We’re one month into the college football season and we’re at the point where certain fans’ dreams are starting to get crushed. Expectations that coaches, teams and fan bases had in August are rapidly vanishing. Even those programs that were just looking to tread water in 2017 are realizing it’s going to be a disappointing season. As a result, the “hot seat” talk heats up across the country. But one of the most bizarre and frankly, asinine suggestions, is that Kansas head coach David Beaty is on the “hot seat”.
CoachesHotSeat.com currently has Beaty at #2 on its list. Granted this site has lost a lot of credibility in recent years, but, as far as I’m concerned, anything they had left is long gone. Beaty is listed only behind Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, yet ahead of Tennessee’s Butch Jones, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Nebraska’s Mike Riley. Huh? That makes zero sense.
David Beaty is not on the hot seat. First off, he signed a contract extension and received a raise last December. Secondly, Kansas athletic director Sheahan Zenger has promised to be very patient with Beaty, as he should be.
I’ve always believed that any coach deserves a full recruiting cycle of four years. That gives him the time to implement his system, recruit his players, and in a case like Kansas’, completely rebuild the program. Beaty is only in Year 3, and while his 2-22 record is awful, there has been growth and improvement in this program, it just has yet to show up in the win column.
Winning in football at Kansas is an incredibly difficult task. It’s been ten years since the Orange Bowl year under Mark Mangino. It’s the only school in the Big 12 that would consider itself a basketball school before a football school (Iowa State is debatable). But unlike Jack Trice Stadium which is packed every Saturday, Memorial Stadium typically only has a smattering of fans around the facility on gameday.
Plus, the new Big 12 makes it even more difficult for the Jayhawks to have success. In the old Big 12 North days, Kansas didn’t have to play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas every year (insert your Kansas beat Texas joke here). But now in a round-robin schedule, they play everyone. There are no years when the schedule might be easier than other years, like the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 still have.
Now for 2017, it’s entirely possible that Kansas’ lone win will be the opener against Southeast Missouri. The team has not looked good, especially on defense, losing to a pair of MAC teams and then West Virginia, allowing over 40 points in each game. Moving forward, Iowa State continues to improve, Texas Tech looks better than many of us expected, and the rest of the conference should easuky have its way against the Jayhawks. But I still wouldn’t consider David Beaty on the hot seat. Not even close.
Beaty and his staff, notably Tony Hull, have proven to be doing a good job, even a great job by Kansas standards, on the recruiting trail. Also, with Doug Mecham now at offensive coordinator, he will bring in credibility from his time with TCU and will also be able to help recruit Texas heavily.
I would also ask any delusional Kansas fans this: with all the big-time jobs that could be open this season, who would Kansas even get that’s better than the guy they have? Find him for me. The Jayhawks aren’t looking to pay big bucks for this job anyway. Beaty started at $800,000 per year, less than many coordinators at the top programs, and is now making $1.6 million. Unless they open their pocketbooks to $3-4 million per season, forget it. No one better than Beaty will want the job.
With all this being said, I don’t know if Beaty is a fantastic X’s and O’s head coach. Frankly, I believe he’s overmatched sometimes. But it’s hard to decipher how much of that is actually coaching versus a massive talent gap he’s dealing with compared to his Big 12 opponent.
But we really won’t know the full breath of Beaty’s coaching prowess until the talent in Lawrence is up to snuff with the rest of the conference. Or at least closer.
I could certainly see a time, 2-3 years from now, when Beaty has stabilized this program to the point where it’s winning 3-5 games per season and is recruiting at a respectable level. If Beaty is getting out-coached, then it might be time to move on. That may, one day, be a sign he will have taken Kansas to its ceiling of what it can be under his leadership.
But we aren’t anywhere close to that scenario. At this point, all firing Beaty would do is reset the cycle of confusion and chaos within the Kansas football program. Beaty may not show improvement in the win column 2017, but this is a case where continuity and slow growth remains the best plan of attack.
Also, find me a guy who has won 3 of his last 26 games and has the positively and upbeat mentality that David Beaty does? You won’t find him.
David Beaty is the guy for the Kansas Jayhawks. At least for now and for the foreseeable future.