Former Kansas player and assistant coach Clint Bowen is returning to his alma mater, while former University of Florida assistant Jeff Blasko arrives in Lawrence for the first time in his career as KU head football coach Charlie Weis announced two additions to his coaching staff Wednesday. Bowen will serve as Weis' special teams coordinator and a defensive position yet to be determined, while Blasko's role will be assistant special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.
It's interesting here that Bowen has not been assigned a defensive position as it would suggest that a defensive coordinator is NOT already in the fold awaiting the proper time for an announcement. This hire appears on the surface to be focused on special teams with a defensive role yet to be determined or defined.
That determination likely comes from whoever the defensive coordinator is once they are announced and in place. Where we are with that search remains to be seen. We could be on the cusp of a hire, awaiting a decision from someone or possibly even positioning Bowen as an option if others fall through the cracks.
Either way his return is a welcome one. Bowen is extremely passionate about Kansas, players respect him and he was a solid recruiter for the Jayhawks in his last stint.
As for Bowen's time since leaving Kansas, he recently completed a one-year stint as defensive coordinator and safeties coach for North Texas, having joined the Mean Green after a spending the 2010 season at Western Kentucky, where he held the same position.
The Lawrence native and 1995 KU grad is returning to his roots as he has accumulated 12 years of coaching experience with the Jayhawks. He began his Kansas coaching career by working as a defensive graduate assistant coach for the Jayhawks in 1998 and 1999. He then served as assistant director of football operations during the 2000 season.
Bowen took over the role of special teams coordinator in 2001, a position he held at KU through the 2005 season. In addition to manning the special teams, Bowen also coached tight ends (2001), running backs (2002) and safeties (2003-05) during that time span.
In 2006 Bowen was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and continued coaching the Jayhawk safeties from 2003-09. Following the 2007 season he was elevated to defensive coordinator, helping guide the Jayhawks to a victory at the Insight Bowl in 2008.
During his previous stint on the KU coaching staff, the Jayhawks posted a 3-1 bowl record, including a 24-21 win over Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl. Kansas finished the 2007 season with a 12-1 record and No. 7 national ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls.
Bowen had at least one of his players earn postseason All-Big 12 Conference recognition each year. The 2007 Kansas defense ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense and ranked in the top 10 nationally in both passing defense and rushing defense.
Bowen was a hard-hitting defensive back for the Jayhawks in 1992-93 following one season at Butler County Community College. He led the KU defense in total tackles in 1993 with 114 total stops. That figure ranks as the third-most tackles by a Jayhawk defensive back in school history.
Bowen was instrumental in helping the Jayhawks to an 8-4 final record, a No. 22 national ranking and a win over Brigham Young in the 1992 Aloha Bowl. He was the recipient of the school's Willie Pless Tackler of the Year Award following his senior season in 1993.
He is the product of a football family. His father (Charley Bowen) was a two-time high school All-American at Lawrence High School and his older brother (Charley, Jr.) was a four-year letterwinner as a defensive back for the Jayhawks (1989-92).
Bowen and his wife Kristie have two sons, Baylor and Banks.
Blasko comes to Kansas after serving as Weis' right-hand man at Florida during the 2011 season. He was the Gators' quality control coach for offense, assisting Weis daily with all practice and game preparation, as well as, player development. Following Weis' departure to become the head coach at Kansas, UF head coach Will Muschamp promoted Blasko to quarterbacks coach for Florida's Gator Bowl win over Ohio State.
Prior to his season at UF, Blasko spent three seasons at Akron as a graduate assistant working in both recruiting and with the offense. He was the Zips' graduate assistant during the 2008 and 2009 seasons under J.D. Brookhart. During the 2010 season Blasko worked under current KU recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Rob Ianello.
Blasko, a Pittsburg, Pa., native coached in the Pennsylvania high school ranks before joining the Akron program. He was an assistant coach at Bethel Park High School (2006-07) and Steel Valley High School (2002-05), working on the offensive side of the ball with both teams.
Blasko graduated with his bachelor's degree in information sciences from Robert Morris University in Pittsburg in 2005 before going on to earn his master's degree in sports administration from Akron in 2009.