Get to Know a Coaching Candidate: Kevin Sumlin

Next up on our "Get to Know" series is another name in the mold of a young up and comer at a seemingly smaller school, in a smaller conference.  Kevin Sumlin has been the head coach for the Houston Cougars football team for just two seasons now, but made waves this year with one of the most prolific offenses and one of the most statistically impressive quarterbacks in the country.

Sumlin has Big 12 ties for several years now but he also spent time in the Big 10 conference where he spent his playing days. 

Sumlin is young, he'd likely be considered an offensive coach and while his name jumped on the radar early on as a likely top candidate there has been nothing reported or confirmed in terms of an interview or interest in the opening. 

Is it too soon for Sumlin?  Is he comfortable where he is at?  Not sure but let's see what the resume says about Kevin Sumlin.

Kevin Sumlin began his college football career with his playing days for the Purdue Boildermakers in the Big 10 Conference.  Ironically Sumlin, who has spent most of his career coaching offense, started out as a linebacker.  With the Boilermakers Sumlin was named honorable mention All Big 10 at the position twice.  In fact he still ranks in the top 10 of the schools career tackling leaders.

After college Sumlin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with Washington State under head coach Mike Price where he spent three seasons before making a move to Wyoming and accepting the wide receivers coaching position in Laramie.  While at Wyoming Sumlin worked under Joe Tiller who he would later accept the same position under at Purdue.

Immediately following his time with the Cowboys however, Sumlin moved on to a different Big 10 school in Minnesota where he would spend five seasons coaching the Gophers wide receivers and quarterbacks.  While at Minnesota Sumlin would spend time under a former Jayhawk coach in Glen Mason.  Mason as you recall left the Jayhawk football post for the Gophers just prior to the dark days known as the Terry Allen era.

In 1998 Sumlin went back to his Alma Mater rejoining Joe Tiller once again as the wide receivers coach for his former school.  Purdue's 1998 receivers set school records with 377 receptions for 4,208 yards and 43 touchdowns. The Boilermakers' Chris Daniels set a Big Ten record with 121 catches and recorded another Big Ten record with 21 receptions in one game.

After three seasons with the Boilermakers Sumlin took a promotion and a new job with RC Slocum and the Texas A&M Aggies.  Sumlin would serve two seasons with the Aggies acting as the offensive coordinator in 2002.  Sumlin's promotion to OC with A&M actually came three games into the '02 campaign.  The Aggies averaged 33.0 points per game after posting just 16.0 ppg before he took control. The A&M offense also averaged 419 yards per game after netting an average of 286 yards in the season's first three contests.

Following the '02 season however it was off to Norman Oklahoma and a five year stint with Bob Stoops and the Sooners.  2006 and 2007 were seasons where Sumlin would take on more responsibility with the Sooners as he would move into an co-offensive coordinator role for Bob Stoops.

The 2006 season saw OU's receivers catch 17 touchdown passes while Malcolm Kelly reached 1,000 career receiving yards faster than any player in school history. The Sooner offense ranked 19th nationally in scoring offense at 30.3 points per game.

In 2007, the OU receivers recorded 19 touchdowns while Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias provided one of the best 1-2 receiving punches in the nation, ranking fifth and sixth in the OU record book for receiving yards in a season.

Offensively, the Sooners finished fifth in the nation in scoring offense at 42.3 points per game, while ranking 19th nationally in total offense averaging 448.9 yards per game.

Following the 2007 season Sumlin was rewarded for his efforts with a head coaching offer from the Houston Cougars where he is currently employed.  In two seasons with the Cougars, Sumlin has posted an 8-5 record and this season a 10-2 record, a first place finish in conference USA and a top 25 national ranking. 

The Cougar offense has been one of the tops in the country since Sumlins arrival and that offensive strategy is certainly attractive to a Kansas program that has made their mark on the offensive landscape of college football in recent years. 

The questions with Sumlin revolve around overall head man experience.  Quite simply does he have enough?  Two seasons of experience and success with recruits that weren't necessarily his isn't exactly a track record that screams you'll be promised success, but then again who is promised success?

He does however have those seemingly important ties to the area and an outstanding track record in coaching successful offenses.  But can he turn around a Kansas defense that is desperate for change?  Not sure on that answer either.

The common theme with all of these candidates though is that not everyone is going to be happy.  Those wanting a young up and coming charismatic guy that has potential long term solid hire qualities will like candidates like Sumlin, Gill or Fedora.  Those wanting a proven name with a track record of success that lends instant credibility to a program might not be as impressed.  So what does Lew want.  Retread or new blood?  Positives and negatives to both, I guess it just depends where one thinks the program goes from here.

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