Could June Jones Land With Kansas Football After Arizona State, SMU Mishap?

KU apparently didn't have a solid replacement in mind before hiring Turner Gill. The Jayhawks are now in week two as they try to find their next head football coach.

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Could June Jones Land With Kansas Football After Arizona State, SMU Mishap?

The journey to figure out the possibilities for Kansas’ next head football coach has been a rather difficult one. A rumor surfaces only to watch the coach involved head to other places. As Mike Leach and Larry Fedora have both gone on to accept other head coaching positions, a few choices still remain in the hunt. Yet one name that was floated early on might now be a candidate again due to some odd circumstances: June Jones.

Jones was recently the head football coach at SMU after a celebrated tenure at Hawaii before starting to talk with Arizona State. ASU had fired Dennis Erickson recently and media outlets even reported that a deal with Jones had been finalized. But Doug Haller writes, “Arizona State broke off talks with SMU coach June Jones’ representatives Wednesday afternoon. According to a source close to the negotiation, there is no plan to talk again anytime soon.”

Now Jones is left with a bit of mud on his face and he might be homeless. After all, how can he go back to coaching at SMU again? The school is heading to the Big East, so there are definitely some changes ahead anyway. Perhaps all will be forgiven and Jones can go right back to business, but how can recruits trust Jones to be there to guide them? The answer is that they cannot.

Matt Tait of KU Sports says Jones to KU is not a stretch and writes, “One thing we should all have learned from the June Jones situation is that anything is possible. Remember, two days ago, there were credible reports of him saying he was happy at SMU and wasn’t going anywhere. Then, he got to the freakin’ board room at ASU with a contract in front of him and negotiations broke off.”

So perhaps this means that Jones could become a factor again for the Kansas Jayhawks. They are waiting still with the opening created when they fired Turner Gill and yet no favorite has really stepped forward. Phil Fulmer reportedly wants the job and others like Dave Christensen and Brent Venables have been mentioned as logical possibilities. But it’s clear that anyone could take the torch at this point given the lack of a clear favorite.

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Larry Fedora Reportedly Becoming North Carolina Head Coach, Leaves Kansas Down Another Option

Mike Leach was the first and best option and now he’s at Washington State. Larry Fedora was one of the next names on the list, and now he’s reportedly heading to North Carolina if the reports coming in are true. That’s what Pat Dooley is saying and others are also reporting the same on Twitter today. The Sporting News had already reported that he’d been offered the gig if he wants it.

Fedora is coming off of a big win for his Southern Miss program, whipping the previously undefeated Houston Cougars in the Conference USA championship game. Coming into the game, Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin was the hot ticket among coaches, but in the game, Fedora showed why should also be considered for the same large conference gigs as Sumlin and now it seems that some people were paying attention.

If Fedora leaves for the Tar Heels, that opens up a spot at Southern MIss but it also leaves the Kansas Jayhawks hanging once again. After Leach and Fedora some other names have been tossed around, but it’s clear that KU at least does not appear in the driver’s seat regarding any top coaching position. The only hope is that they’re taking a bit of time to do their homework and are working away from the press to get the guy that they want. That could still be among a few candidates we’ve discussed here, including Gus Malzahn and Dave Christensen.

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Philip Fulmer Reportedly Wants Kansas Jayhawks Football Coaching Job

The coaching possibilities for the Kansas head football coaching job are slowly slipping away. Mike Leach, the best possible choice, left for the Pacific Northwest. Larry Fedora is the hotter commodity now among several programs. So what about a guy who has reportedly wanted the job all along? Philip Fulmer won 150 games at Tennessee and KU Sports Tom Keegan writes that he’s still aiming for the job.

“Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer is ready, willing and able to whip this fractured football program into shape, according to a Lawrence man who shared a four-bedroom Wichita duplex with Fulmer and two other young men in 1974.

