Kansas football coach David Beaty filled one of the vacancies on his coaching staff Friday while promising the final two hires are on the way.
Beaty officially announced Joe DeForest would be KU’s special teams coordinator and defensive assistant coach. He comes to KU after spending the last four years at West Virginia, where he was associate head coach and defensive coordinator in 2012 before switching to special teams coordinator and safeties coach the last three seasons.
DeForest, who was not retained by West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen after the 2015 season, previously was special teams coach at Oklahoma State for 11 years under coaches Les Miles and Mike Gundy.
“My staff and I have always talked about how consistent his teams have been in special teams in the Big 12,” Beaty said before his “Football in February” event that drew a few hundred fans to Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. “If you go back and you track it, over his time in the Big 12, he’s led every category at some point in time throughout his career in the Big 12, and he’s done it often.”
Beaty, who said he had preliminary discussions with DeForest before last season about a potential job opening, believed the new hire could help one area in particular.
“For the amount of time that we put into the kicking game, we needed to be better,” Beaty said. “That needs to be a third that we win.”
Beaty said the hiring process for a new running backs coach and defensive line coach was all but completed. He expected both hires to be made by Monday at the latest after background checks were completed.
“I’m just excited to get those guys here,” Beaty said. “They’re on fire for KU, and they’re excited to be here. That’s a really cool deal. It gives you a little bit of a fresh kick, so to speak.”
It’s been a difficult offseason for Beaty with staff turnover. The Jayhawks lost four coaches and demoted another, meaning five of KU’s nine assistants will be new in the 2016 season.
“All those guys that left us, those are great guys,” Beaty said. “They did everything I asked them to do. And I told them from the day I got here, ‘If you give me everything I’ve got, and you’ll think about it like I think about it when I put my head on the pillow at night, I’ll help your family do anything that you need to do.’”
Beaty, who said that each of the team’s assistant coaches had job offers from other teams following the Jayhawks’ 0-12 season, admitted it was good to get the hiring process completed. KU begins spring practices on Sunday, March 6.
“I feel good about the men we’ve hired here,” Beaty said, “and we’re going to continue to make sure that we get the right guys.”