University of Kansas

Bob Lutz: Jayhawks pluck coach from Mangino tree

After three seasons as wide receivers coach at Texas A&M, former Kansas assistant David Beaty is reportedly being hired as coach at Kansas.
After three seasons as wide receivers coach at Texas A&M, former Kansas assistant David Beaty is reportedly being hired as coach at Kansas. Associated Press

A few things on new Kansas football coach David Beaty, who is getting the Jayhawks’ gig after most recently coaching wide receivers and coordinating recruiting at Texas A&M.

First, we hope he’s successful. Kansas football needs successful. KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who hired Charlie Weis and lived to get a second chance, needs successful. Jayhawk football fans, especially those who have stuck it out these past five seasons, need successful.

Second, isn’t it interesting how Zenger went to the Mark Mangino well to make this hire? Beaty worked on Mangino’s staff at KU in 2008-09, coaching the wide receivers. But he was not a part of the staff that guided KU to the Orange Bowl during the 2007 season. Beaty replaced Tim Beck as receivers coach the next season. Beck also was reportedly a candidate for the KU job and was offensive coordinator for Nebraska under Bo Pelini. Beck, like Pelini, is now looking for work.

Another coach on that 2007 KU staff, Ed Warriner, reportedly drew some interest from Zenger. Warriner is the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Ohio State.

That 2007 staff also included Clint Bowen, who was named KU’s interim coach in late September after Zenger cut ties with Weis after four games. Bowen, too, was strongly considered to be Weis’ permanent replacement, but was instead named assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

So, essentially, Zenger got into a time machine and traveled back seven years in KU history in an attempt to recapture some of that glory.

Third, one of the things people like most about Beaty is his ability to recruit Texas. He’s from Garland, Texas, and was a highly-successful high school coach in Texas from 2001-05, first for one season at North Dallas and then for four seasons at Irving MacArthur.

Much of the Twitter traffic concerning this hire has been about Beaty’s Texas connections and about how well-liked and respected he is by the high school football coaches there. Which is fine and dandy, except that he’s now apparently going to be coaching at Kansas.

I get it that Texas is rich with high school football prospects. And it’s great that the coaches there open doors for Beaty. But will that continue to be the case now that he’s going to be at Kansas? How many of the best Texas prep football players want to spend their college careers in Lawrence?

For Beaty or any coach to be successful at KU, beating Kansas State for some recruits in this state is essential. And that hasn’t been happening often since Mangino was fired after the 2009 season.

I also wonder about the 44-year-old Beaty’s resume. He’s only been an offensive coordinator for one season – 2010 at Rice. He was a co-offensive coordinator in 2011 at Kansas under Turner Gill. Yes, Beaty coached for a season on Gill’s staff and the offense was lackluster, to be kind.

Some how, some way, Beaty was able to turn that into a job as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M, where he was involved with one of college football’s all-time dynamic offenses.

Johnny Manziel at quarterback. Mike Evans and Ryan Swope at wide receiver. Beaty got to sit back and watch the fireworks.

It’s impossible to judge the hiring of a coach until a couple of years down the road, at least. But Beaty doesn’t seem like a slam dunk. Not that any other coach would have.

I was hoping Bowen had done enough to keep the job. He’s a Lawrence native who played at Kansas and loves the school, the city and the football program. Take away one season each at Minnesota, North Texas and Western Kentucky, and Bowen has coached 16 of the past 19 seasons at KU.

Maybe he was too much of a known commodity. Maybe back-to-back lopsided losses to Oklahoma and Kansas State to end the 2014 season, which followed a near-upset of No. 4-ranked TCU, kept him from getting the job.

But I can’t help but think Bowen was better prepared than Beaty to be the Kansas coach. He’s a native who understands more than almost anyone what it takes to coach at KU. He’s drawn rave reviews as a defensive coordinator and was a personal favorite of Mangino.

In the end, though, the Jayhawks went with another Mangino disciple in Beaty, who has those important Texas recruiting ties.

We’ll see how much that’s worth as he’ll now be toiling in Lawrence.

Reach Bob Lutz at 316-268-6597 or blutz@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @boblutz.

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