Kansas football coach David Beaty spoke to the Wichita Rotary Club on Monday afternoon at Botanica. He made his biggest impression just by showing up.
A little less than three weeks before his debut on Sept. 5 against South Dakota State, Beaty carved time out of his hectic schedule to continue his effort in connecting with Kansans all over the state.
Monday’s stop was one of several appearances Beaty has made this summer and fans are starting to take notice.
“His overall enthusiasm for the program and his job is very well seen, just by what he’s portraying,” said Chris Howell, a member of the Rotary Club and Kansas graduate. “The results on the field are yet to be seen, but it’s tough not to get behind someone like that.”
Beaty spoke for around 45 minutes, mostly concentrating on the state of Kansas football. He takes pride in being one of a handful of teams whose practices are open to the public. He stressed how there are three aspects to a player’s life at Kansas — athletics, academics, and social life — and the importance one has on the others.
He also emphasized how Kansas recruits were a new priority, something Wichita locals have been wanting to hear.
“Living in Wichita for awhile, it has been frustrating seeing so many good players going to Oklahoma State or K-State or Oklahoma and not even really considering Kansas,” said Byron Watkins, another Kansas graduate. “So I do really like that he’s going after the high school kids here and trying to mend some fences with them.”
Regarding the quarterback situation, Beaty spoke glowingly about all of the candidates and continued hinting that junior Montell Cozart was the favorite for the job.
But he didn’t discuss many details, instead sticking with a general picture of how the culture within the program is changing. That was enough for his audience, who came away impressed with his enthusiasm and a passion that seemed genuine.
Beaty’s vibrant personality was on full display right from the start when he began his speech by coaxing the crowd into joining him for “2 Claps and a Ric Flair.”
“Taking over a program and starting with a new staff is going to take some time, but just seeing someone with that kind of energy and passion for his job and his opportunity is exciting,” Howell said. “It’s exciting for me as a fan and it’s exciting for this university to see where that may take us down the road.”