Last Friday, Lance Leipold boarded a jet to leave Buffalo confident that he had delivered a core value in the ranks of football coaching, to leave it better than you found it, as Leipold put the saying. The flight took him to Lawrence, where the new Kansas football coach hopes to make a similar turnaround to the one he took in Buffalo.
Not that Leipold is in a hurry to climb the coach ladder any further.
I’m not one to move around a lot, said Leipold during his introductory press conference at KU’s indoor exercise facility on Monday. And this is a place where I want to be for a very, very long time.
The new Jayhawks leader, who signed a six-year deal with Kansas Athletics Inc. that will pay him $ 16.5 million, spent eight years as head coach with Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater and six years at Buffalo before KU Athletic director Travis Goff chose Leipold. to lead the Big 12’s perpetually struggling football program.
Leipold said he didn’t necessarily give Goff a sales pitch when he interviewed for the job during the coaching survey.
Lance Leipold was introduced as KU’s new football coach
Lance Leipold was introduced as KU’s new football coach
I don’t know if I’m overly flashy in many ways, said Leipold. I just believe that you work and your production and who you surround yourself with in over 30 years of this profession building your daily rsum.
At his alma mater, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Leipold won a whopping six NCAA Division III national titles, scoring 109-6. When he reached that level of success, he got his first FBS job at Buffalo in the MAC.
That remodeling job took a few years of foundation laying, but the Bulls broke through with a third-year winning season at Leipolds. He then led the team to three consecutive bowl berths, the first two bowl wins in the program and a record of 24-10 from 2018-20, giving Leipold an overall record of 37-33 at Buffalo.
When Leipold agreed to lead the Bulls, he said the program was probably in the bottom 25% of the MAC in many areas, such as financial resources and facilities.
But we were not worried about that. We were concerned about what we could do and we could, said Leipold. And I feel like a lot of those things are going to carry over into what we can do here.
In a conference where Oklahoma and Texas are the football kings and the pecking order among the rest of the teams leaves the Jayhawks at the bottom, KU hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2009.
But Leipold said he didn’t even ask Goff during the recruiting process how KU compared in terms of resources to other Big 12 programs. As in Buffalo, Leipold said the Jayhawks will determine what we can do.
And while the new coach said that what lies ahead will take some work, in the form of a lot of attention to detail and taking on everyday tasks with a lot of energy and passion, his plan is to revive the program. blow.
The goal is to win championships, pure and simple, said Leipold. One day at a time. Become a consistent winner.
Like most new head coaches, Leipold did not publicly share his views on an ideal timeline to transform the program. He also didn’t mention specific profit totals for 2021, as he is adopting a program that went without a profit the year before he arrived.
Instead, Leipold said he will measure the success of his freshman year with the Jayhawks by the daily improvement he expects to see in the players, because with that, he added, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.
Coaching transitions usually take place shortly after the regular season, not at the end of spring football. Leipold admitted that this created a unique situation. But he didn’t see that as a deterrent.
And I’m confident you’ll see consistency and improvement throughout the season, said Leipold of what he expects during his first fall in Lawrence.
Goff also did not hire Leipold because he expected a quick fix. The AD said on Monday that the ideal type of coach KU football needed was crystallized for him during the search for coaching.
The AD realized that he was looking for a program builder who had a proven track record in developing successful, sustainable football programs.
Friday we got our husband, said Goff. The ideal fit, the ideal next leader for Kansas football.
KUs new AD said the process was supported by a search committee consisting of executive associate athletics director Nicole Corcoran, senior associate athletics director for compliance and student services David Reed, senior associate athletics director for football activities Mike Vollmar and director of football relations Darrell Stuckey.
As Goff’s search progressed, before emerging as the top candidate, Leipold said he reached out to former KU football coaches Mark Mangino and Glen Mason, who told him he could win at KU.
While Leipold acknowledged that the lack of stability and continuity with both head coaches and assistants has held back the program for many years now, he also said he focused more on the program potential and against those negative trends that have plagued KU football.
After his introductory press conference, Leipold said the next step on his agenda was to meet one-on-one with the players. In an era of college football where the transfer portal has given players the flexibility to leave and find another team, KU’s new coach said it is extremely important to him that the Jayhawks stick to the players they have.
Our plan is to win and win with the players who are here now, said Leipold. I feel very strongly about that.
Nevertheless, on the same day, KU introduced its new leader, one of the program show’s players, reserve sophomore cornerback Valerian Agbaw Jr., announced that he was leaving the team and entering the portal.
Leipold’s goal is to keep such losses to a minimum. The Jayhawks have just had spring training with former Les Miles staff, led by the receivers’ coach and passing game coordinator Emmett Jones, who was in charge.
At this earliest stage in the transition to a new regime, Leipold said his message to players is to remain open.
Many of those young men want to play in the NFL, said Leipold. I asked them if they could choose their coach (as a rookie turned pro). Change takes place in the real world. That’s too bad. They did not choose what happened. But as soon as we get the chance to sit down, they will discover that we have their best interest in mind. We will make sure they achieve their goals. We want to help them get on and off the field.
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