, 2014 – Buffalo hires Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach Lance Leipold to be new head coach.
- December 1, 2014 – Tulsa fires head coach Bill Blankenship.
- December 2, 2014 – Michigan fires head coach Brady Hoke.
- December 4, 2014 – Florida hires Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain to be new head coach.
- December 4, 2014 – Nebraska hires Oregon State head coach Mike Riley to be new head coach.
- December 5, 2014 – Kansas hires Texas A&M wide receivers coach David Beaty to be new head coach.
- December 8, 2014 – Houston relieves head coach Tony Levine of duties.
- December 8, 2014 – UNLV reportedly set to hire Bishop Gorman High School (NV) head coach Tony Sanchez as new head coach.
- December 10, 2014 – Oregon State hires Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen to be new head coach.
- December 11, 2014 – Tulsa hires Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery to be new head coach.
- December 12, 2014 – Wisconsin hires Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst to be new head coach.
- December 15, 2014 – Houston hires Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Tom Herman to be new head coach.
- December 22, 2014 – Colorado State hires Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to be new head coach.
- December 26, 2014 – Pittsburgh hires Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to be new head coach.
- December 29, 2014 – Michigan hires former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to be new head coach.
- January 22, 2015 – Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos leaves job to accept position as Arkansas offensive coordinator.
- February 8, 2015 – Central Michigan hires Detroit Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego as new head coach.
Somebody get me the agent representing Charlie Weis on the phone, because the now former Kansas head coach has quite a deal going. According to the contract Weis had at Kansas, he will be paid $5.625 million in buyout money between now and December 31, 2016.
Kansas fired Weis as head coach on Sunday morning. According to the terms of the contract, Weis will be paid $5.625 million in buyout money between now and December 31, 2016. According to USA Today reporter Steve Berkowitz, via Twitter, it is likely Weis will be paid an estimated $2.5 million per year by Kansas to not be the head coach. It gets better for Weis, at least in terms of buyout money.
You may remember a report we had detailing how much Notre Dame is still paying Weis for their buyout of his former head coaching contract in South Bend. According to tax return documents, Notre Dame paid Weis $2.1 million in 2012 and it is expected the payment amount is the same through the end of his contract buyout at the end of 2015. In all, Notre Dame and Kansas will be paying Weis an estimated $4.6 million to not coach their football programs through the end of 2015.
This may be the end of the line for Weis as a head coach, but he has some nice retirement money coming his way for another year and a half to fall back on.
After losing 23-0 at home to a struggling Texas program, Kansas has decided to cut ties with head coach Charlie Weis. On Sunday morning, Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has relieved Weis of his head coaching duties, the school confirmed on Sunday.
The termination is effective immediately. Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen will take over the Kansas program as interim head coach. This will allow Kansas to get a jump on the coaching search. It will be guaranteed to be a national search and will probably include a search committee, which appears to be the norm these days.
In 28 games as head coach of Kansas, Weis had gone 6-22. His overall coaching record dropped to 41-49 including his time at Notre Dame. This probably means we have seen the last of Weis as a head coach. If you cannot cut it at Kansas, you are going to have a tough time getting another head coaching job. The future of Weis appears destined to be the life of an offensive coordinator.
Where will Kansas go from here? Kansas being in the Big 12 will only make the coaching job attractive to a few coaches looking to climb up the coaching ladder, but the job is a tough task to take on. Kansas is not going to be attracting any high-profile coach, so it would be more likely the Kansas job ends up going to a coach from a Group of Five program looking to get in the power conference mix or to grab an assistant coach with some flair.
Kansas has to find a coach capable of building a program more than anything else, because the Jayhawks have nowhere to go but up. Grounding the program on defense in the wide-open Big 12 would be advisable, but Kansas will also need to find some help on offense as well.
It is not very often Kansas has a better record than Texas when they play in football, but that is the case this weekend in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks are 2-1 following a win at home against Central Michigan this past weekend. Texas is coming off two straight losses to BYU and UCLA as the Longhorns enter Big 12 play for the first time with Charlie Strong at the helm. Kansas head coach Charlie Weis hopes that encourages fans to come out and support the Jayhawks Saturday afternoon, and he is challenging fans to show up Saturday afternoon for the nationally televised game.
As noted by The Dallas Morning News, Kansas had the worst attendance in the Big 12 in 2013 with an average of just 37,884 fans per game. Memorial Stadium in Kansas has a listed seating capacity of just over 50,000 fans. When Texas visited Kansas in late October 2012 a total of just over 40,000 fans were reported to attend the game. The 2011 season finale between Kansas and Missouri welcomed slightly over 47,000 fans for the final game in the series before Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC. The 2008 game against the Longhorns welcomed 51,930 fans to Memorial Stadium, most of them being Texas fans cheering on the then fourth-ranked team in the country.