Everyday, it seems, people tell KU receivers coach Klint Kubiak to go home. Sometimes it will be Kansas football coach David Beaty. On many nights, Beaty says, he has to buzz Kubiak, a 28-year-old assistant coach, and implore him to leave the office and go home to his wife and five dogs.
“I have to literally call him and use bad language,” Beaty says.
Sometimes the advice comes from Kubiak’s father. In most cases, of course, a first-year college assistant coach might ignore the advice of a father. Kubiak is the youngest member of the Kansas staff, and in his view, that puts him in a daily battle to prove himself. But Kubiak’s father is Gary Kubiak, who also doubles as the coach of the Denver Broncos, and so the advice carries some extra weight — for personal reasons.
Nearly two years ago, the elder Kubiak suffered a serious health scare while coaching the Houston Texans. During a game against the Indianapolis Colts, Kubiak collapsed before halftime, suffering a mini-stroke known as a Transient Ischemic Attack. The cause, in part, Klint says, was exhaustion and stress.
“He overworked himself a couple years ago and had a major setback,” Klint Kubiak says. “I’m glad he’s fine now. But he’s spending a lot more time at home.”
This season, Gary Kubiak is back in the AFC West, in his first season as coach of the Broncos, where he worked for years as the offensive coordinator. Klint Kubiak, meanwhile, is in his first season on Beaty’s Kansas staff. The Kubiak men talk almost every night, Klint says. Sometimes it’s about the Broncos; sometimes it’s about Kansas football, where Klint is trying to mold an unproven and inexperienced receiving corps.
The Jayhawks lost starting receivers Nick Harwell, Justin McCay and Nigel King from last season, and the top receiver returning is senior Tre’ Parmalee, who had just four receptions last season. The cupboard was bare, leaving a lot of opportunity and open holes in an offense that features three receivers in its base package and six in its two-deep roster.
To this point, Kubiak says junior receiver Joshua Stanford, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, has been a standout in fall camp. Parmalee and senior walk-on Shakiem Barbel are also in position to play, while true freshmen Steven Sims and Jeremiah Booker have also been impressive — at least before Booker went down because of a shoulder injury. He is expected back in two weeks.
Sims is from the Houston area, while Booker is from College Station, Texas. Each committed to Kansas after Beaty was hired.
“I’ve been really impressed with them,” Kubiak says. “I love smart football players. They’re fun to coach.”
Kubiak’s first opportunity to coach receivers came as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M. A former receiver at Colorado State from 2005-09, Kubiak joined the Aggies staff under former coach Mike Sherman in 2010. Two years later, Sherman was fired and Kevin Sumlin took over at Texas A&M. Kubiak figured his time in College Station was done, but Beaty, who was hired as a receivers coach under Sumlin, was familiar with Kubiak’s background. On the day they arrived at the office, Beaty and fellow assistant Kliff Kingsbury saw Kubiak packing his office. Within minutes, they had convinced Kubiak to stay.
“You are not going to leave,” Beaty remembers telling Kubiak. “You’re going to love doing this. And he ends up coaching our inside receivers as a (graduate assistant). That doesn’t happen very often.”
Kubiak then spent two seasons as a quality control coach with the Minnesota Vikings. But when Beaty called with an offer last offseason, it was an easy decision.
“He’s a coach’s son,” Beaty says. “And you’re going to have a hard time beating him to the office in the morning. … He’s that much of a football junkie. He’ll just live up here.”
Kubiak has become so invested in what’s going on at Kansas that he admits he’s hardly kept up with with the Broncos, the team he cheered for as a kid. He has noticed a few Chiefs hats in Lawrence, which is just fine.
“I’m so invested in what we’re doing here, I don’t even know the roster of Denver,” Kubiak says. “I know they got a good quarterback. My little brother, he wants to call and talk Broncos; I’m not dialed in like they are.”