Texas A&M wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator David Beaty, a former KU co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach, on Friday was named the next head coach of Kansas football.
Beaty, who carries a reputation as a preeminent recruiter of Texas high school football talent, won the job over interim head coach, defensive coordinator and KU football alumnus Clint Bowen, d’96, who had become a popular choice among fans and players to land the permanent position after the Jayhawks rallied under his leadership with a 34-14 victory Nov. 8 over Iowa State and a 34-30 loss Nov. 15 to Texas Christian, which is currently No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
“It isn’t about me. It’s not ever going to be about me. It’s about this team, this university and this football program,” Bowen said. “Dr. Zenger has a great plan and a process in place to find and hire the best person possible to lead this program forward. When the selection is made, I truly believe this, it’s time for everybody to put their full support behind that decision.
“We all know that KU football is a program that should be successful and will be successful in a power conference, and the bottom line is it’ll only be done when the KU alumni, the fans, the support staff, the administration, coaches and players all start working together as a team with one goal: to make Kansas a successful program. When this decision is made, that’s what everyone needs to do.”
Following KU’s 51-13 season-ending loss Nov. 29 at Kansas State, Zenger told the Lawrence Journal-World that regardless of the outcome of his coaching search, Bowen would remain part of the program.
“He is true-blue KU. He cares deeply about this institution,” Zenger, PhD’96, told the Journal-World. “He and I see a lot of things eye-to-eye. Whether it’s him or someone else, he’s gonna be a part of program because he believes in the right things.”
Zenger assembled a search committee—whose membership was not made public—to assist in his selection, yet the process remained private and, outside of speculation by fans and media, entirely quiet. Up until the news about Beaty’s hiring began to leak at about 11 a.m. Friday and flight-tracking sites were linked on fan sites to monitor the progress of Beaty’s journey from College Station to Lawrence, there had been no public speculation that Beaty had risen to the top of Zenger’s list or even that an announcement was imminent.
Beaty, was, however, an early favorite in the speculation about who would take over at season’s end. It wasn’t until Bowen’s energized squad humiliated Iowa State, in what Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads called one of the worst losses in his six seasons at ISU, and then put a scare into top contender TCU, that Bowen’s candidacy gathered momentum.
Beaty’s Texas recruiting prowess is due in large part to his experience as a high-school coach in the football-crazed state. In four seasons as head coach at MacArthur High School in Irving, Beaty’s teams went 33-11 and won two district titles. Garland High School in 1999 won a 5A Div. II state title while Beaty was an assistant there.
Beaty was wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at Rice University in Houston in 2006 and ’07, and in 2008 he joined coach Mark Mangino’s staff as wide receivers coach. Here he helped develop Kerry Meier, d’10, and Dezmon Briscoe, ’12, into NFL-caliber receivers.
After Mangino was fired following the 2009 season, Beaty returned to Rice as offensive coordinator in 2010, and in 2011 he came back to KU as Turner Gill’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Following yet another coaching change at KU, Beaty in 2012 became wide receivers coach on Kevin Sumlin’s new staff at Texas A&M. In 2013 he was given added responsibility as recruiting coordinator.
He is a 1994 graduate of Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, where he was a four-year starter at wide receiver and two-year team captain. He graduated from high school in Garland, Texas, in 1989. Beaty and his wife, Raynee, have two daughters.
Shortly after watching the Monday morning press conference that introduced Clint Bowen as KU football’s interim head coach, former KU and NFL offensive lineman Keith Loneker jumped onto Facebook to shout his approval: “Proud to wake up a Jayhawk today,” Loneker wrote. “Now when we say 1 team 1 chant, you can believe we mean it.”
Loneker, ’94, was speaking not only as a former teammate and lifelong friend of Bowen and his family, but also as one of the many proud and loyal Jayhawk alumni who have suffered through too many frustrating and even embarrassing football games and seasons since KU’s last taste of football heroics, the Orange Bowl and Insight Bowl victories engineered in 2007 and ’08 by former coach Mark Mangino.
