I will preface everything in this post by saying I am not Adam Schefter or Adrian Wojnarowski or whichever #scoops guy you can think of. If you flash back to three years ago or so, you'll recall we had the Charlie Weis hiring before anyone else in the area. But we didn't run anything because 1. I don't care about being first 2. I didn't want to be wrong and 3. I was taking a final at the time.
So you can treat this as mostly a thread to discuss who you'd like to be the next football coach at Kansas, or who you think the next football coach will be, or both. In talking with some people in the athletic department, some people I know in local media (not just in Kansas but in other places), and boosters/friends of boosters, here are some things I've potentially learned.
Before people ask, I haven't heard anything new either way on Harbaugh.
1. Clint Bowen is a very serious candidate for the job, and is potentially even the favorite. A lot of the big money guys seem to like him. I like him too, but, to editorialize a bit, with the rest of the candidates who appear to be interested in the job, if Bowen gets the gig it would be a massive failure for Zenger.
2. Expect Kansas to interview Ohio State offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner sometime after the Big Ten title game this weekend. I had a couple people tell me that there was preliminary talk with Warinner before Weis even got fired, with the thought of trying to get the Orange Bowl coaching staff back together as much as possible, but I haven't been able to confirm that either way with people I know at Ohio State or Kansas.
3. Getting into the realm of even more speculation, I don't think he's the favorite or anything, but supposedly talks were had before Bo Pelini got fired, or shortly thereafter, that he would potentially accept the KU job. It's also worth noting that a private jet went from KC to Lincoln the day he was fired.
4. Speaking of message board speculation, the same private jet was in Minneapolis, presumably to talk to Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who has been rumored as a candidate for some time. There was some message board chatter that they may be talking to Minnesota defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, but no one I have talked to mentioned him as a candidate. I'm also not sure they'd go with a defensive guy if Zenger is intent on wanting Bowen to be a part of the staff. It is worth noting though that Claeys is a native of Clay Center, KS, and attended both KU and K State.
5. Turner Gill was an off the radar pick two searches ago. Charlie Weis was an off the radar pick last time. This instance's off the radar guy could be Russ Huesman, the head coach at the University of Chattanooga. He's had two back to back conference titles at Chattanooga, but is just 37-28 for his career and doesn't have any local ties or Texas ties, so it would probably be a tough hire to sell.
6. I haven't heard anything about Memphis's Justin Fuente, but it would certainly be exciting to have a guy who turned around Memphis and has ties in Oklahoma and Texas. I would ideally want a guy with a longer track record (is he Turner Gill part 2?) but Kansas probably isn't going to get that guy.
7. TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie has been tossed around a bit as well, but that's mostly wishful thinking I think. He's certainly done a great job with TCU's offense this year, and was pretty good in his previous stops, but is he too similar to Kliff Kinsgsbury? Kingsbury was once an up and coming head coach who played QB for Mike Leach, and he's currently probably the worst coach in the conference.
8. Last but not least, it sounds like Willie Fritz, current Georgia Southern head coach and Pittsburg State alum, is a definite candidate for the job, and may even be the favorite. He's probably my current favorite, as he ticks every box I would want in a coach. He's been a head coach. He's built programs. He has experience in Texas, as well as locally. His offensive philosophy would also be a big hit here I believe. He's run multiple offenses over the course of his career, and tailors his scheme to his personnel. In my opinion, this is what I think Kansas needs as it's not like we're going to pick and choose our recruits.
If I had to copy Matt Tait's percentage wheel, I would call Bowen the favorite still, but I think Warinner and Fritz are right there as well. If I had my druthers, I'd flip a coin between the latter two and get crootin.
(Yes I do feel dirty after writing this post)
I will be sneaking in edits as I hear more information, but I'll either place them down here if they don't fit up above or I will clearly denote that I am editing it up above.
Edit 1: Tait and Petro are both hearing that Texas A&M Receivers coach/recruiting coordinator David Beaty is the favorite. I am guessing they heard it from the same guy, or people who I haven't talked to, because I haven't heard his name mentioned as a serious candidate. He's been mentioned but I don't think he gets the job unless the staff around him is amazing.