David Beaty is now infamously 3-33 in his tenure at KU. So how can he possibly have five wins? Well - we’ll have to look elsewhere besides the football field, because I’m not counting moral victories today.
Let’s see what we can find.
5. Southeast Missouri State
The least impressive win of David Beaty’s three, SEMO came into the 2017 with a similar statistical profile as 2016 Rhode Island, and struggled to put away a bad Redhawks squad. Peyton Bender had a statistically decent debut, but could have had two more INTs - and, in fairness, two more TDs. Even more damning on the coaching staff was that Khalil Herbert got just one carry.
But the most damning stat may be that SEMO ran 77 offensive plays versus KU’s 62. If there was ever an unimpressive win, this was it, but at the end of the night, the scoreboard read Kansas 38, SEMO 16.
4. Rhode Island
Beaty entered his second year at KU still looking for his first win, and it wouldn’t take long to find it, as the Jayhawks absolutely dominated an opponent for the first (and so far only) time under David Beaty. The Rams did rush for 170 yards, but failed to crack 50 yards passing and turned it over 3 times. Kansas 55, Rhode Island 6.
3. Dorance Armstrong
Probably a bit of a stretch here, but hear me out. Armstrong came to KU in the 2015 recruiting class as a three-star, 220 lb defensive end. He had a nice offer sheet that included Texas Tech, Cal, Michigan, Purdue, and several other D1 programs. Although he was primarily recruited by the Charlie Weis and Clint Bowen regime, he stayed committed to the Jayhawks and signed his LOI about two months after Beaty was named the head coach at Kansas.
By the time Armstrong’s junior year began, he was projected as a first or second round NFL Draft pick by more than just a few sites and was named the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Although his TFL and Sack numbers plummeted during his junior year - yes, due to coaching - his total tackles were up and he constantly took on two or even three blockers. He was eventually taken #116 overall (fourth round) in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, KU’s highest draft pick since Darrell Stuckey went #110 overall in 2010.
This game was huge for David Beaty in a number of ways. Not only did it get him his first home win and his first FBS win, all it took was this one fluke win over a stumbling program to double his salary and extend his contract. The dude is now a millionaire and set for life, regardless of how long he keeps his current job.
If KU would have defeated Air Force, Troy, Northwestern, or Colorado State in 2016, would Beaty have had his salary doubled? No? Fun fact, those teams were, by the numbers, statistically similar to Texas, so overall it was a huge win for David Beaty: Kansas 24, Texas 21.
1. Corione Harris and Pooka Williams
In the 2018 recruiting class, David Beaty accomplished something that no football coach at KU has done since ranking recruits began (1999), and that was sign a player ranked in Rivals Top 100. Although the recruiting rankings have since been updated - Harris finished ranked #105 - it doesn’t change the fact that Harris was a major recruiting score along with Pooka Williams (#178 overall).
That gives KU two of Rivals Top 200 recruits, but more importantly, a 2018 recruiting class ranked in the top-60 of every major recruiting service, including #48 by Rivals. If Beaty manages to win 4+ games this year, keep a few more within a couple of scores, and pull another recruiting haul, it’s going to be pretty difficult for new AD Jeff Long to pull the trigger on a new coach.