After Mangino’s rocky departure the following season, the Jayhawks went 5-19 in two seasons under Turner Gill, 4-20 in Charlie Weis’ two full seasons, and were 2-2, including Saturday’s Homecoming shutout by a less-than-dazzling Texas team and a humbling defeat Sept. 13 at Duke. Athletics director Sheahon Zenger, PhD’96, on Sunday morning replaced Weis—who has two years remaining on his contract after this season—with Bowen, the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach with 19 years of experience as a player and coach at KU.
“In our way, we’re going to invigorate the KU family again,” Bowen said Monday. “Former players, we want you back. They are welcome at our practices, they’re welcome in this facility. We want to see those people, the people who helped KU become such a great place. … I told our guys yesterday, this building, this locker room, everything that we have here that’s so great right now, someone else sacrificed to get us here.”
Bowen said he was grateful to hear from former coaches and mentors, including Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, his defensive secondary coach at KU, and Glen Mason, for whom Bowen played and later spent a season as a graduate assistant in Minnesota. He also heard from “all the Lawrence High hecklers”—a light-hearted nod to KCTV5 sports director Michael Coleman, who moments earlier had opened his first question by proudly stating his status as a fellow LHS alumnus—and found more than 100 text messages awaiting him when he left the practice field Sunday.
“The Jayhawk family is so awesome,” Bowen said. “It has been forever and it always will be.”
Bowen said the assistant coaches—many or all of whom could be looking for work after the season, when a permanent replacement is hired—were supportive of his promotion and ” jumped onboard 100 percent with great attitudes, great energy. It’s a very tough and difficult time for those guys. Coaching football is not a fairy-tale world. It’s real families, real lives that are affected by the decisions that have to be made sometimes. They were unbelievable yesterday and I truly appreciate that.”
And, crucially, the players appeared to have taken the midseason coaching change in stride and were eager to focus on Saturday’s Big 12 game at West Virginia.
“They were smiling, they had fun, we had energy,” Bowen said. “I felt like the kids were ready to move on. I loved the tempo of practice, which is something that we’re going to continue. Urgency is a big word for us now. For everything we do, we will do it with an urgent mentality, and that started yesterday.
“I have tremendous respect and admiration for the people who came here before me, respect for the traditions of Kansas, respect for the values that everyone has at Kansas and what this university and football program represent. If nothing else, in the next nine weeks we will have established an identity of knowing where we came from and how to act. To be a Jayhawk is a special thing.”
The 2014 Homecoming Parade takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, in downtown Lawrence with a couple of familiar voices behind the microphone. John Holt, j’81, l’84, current news anchor for Fox 4, and Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, will reunited to serve as the parade’s emcees.
Fun fact: these two Jayhawks also served as co-emcees of the 2010 Homecoming parade. The Homecoming theme was “Rock Chalk Roadtrip” and the creative entries featured a variety of transportation-themed floats. Robert Eaton, e’63, was the parade’s grand marshal.
Actor and comedian Rob Riggle, c’93, will be grand marshal of the KU Homecoming Parade. This year’s parade takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, in downtown Lawrence. A pep rally on Eighth Street between Massachusetts and New Hampshire streets will follow the parade.
John Holt, j’81, l’84, Fox 4 anchor, and Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, will serve as the parade’s emcees.
Speakers at the pep rally will include Riggle; John Reagan, offensive coordinator for the KU football team; Clint Bowen, d’96, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach; and head men’s basketball coach Bill Self.
The parade is part of the weeklong Homecoming celebration that begins Sunday, Sept. 21, and includes daily activities leading up to the KU-Texas football game Saturday, Sept. 27, in Memorial Stadium. KU Alumni Association members have the opportunity to buy a 4-pack of tickets to the Homecoming football game for just $99—log in here to reveal the promo code and link to buy your tickets.
The theme for KU’s 102nd Homecoming is “Roll with the ’Hawks,” which was selected by this year’s Homecoming Steering Committee. Elle Rose, a junior from Hutchinson majoring in pharmacy, is the student director of Homecoming. Rose and the members of the steering committee work closely with Alumni Association staff members and advisers Paige Hofer, student programs coordinator, and Jacey Krehbiel, alumni programs coordinator.
The Homecoming Steering Committee will host two informational meetings for students and groups at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, and Wednesday, Sept. 10, in the Adams Alumni Center. Homecoming competition entry forms will be available Sept. 2 at www.homecoming.ku.edu.