Just days after coaching his final game at Kansas against Texas, David Beaty is now a Longhorn. To a certain degree, at least.
Beaty will assist Texas head coach Tom Herman as a consultant as the Longhorns prepare to take on Oklahoma this week in the Big 12 championship game. After reports of this role popped up on Sunday, Herman officially announced the addition of Beaty as a consultant on Monday morning.
Even though Herman and Texas beat Oklahoma earlier this season, adding Beaty as a consultant make sense given how Kansas rolled up 40 points on the Sooners just two weeks ago. Kansas hung 23 points on Oklahoma in the fourth quarter alone, although Oklahoma scored a 55-40 win over the Jayhawks anyway. But having an extra coach to offer that kind of experience and knowledge of coaching against Oklahoma certainly doesn’t hurt Texas this week.
Beaty was fired as Kansas head coach a couple of weeks ago but he coached through the end of the regular season. Kansas has since hired Les Miles to be his replacement.
With Kansas hiring former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long to the same position this week, one can’t help but wonder if former Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema may have an in at a potential power conference program in need of a coach soon.
It all seems to make too much sense to ignore the possibility that Long would potentially reach out to his former head coaching hire at Arkansas in the event he needs to make a coaching change at Kansas. David Beaty may actually be in a solid position right now despite the last couple of woeful years of Kansas football, but one more poor showing on the field by the Jayhawks could lead to a coaching change faster than may be for the greater good at Kansas. And if Long ends up deciding to move in a different direction, it would not be shocking to learn Bielema might be on the shortlist.
Long hired Bielema away from Wisconsin to come to be the head coach of the Razorbacks after the 2012 season. In five years at Arkansas, Bielema coached the program to a disappointing 29-34 record with a declining win total in each of his final two seasons on the job. Although Arkansas struggled under Bielema, the general consensus appears to suggest Bielema is still a solid head coaching candidate in the right situation. At a program like Kansas, where there is likely nowhere to go but up, why not see what Bielema can do in the Big 12?
The biggest unknown is the motivation Bielema has to jump back into coaching just for the sake of coaching again. Arkansas owes Bielema $320,000 per month until the end of December 2020, with those monthly installments in the $11.9 million buyout kicking off last November. That’s a solid paycheck for not having to recruit and coach. So Bielema can do absolutely nothing until the end of 2020 if he wants. Of course, he has been keeping busy working with the New England Patriots in the offseason at events like the NFL Scouting Combine and representing the AFC champions at pro day events like at Alabama. So he is certainly staying connected and in tune with the game to some degree.
Bielema was coaching from 1994 through 2017. He has won three Big Ten championships with Wisconsin. He may very well be a head coach once again in due time, perhaps even before his buyout expires with Arkansas. Is Kansas the perfect landing spot? Despite the connection with Long, it may not be for Bielema. A return to the Big Ten may be better suited for Bielema with some potential openings coming up in the next coaching carousel cycle.
It’s also worth noting Bielema is enjoying life as a father of a young daughter, and that may not be an experience he wants to get away from so quickly. Only he would know for sure, of course. The point is Bielema has time to weigh his options. Rushing to get him to Kansas is probably a waste of time at the moment, especially if Beaty has anything to say about it.
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.
A year ago at this time we took a look at the early success Kansas head coach David Beaty was having on the recruiting trail. At the time, Kansas had a top 10 recruiting class that was highlighted by a nice haul from the state of Louisiana. It seems the Jayhawks coach is continuing to create a pipeline in the state of Louisiana as he continues to build up the Kansas program because he just landed an early commitment from a talented quarterback out of the state.
Lance LeGendre, a four-star dual-threat quarterback from New Orleans, has committed to Kansas by way of a brief statement on Twitter. For the time being, LeGendre is choosing Kansas over offers from programs like Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Missouri and more. LeGendre is the first recruit on the board for Kansas at this point in time, but it is a key one in continuing to build a pipeline of talent from the football-rich state of Louisiana out to Kansas.
Kansas signed two four-star players from Louisiana in the Class of 2018 with DB Corione Harris and RB Anthony Williams. Although Kansas had a handful of players committed from Louisiana last February, a number ended up going to other programs. But keeping Harris and Williams in Kansas was crucial for the effort Beaty has been working on. If he manages to keep LeGendre on the board as well, that effort will only become stronger.
“He’s a good guy and obviously a good recruiter,” Legendre said to Jayhawk Slant following his commitment, referring to Beaty. “He’s bringing a lot of guys from the Boot and he’s doing a lot of good things. When I was in the eighth grade he helped me get into Warren Easton. So we’ve had a good relationship since then and he’s a great guy.”
Beaty is a Texas native and has spent most of his coaching career in the state of Texas, but three years as an assistant at Texas A&M as the Aggies moved into the SEC helped introduce Beaty to the importance of recruiting talent from the state of Louisiana. It is not easy, of course, with LSU historically dominating the top talent and Alabama plucking more and more of the top-tier players away to Tuscaloosa, not to mention the other competition to land talent out of the state. But Beaty has made it a mission to attempt to compete for recruits in the state and hopes to use the players he lands as key figures in elevating the status of Kansas football.
Kansas has gone 3-33 in three seasons under Beaty, including a 1-26 mark in Big 12 play. He has had to build from the ground up, but he seems to have some sort of a plan of attack for recruiting. Beaty’s biggest hurdle is convincing his recruits to follow through on their commitment to a program that has historically been struggling to win much of anything.
You may not think Kansas has found reasons to be optimistic about its future after going 2-10 in 2016, but Kansas is taking some small baby steps forward as a program under David Beaty. In 2017, Kansas is already looking to build on a strong start to the recruiting efforts and will invest more in its coaching staff, two key ingredients to turning a program around.
Let’s be honest in agreeing Kansas had nowhere to go but up. Since a magical 12-1 season in 2007, the Jayhawks have had just winning season, and that was the following year in 2008. After failed runs under Turner Gill and Charlie Weis, Beaty was hired to provide some new energy in the program, and although that hasn’t necessarily been seen in many ways on the field, it is becoming clear something may be working off of it.
Though incredibly early, Kansas currently has a good jump on its Class of 2018 efforts with what is ranked the fifth best class according to Rivals. Forget about Beaty’s mission to “take this dadgum state back,” because Kansas has been setting up shop in Louisiana and the results are paying off. With eight commits lined up, including a trio of four-star prospects, Kansas is already taking strides in improving the roster’s talent level. The three four-star recruits (WR Devonta Jason, DB Corione Harris, WR Ja’Marr Chase) already equals the total number of four-star players to sign with Kansas from 2014 through 2017. Nothing will be official until next signing day when they submit their letters of intent, but if Beaty and his staff can keep those players on board, that would be a giant step forward. All three also happen to be from Louisiana, where Beaty appears to be building a pipeline with three other players from the state included in the early Class of 2018 lineup. The recent success in Louisiana, a state rich in football talent that has seen a few battles favor Kansas over LSU, has led to a promotion for running backs coach Tony Hull to associate head coach.
One way to keep that going is by providing some financial security to the staff, and Kansas is reportedly doing that. According to a report by Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star, Kansas will be bumping the overall pay of the staff by $731,400 to push the total pay over the $3 million benchmark and putting them more on par with their Big 12 opponents. Beaty is also getting a bump in pay following his contract extension last December. This is what happens when you beat Texas.
We are not at the point where we can throw Kansas into the Big 12 championship picture, and it may be a while before we are, but Beaty has things working in Lawrence in the offseason. How much of that translates over to the football field in 2017 and beyond remains to be seen, but Kansas fans have reason to be optimistic about where the program is going.