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Lance Leipold named KU Football Coach

The former Buffalo head coach is no Turner Gill.

NCAA Football: MAC Championship-Northern Illinois at Buffalo Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official: new AD Travis Goff and the University of Kansas have announced that Buffalo’s football coach, Lance Leipold, has been named the next head football coach at Kansas.

Reports are that Leipold, 56, was very impressive in his interviews (Monken and Kane were as well), and it was widely reported to be down between Monken and Leipold over the last few days.

He becomes the 6th head coach since 2008, which was KU’s last winning season.

Leipold’s credentials are impressive, as he’s been a winner everywhere he’s been. Although he is “just” 37-33 at Buffalo, he has gone 30-16 in the last four seasons, all bowl-eligible campaigns, after starting his tenure 7-17 in his first two seasons while rebuilding the program.

While Buffalo wasn’t in dire straights when Leipold took over - the Bulls were 13-11 over the two years prior - he has brought all kinds of stability to that program. Versatility is his strength. In 2018, the Bulls won 10 games and led the MAC in passing. The following season, they won 8 games and led the MAC in rushing. Additionally, the Bulls have had 35 all-conference players in the last three years. (For comparison, Kansas has had seven in the same time frame; none in 2020.) Perhaps more impressive, the Bulls have had 24 first-team all-conference players in the last two years.

Prior to Buffalo, Leipold was the head coach at D3 Wisconsin-Whitewater for 8 years. He coached in seven national title games, won six of them, and had five (5!) perfect 15-0 seasons.

I’m not too concerned about recruiting. Leipold has picked up a reputation for developing players and sending them to the NFL; Buffalo expects to have 3 players drafted this weekend. Additionally, players want to win, and that’s exactly what Leipold has done everywhere he’s been. It is therefore conceivable that Kansas may even see an uptick in recruiting. While Buffalo’s last four recruiting classes have an average rank of #118, KU has averaged the #62 over that span. So while the competition will be tougher, the caliber of player already on campus should (conceivably) be better as well.

This is the first coaching hire that I’ve been excited about since Mark Mangino in 2002. (Yes, I know that makes me old.) I don’t have to be sold on this coach or buy in or anything like that. (Although I will say I would have been even more excited by Monken.) Leipold has the credentials, he has the experience, and he (reportedly) has the plan. I’m excited for the future of KU football.

Here is the statement provided by KU from Lance Leipold:

I am very thankful to Chancellor Girod and Travis Goff for providing me this opportunity to lead the Kansas Football program. It is an exciting and humbling opportunity, and this is a day I will never forget. We are going to build this program through developing players, discipline and determination. The philosophies engrained in our programs along the way will be key as we turn this around. This is a program that has a lot of young talent on the roster and has the infrastructure in place to succeed. The best days for this program are ahead, and my family and I are ecstatic to be a part of it. I am ready to get to work and give everything I have to the Jayhawks. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!