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More Football Coach Talk

The update is - there is no update.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Kansas Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Since it’s been a couple of weeks since our last update, I thought I’d take a look at what is currently in the rumor mill regarding KU’s next head football coach.

First, here’s what we do know: current interim head coach Emmett Jones will be a candidate to be the next full-time head coach. Per an email obtained by me (as well as the LJW) from new AD Travis Goff:

... we are launching a national search to find the next head football coach for the University of Kansas. I met with Coach Jones today (April 15), as well as the coaching staff and our student-athletes to inform them of this decision. I have emphasized to that group how thankful I am for their leadership and commitment during this challenging time. Coach Jones has done an outstanding job in this interim role and will be a candidate in this process.

And that’s really all that we know for certain.

KU has (allegedly) been Zoom interviewing candidates this week, with the (alleged) goal of having an official head coach in place by May 1, which coincides with the date of the Spring Game.

As for outside candidates, people close to the program have indicated the following names appear to be under consideration. In no order:

Jeff Monken, HC, Army

Lance Leipold, HC, Buffalo

Dan Lanning, DC, Georgia

Willie Fritz, HC, Tulane

Chris Creighton, HC, Eastern Michigan

Kevin Kane, AHC, Illinois

Jay Norvell, HC, Nevada

Popular sentiment puts Leipold (pronounced LYE-pold) at the top of KU’s wishlist, with Monken, Fritz, and Creighton following. It is also being widely “reported” that the Leipold, Monken, and Fritz camps have all reciprocated KU’s interest. Without putting exact odds on it, I would think Emmett Jones is somewhere between third and fifth-most likely to be the head coach in the fall.

There is a search firm involved, so there could be a surprise candidate or finalist added to the list. Some popular dark-horse candidates include:

Ryan Held, RB/RC, Nebraska

Troy Calhoun, HC, Air Force

Mike Elko, DC, Texas A&M

Bill Clark, HC, UAB

God help me if one of these off-the-radar coaches is our next football coach. The only one I’m even remotely interested in is Bill Clark, who does have an impressive resume especially when considering the extenuating circumstances that have occurred at UAB. But the rest seem like pretty big reaches when you have Monken and Leipold available (and perhaps more importantly, interested).

Personally, my top 3 are Leipold, Monken, and Creighton, although I waffle back-and-forth on the order. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) I don’t donate enough money for my opinion to matter. That said, in my uninformed fan blogger opinion, I think KU is actually in an enviable spot of having multiple good choices; I really think all three of these coaches have what it takes to find success at KU.

Travis Goff just has to figure out which one could have the most success.