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Wins Can Be Found In Kansas, Dorothy
Kansas has a football job opening, and it’s a good job. Scoff if you must, but these are the breaks. If you’re looking for a shot to be great, the job is open, and the juice is worth the squeeze.
Charlie Weis was fired this weekend, and if you’re Kansas, it looks grim. You hired the guy after choosing him over some dude named Gus Malzahn, and that sort of dumps a trough of salt into a wound the size of a silver dollar.
Folks will scoff and say that Kansas can’t be a place you win at because it’s the “dreaded” basketball school, the way Indiana, North Carolina, or Kentucky is. The same way you can’t win at basketball in Florida because it’s a “football school” if you like your delusion just right.
Kansas is a good opening, and you can win there. The young’ins might not remember it, but Kansas football was once, for one year, a player in the BCS championship race. At 12-1 under Mark Mangino, the Jayhawks were a top-10 program, if only for a year, but hell, that’s no small potatoes.
For Weis, he’ll be fine. This was a few weeks coming, with in-program mutiny happening weeks ago and the brass just waiting for the right loss to make the move. Weis will move on. He’s a good coordinator but not a head coach. There’s always a spot for guys who know the game at his level, but there’s a ceiling as well.
Yes, the negatives abound. In-state rival Kansas State has a recently successful, powerful football program. Yes, the Big 12 is packed with traditional elites and up-and-coming programs, like Baylor. To the north of the state of Kansas, there still is that reality of having to deal with Big Ten programs such as Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin for talent on the plains.
However, if you’re the right type of fellow, Kansas is a gold mine where you can be legendary.
The key for Kansas and whatever inevitable “search committee” the school comes up with … because search committees are the skinny jeans of college athletics these days … is that they need to find themselves another Mangino type.
The walls aren’t being torn down with candidates with extensive resumes begging to come to Lawrence. Kansas needs to find a coach who employs a system that can succeed with recruiting your 2- to 3-star players who might not fit elsewhere, but fit perfectly in their program.
Kansas isn’t out-recruiting Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, or all of the Big 12 in most years, so you find something that works, something no one else really does, and sell that to the guys who fit it.
Success isn’t about collecting talent, rather than believing in something that works no matter who is a part of it.
The other kicker is finding someone with ties to the lush lands of Texas, which Charlie Weis didn’t have.
Every conference has a “need” state. If you absolutely can’t recruit Texas, you can’t win in the Big 12. This is the same as California in the Pac-12, Ohio in the Big Ten, or Florida in the SEC. It doesn’t need to be your main area, but you need to have some teeth there.
Absent of that, you need someone who can pluck in-state talent to fill out the roster over any in-state competition. Most teams, even the powerhouse ones, fill their roster with guys in-state. Kansas can start 22 guys from Texas if it can get them, but the Jayhawks will need someone who can get a reasonable amount of Kansas guys who can play to fill out that depth chart.
All is not lost, though. Kansas Nation should be excited going forward. A list of names, I don’t have, but I’m more than willing to give the selection committee some of my time if it wants to give me a shout. For free.
If they’re bold, the Jayhawks will win big. It’s attainable. Kick the tires on Bob Stitt, an offensive visionary that few have heard of. Or Willie Fritz, who has Texas ties that run deep. Maybe interview Craig Bohl, who is respected across the country?
Rock, Chalk … Wins. It’s possible. This is the hire to do it. E-mail me, Kansas. I’ll get you winning nine by 2016.