"He told me a little over a week ago, ‘Let ’em know I’m interested,’" said local crop insurance man Rich Jantz. "The guy had a 152-52 record playing in the best conference in America! He wanted the job two years ago, and they hired a guy who was 20-30 in a bad league?"

Fulmer led the Volunteers to a 152-52 record in his coaching tenure there, one that ended in 2008 when replaced by Lane Kiffin. He won the national title in 1998 and finished in the top 10 programs in the country six different times. Even the year before he was fired, Tennessee finished at No. 12.

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Gus Malzahn, Larry Fedora Among Reported Favorites For Kansas Football Head Coaching Gig

My dad always told me growing up that if I was going to quit one thing, I should have another option in place. I assume that related to girls, although my father likely pictured the job market when telling me this. Either way, Sheahon Zenger should have thought of this before firing Turner Gill as the Kansas football head coach considering the Jayhawks are now in week two and that early lead they had on others has now been lost as other teams are claiming their candidates and moving on.

At this point, Mike Leach is no longer an option and several others are finding permanent homes. That leaves Gus Malzahn as the latest rumored candidate to go alongside Larry Fedora (and certainly others) as KU searches for Gill’s replacement. Malzahn is the current offensive coordinator for Auburn and North Carolina is apparently interested as well.

Malzahn is an interesting candidate considering he was among the high school coaching ranks only six seasons ago. He joined the Arkansas coaching staff in 2006 and has been on the fast track ever since. He’s been Auburn’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the last three seasons — Cam Newton’s obviously his most high profile protege — and now he’s rumored as a head coaching candidate for two schools. That’s not a bad run.

Larry Fedora is the other head coaching candidate often tied to the Kansas Jayhawks. KU Sports has the latest on Fedora:

Fedora, now in his fourth season in Hattiesburg, Miss., had emerged as one of the top candidates at Kansas. Deemed by many to be a serious candidate for the Jayhawks both in 2009 and this time around, Fedora’s Texas ties and Big 12 roots seemed to make him an solid candidate to replace Turner Gill at Kansas.

The recent win over Houston makes Fedora maybe too hot of a candidate to land at Kansas, which will certainly take a long rebuild in a very difficult Big 12 climate. If that’s a challenge Fedora would relish, then that’s a major coup for KU. If not, they’re likely to have to chase an unknown assistant like Malzahn that could serve as a bust or boom candidate.

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Larry Fedora, Dave Christensen Among Options For Kansas Jayhawks Football Coach

Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily-Tribune recently gave out his choices for who should head to which major college football head coach opening in the country, and he offers up some interesting takes on the Kansas Jayhawks and others. For Turner Gill’s replacement, Matter is realistic about the possibilities and what the team should be looking for, and his list is a nice composite of likely candidates:

“This job needs either a dynamic recruiter or an architect for a spread offense that doesn’t require NFL talent. Mike Leach would have been perfect. Next-best option is Southern Miss’ Larry Fedora. Fedora was an offensive assistant on prolific Oklahoma State and Florida teams and has since delivered four straight winning seasons in Hattiesburg. If not Fedora, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken might be worth a look, or maybe Wyoming’s Dave Christensen, though Gary Pinkel’s former offensive coordinator would look strange in crimson and blue — but he might be MU’s best hopes of extending the Border War.”

For more on the Jayhawks, visit Rock Chalk Talk.

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If Kansas Can't Get Mike Leach, Then Jim Leavitt Or Brent Venables Warrant A Call

The Kansas Jayhawks fan base seems to have gone all in for Mike Leach. Assuming he is wooed by some other school, the Jayhawks should look at a former K-State Wildcat assistant to take over the reins.

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Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads Weighs In On Turner Gill's Firing From Kansas

In the wake of Turner Gill's firing from Kansas, several of his peers have weighed in with ESPN's David Ubben. Paul Rhoads knows the difficulty of turning around a program at Iowa State and, in fact, Rhoads has his team on a roll as of late, taking out top notch programs along the way -- like Oklahoma State just over a week ago. Rhoads believes Gill deserved more time than the two years that Kansas gave him.

