Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Can Kansas find the right football coach?

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger made a swift move in firing Charlie Weis as football coach Sunday morning. Now comes the hard part – finding a replacement.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger made a swift move in firing Charlie Weis as football coach Sunday morning. Now comes the hard part – finding a replacement.

Clint Bowen said all the right things Monday during his introductory news conference as Kansas’ interim football coach.

Just a thought: Was it really necessary to have an introductory news conference for Bowen, who grew up in Lawrence, played at Lawrence High and KU, and has coached for the Jayhawks, off and on, since 1996?

Anyway, Bowen did a good job of calming any nerves that were frayed from the sudden dismissal of Charlie Weis on Sunday morning. Any nerves that were frayed, that is. Mostly, KU’s football nerves are dulled to the point of being unresponsive these days thanks to 16 winning seasons over the past 57 years.

Bowen, according to Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, will be evaluated during the next eight games as a potential replacement for Weis. The only issue there is those eight games, none of which the Jayhawks are likely to win unless Bowen can work a miracle or two.

The remaining schedule: at West Virginia (Saturday), Oklahoma State (Oct. 11), at Texas Tech (Oct. 18), at Baylor (Nov. 1), Iowa State (Nov. 8), TCU (Nov. 15), at Oklahoma (Nov. 22) and at Kansas State (Nov. 29).

Nothing is impossible, but given the state of the KU offense and the limitations that appear to exist to make it much better we’ll just say that hope is difficult to muster.

The biggest job for KU football lies with Zenger, who rightly let Turner Gill go after two disastrous seasons but then hired Weis, who took the disaster and doubled down.

The hirings of Gill (by Lew Perkins) and Weis look flippant in hindsight. Neither was even close to being the right guy for the job and it’s shocking that those in charge of multi-million dollar contracts would go down those roads.

Zenger has to find the right coach now; his job probably depends on it. And good luck defining what the “right coach” looks like.

Before Weis was even packed and out the door, speculation about his replacement had already begun. We love to speculate.

Names like North Carolina State coach Dave Doernen, Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck and Texas A&M wide receivers coach David Beaty were thrown out onto the wind because all are former Kansas assistant coaches.

Who moved on, I might add. To better jobs, where a path to a situation with more positives than Kansas exists.

Bowen, whose role Monday was to at least pump up what little enthusiasm remains among KU fans, spoke about how attractive the Kansas job is.

“This is a destination job,” he said. “Anyone that knows anything about Kansas, talking to coaches in this business, people understand that this is a sleeping giant or a program.”

Maybe. But this sleeping giant has a lot of Rip Van Winkle in him.

I, too, think coaching football at Kansas can be a good job. I’ve thought that for a long time. Yet very little that happens at KU, outside of an Orange Bowl victory and some isolated pockets of success, supports that belief.

It’s time for everyone at Kansas – and me – to stop talking about the potential for football at Kansas and for those in charge of the program to make it happen.

The hiring of the next coach, obviously, will have everything to do with that.

Admit what you are and fix it. If, indeed, it can be fixed.

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