This weekend, the university of Kansas did its best to top former Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson in coaching firing arrogance. While they didn’t have a 58-19 coach to fire, Kansas did its best in dismissing Turner Gill just two seasons, where Gill went 5-19. The consensus of the Kansas media was that Gill had too many blowout losses (of Kansas’ ten games against BCS opponents this year, only two were closer than a touchdown) and that he was too nice of guy to win at a school were only tough-as-nails coaches like Glen Mason and Mark Mangino had limited success. To top it off, such beat writers have suggested that Kansas does have good enough players to compete in the Big 12 now. Oh please, get over yourselves.
First, let me get some straight about Kansas. The quality of the Kansas football job has declined significantly since the job was open to years ago. With the new Big 12, Kansas only controls three of its non-conference games instead of four and has to play the six bad boys of the former Big 12 south every year, so the schedule is significantly tougher. If you think that doesn’t matter, remember the best team Kansas beat in their 2007 Orange Bowl regular season was a 7-5 Texas A&M team. With a lot of the same team returning the next year, Kansas went 7-5. Mark Mangino went 23-41 in conference games, against the Big 12 north without a dominate program. You’re not as good as you think you are.
Now that Baylor has their act together, Kansas football simply is the worst football job in the Big 12 now, plain and simple. This is the new college football landscape, where, if you choose to be a basketball school and ignore football all together (ala Duke and most of the Big East), you’re going to get left behind. The only thing you can do worse than ignore football is to ignore football, then come back and act like you care about it, like Kansas is trying to do. I’m saying you have to turn into Nebraska or even Iowa, Kansas. What I’m saying is, if you’re not going to care about football, you have to give Turner Gill four to five years to build a program. Unless there is a massive player revolt or the team completely (and from the looks of it, there isn’t-Kansas played pretty well against rival Missouri), you have to give Turner Gill more time. And if you’re going to take the Big East mentality and not care about football, why make your bad football job even worse? Even Duke, who pretend they don’t play football, has kept every coach they’ve had in the last twenty years at least four seasons, which makes the job more attractive. Last time out, they got a former SEC head coach to take the job
And now that you’ve fired him, do you really expect a marquee coach to want your job? Last time around, you bandied about the name Jim Harbaugh, a ridiculous joke that you thought you could get a coach who had his pick of either the Michigan job or an NFL job. Now, who will want to go into a league that is dominated politically by Texas (who could leave at any second) and whose second to worst football program upset a top-10 team on the road and whose coach went 13-0 playing SEC competition? Who do you think you are?
And as far as the thought that Gill couldn’t succeed at Kansas because he’s a nice guy like Terry Allen, do you really think you should use your own history a measuring stick for success? Glen Mason had a loosing record at Kansas, ten games under .500 in conference play, just like Mangino did. You’re hardly the beacon for success. Evidently, you’ve learned nothing from the way college football has progressed in the last ten year: a surly drill sergeant coach doesn’t work coaching major college football. Look at all the top college football coaches-Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Nick Saban, Chip Kelly, Brett Bielama. Only Saban is more strict than seller, and even he can be somewhat charming when he has to be. And speaking of Mack Brown, he had a run of success at North Carolina, your equal in basketball, of 69-46, and he’s not going to be mistaken for a drill sergeant any time soon. Once again, get over yourself. Look outside you’re little world to get a clue on how to succeed.
Ultimately, this is a case of a school thinking that is so much more important than it is. Kansas will be lucky to find an experienced coach willing to come work in their let’s-ignore-football-and-whine-when-we-don’t-win mentality. Best case scenario, they pluck a superior position coach assistant a few years before he’s ready for a major job (ala Bowling Green landing Urban Myer, then wide receivers coach at Notre Dame). In any case, Kansas has sent a sign that they expect great results from a coach, even with mediocre resource. By the way, the old track around your football stadium doesn’t help your case that you really care about football, either.