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33 Days Until Kansas Football: Potential Head Coach Candidates

With David Beaty likely coaching for his job in 2018, a quick look around the college football landscape yields some interesting candidates.

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As our countdown to Kansas football has progressed over the summer, I’ve slowly built up my own list of potential head coaching candidates should things not improve in 2018 and Jeff Long comes up with $3M to give to David Beaty.

Attention reporters looking for a lead: THIS IS NOT IT. This is my opinion only. I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t talked to anyone. I’m not reporting anything. Please don’t ask Jeff Long about any of these names. OK? OK???


So far, I’ve come up with 25 names for Kansas fans to keep in mind. A lot of them will probably be familiar to you. Several won’t be as familiar. But I’ll follow up in the next few weeks and break some of these down.

In alphabetical order (ages from Wikipedia):

Coaching Candidates

Name Age Position School
Name Age Position School
Major Applewhite 40 HC Houston
Tim Beck 52 OC Texas
Bret Bielema 48 n/a n/a
Craig Bohl 60 HC Wyoming
Neal Brown 38 HC Troy
Troy Calhoun 51 HC Air Force
Jason Candle 38 HC Toledo
Chris Creighton 49 HC Eastern Michigan
Dave Doeren 46 HC NC State
Mike Elko 41 DC Texas A&M
Willie Fritz 58 HC Tulane
Lane Kiffin 43 HC Florida Atlantic
Pete Kwiatkowski 50 DC Washington
Mike Leach 57 HC Washington State
Jim Leavitt 61 DC Oregon
Jim McElwain 56 WR Michigan
Les Miles 64 n/a n/a
Jeff Monken 51 HC Army
Ken Niumatalolo 53 HC Navy
Mike Norvell 36 HC Memphis
Scott Satterfield 45 HC Appalachian St
Greg Schiano 52 DC Ohio State
Jeff Tedford 56 HC Fresno St
Brent Venables 47 DC Clemson
Ed Warriner 57 OL Michigan

The Most Unlikely Candidates

Obviously, any coaching search should start with Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, and Chip Kelly, but assuming those guys won’t be very interested in Kansas at this time, we’ll stick to our list of 25.

Let’s go ahead and forget about dream hire Ken Niumatalolo. One of the best triple option coaches in the country, he’s recently turned down BYU (in 2015) and Arizona (in 2017) to stay at Navy. He currently makes $2M per year at Navy with an undisclosed buyout. Still, if I’m Jeff Long, I call him up and make him say no.

Dream hire #2, Mike Leach, just signed a contract extension with Washington State that will pay him $3.5M per year and escalating to $4M starting in 2020. Leach does have a graduated buyout clause that ranges from $450,000 to $2.25M. If KU has to gather $3M to fire Beaty, I don’t think they’re gonna pay the next coach $4M per year.

With those two guys off the board, I also think it bears mentioning that you probably don’t need to worry about any more K-State guys on Mt. Oread anytime soon.

Jim Leavitt makes $1.7M as a DC at Oregon with just a $500k buyout; that buyout is waived if and only if he leaves Oregon to become K-State’s head coach.

Brent Venables just signed a contract extension which will pay him an average salary of $2.32M over the next five years at Clemson, with a $200,000 retention bonus each year for the first two years of the deal and a $400,000 bonus each year for the final three. However, his buyout is not applicable if he takes a head coaching job.

What’s Next

I think the rest of the candidates, if they were vetted and went through a proper coaching search and interview, would (or should) at least consider what Kansas has to offer - again, assuming that Beaty and company can’t turn it around in 2018. No doubt Jeff Long has his own list; here’s hoping we won’t need it.

I’ll break down the remaining 21 candidates as the countdown to college football continues, but, is there anyone I missed?