Listen, I get it. I have been a fan of KU football for my entire 21 years of life. From the moment I was born I have been a KU fan. KU football is something that I’ve always loved, even through all the pain and anguish that has occurred, particularly since the start of this decade. However, even I can’t take this anymore. The team is awful. Really awful. KU football is the worst team in the FBS and it isn’t even close. It hurts to say it but it’s time we all face facts and let the truth fly. With all this going on it is no wonder that many people are calling for the firing of Coach David Beaty, the firing of AD Sheaon Zenger, and some even calling for both to be dismissed of their duties. Here is the sad fact, fans, while firing one or both may be the right decision, now is definitely not the right time.
The loss to Iowa State appears to be the tipping point for many fans and it is understandable as to why. The Jayhawks were shutout 45-0. They gained just 106 yards of total offense, less than ISU quarterback Kyle Kempt had passing in this game. What hurts even more is that this loss was to Iowa State, a team that may have knocked off Oklahoma in Norman last weekend but still a team with a second-year head coach that is finishing a rebuild and are definitely not a powerhouse of a program. Fans have come to accept and expect losses like this to teams like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and even Kansas State, but a loss like this to Iowa State does not sit well with a single member of the Jayhawk community. This is one of the main reasons why once again people are calling for Beaty’s head, and it is further fueled by the fact that again in his postgame press conference Beaty tried to preach about positives that do not exist and makes no attempt to comment on the horrid state of his team.
At this point, the decision to fire David Beaty is the correct one, but again it is not the right time. What do you gain by firing David Beatty mid-season? The answer is absolutely nothing. The only thing you get by firing Beatty is more uncertainty, more unrest, more distrust, and more losing. You must find a way to build confidence in this program and firing a coach in his third year is not the way to do it. This is a Kansas team that since 2010, when the downward spiral really started, has had four different head coaches including Beaty. Turner Gill lasted 2 seasons in 2010 and 2011 and went 5-19 (1-16 in conference). Charlie Weis lasted a little longer than Gill with nearly 2 and a half seasons going 5-22 (1-18 in conference). Clint Bowen was the interim head coach for the final 8 games of 2014 and went 1-7 with the only win coming against Iowa State. Then you have David Beaty who is 3-27 with today’s loss to the Cyclones. He has one conference win, which was against Texas last year.
So what can you pull away from all those numbers? KU hasn’t had stability at the head coach position in a long time. I mean no KU player since 2010 has played for the same head coach for his entire career. Beaty is currently the longest tenured head coach since Mark Mangino by making it into the 6th game of his third season which is just a sad fact in and of itself. Beaty took over a program that was gutted by Charlie Weis who appeared more interested in cashing paychecks than actually fielding a halfway decent football team. It would take a lot of time for anyone to rebuild this program. I am not trying to make excuses for Beaty and the embarrassing performance we have seen so far, I am simply explaining what kind of a situation he stepped into. Beaty is under contract through 2021 after receiving an extension in December of last year. Rather than fire him now, just let the contract run its course. Now I get it sounds crazy to give Beaty 4 more years, but that also gives Beaty almost two full recruiting classes to make this team better. It would give Beaty a chance that no other KU coach has gotten since Mangino. What it does is possibly show that the higher ups in the KU athletic department are willing to give a coach a leash on turning around a terrible program.
I concede that the idea I have presented isn’t a pretty one and I know it won’t sit well with a lot of fans, but think about. You gain nothing by firing Beaty now. You just make the situation worse. With four more years there is still a tiny chance things get a little bit better as Beaty continues to try and build this program how he wants it to be built. If you fire him now, however, all you do is kick out another coach and bring in someone else to a bad situation who will flounder for a few years until he himself gets fired. By firing Beaty now all you do is continue this vicious cycle we have been stuck in for almost 8 years keeping no end in sight.
Again, I am as upset and angry about the performance of this team in 2017 as anyone, but I also see that tough decisions have to be made. We all need to be adults when it comes to this decision. Something has to change when it comes to KU football and I really see only two options on the table. Fire Beaty and continue to have a program with instability that honestly no recruit or sensible coach will want to come to, or stick with Beaty until his contract runs out and show that while we may continue to be near the bottom, we will give a coach every opportunity to prove himself. As much as it will hurt and as miserable as it probably will be, we have to create stability somewhere in this program and the easiest way to do that is to keep Beaty on until 2021.