"I think it’s bad for our profession. Especially in the sport of football, with so many bodies and such a philosophy to build and all the development that takes place,"  Rhoads said. "We’re in our third year here and we’re just now starting to see the physical differences needed to compete in that league."

Ubben writes, "Rhoads said his team got "physically whooped" in a 52-0 loss at Oklahoma last year. This year, the 26-6 result was much closer, and he credits his strength staff for beefing up both of his lines, something that can't be accomplished so quickly. 'That takes time to build that up,' he said. 'It’s bad for our profession, coaches getting two years and then being let go.'"

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Turner Gill Firing: Mack Brown Says Former Kansas HC Is 'Really Good Football Coach'

ESPN's David Ubben recently got some other Big 12 head football coaches on the record saying their opinion of Turner Gill's firing at Kansas and none of them are good. They're all in agreement that Gill deserved more time to turn the program at KU around. Mack Brown of Texas was one of the most outspoken about Gill's firing.

"Turner Gill is a really good man, he’s a smart man, he’s a really good football coach or he couldn’t have won at Buffalo. He’s a guy that everybody in the country was talking about as being a great young coach, and I know absolutely, two years isn’t long enough to get a program turned around," Brown told Ubben. "I am a Turner Gill fan. I hate to see this happen to him and that staff. They had some really good coaches on that staff and I hope he can find a new place quickly, because he’s a guy that college football needs."

Gill only had two years, but they were a horrific two years in terms of ultimate results. While everyone can and should praise him for his demeanor, his personality and the things he stood for as a head coach, he ultimately failed to win in Lawrence, and that makes all the difference in today's landscape of college athletics. With only one Big 12 win in two seasons, Gill failed to show enough hope for change for KU to give him more time.

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Turner Gill's Replacement At Kansas Faces Major Challenge To Compete

They're easily the worst team in the Big 12. Not only has the Kansas Jayhawks football team lost 10 games in a row, but the team doesn't have the talent level that so many in the conference have. Kansas State and Iowa State are on the way up. The Oklahoma-based teams are always powerful year after year. The Texas teams have the recruiting base and the brand. KU, in other words, is not a desirable destination for many head coaching candidates.

Those aren't the only reasons why Kansas might have a rough time finding the right guy, but it's also a Big 12 coaching position no matter how you slice it. And the team was competitive nationally only a few seasons ago under Mark Mangino. Sports Illustrated has a look at what Gill's replacement will face and who it could be.

"There is expected to be a broad pool of candidates. Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt both have ties to the Big 12, and Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin have taken mid-major programs to national prestige. Whoever is chosen will take over a program that went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl in 2007, and finished the season ranked No. 7 in the AP poll. But he'll also take over a program that, like those at North Carolina and Duke, resides firmly in the shadow of the school's basketball program."

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Mike Leach Would Bring Too Much Drama To Kansas Football Program

Sheahon Zenger needs to pump the brakes on the Mike Leach Express and KU fans longing for the pirate loving football coach.

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Turner Gill Firing: Kansas Football Needed To Move From Former Coach

Kansas football needed to make a move at the top and Sheahon Zenger made the right call in firing Turner Gill.

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Turner Gill Firing: Kansas Chancellor Weighs In On Decision

The Kansas Jayhawks have officially fired head football coach Turner Gill after two seasons with abysmal results, and the university has already made an official press statement. Within it, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little made their reasons known.

“We are striving for excellence across KU’s academic and research missions, and that drive extends to all of our athletic programs,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “In consulting with Athletics Director Zenger, I agree that in order to achieve the excellence we seek in Kansas Football it is time to make a leadership change. Turner Gill is a man of integrity and we appreciate his service to our community.”

Gill went 2-10 this season with a defense ranked among the worst in the country. In two seasons, Gill won only 1 Big 12 game and went 5-19 in his career. This announcement comes less than 24 hours after the 24-10 loss to Missouri.

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