Was Beaty the right hire for the KU football head coaching position?

By: Amie Just | @Amie_Just

Yes

When new Kansas head football coach David Beaty was introduced during halftime at the Florida at Kansas basketball game on Friday, a few small voices could be heard yelling, “We want Harbaugh!” over the rest of the crowd.

Sure, Beaty isn’t the first person who comes to mind when you think of football greatness. But just because he isn’t considered that now, doesn’t mean there isn’t potential.

In the final season of the BCS, Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans was named a consensus All-American after catching 69 passes for 1394 yards and 12 touchdowns. As an NFL rookie, Evans has caught 57 passes for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns so far on the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are 2-11. He’s also in talks of being on the ballot for the Rookie of the Year Award.

Who coached him? Beaty.

Beaty began coaching high school in 1994 as the assistant coach at Naaman Forest High School, later moving to Garland High School in 1997, then North Dallas High School in 2001 and finally Irving MacArthur High School in 2002.

In 2006 he began his college coaching career as the wide receivers coach for Rice University before moving to KU in 2008. Since then, he has worked at Rice University as well as KU before finally landing at Texas A&M as the wide receivers coach in 2012. Throughout his college career, Beaty has been known as a great recruiter of high school talent.

Having coached high school kids for 12 years, he knows what high school recruits want to hear. Many kids these days like the new bells and whistles that teams like Oklahoma and Baylor have. Kansas doesn’t have much of that, but during Beaty’s inaugural press conference he said he’s working on creating something that’s had a ton of success at Kansas State: a walk-on program.

If a high school player isn’t offered a scholarship, he could essentially play on the team without one and possibly earn a scholarship down the road.

When the term “walk-on” is introduced, it’s generally thought that the kids will be on the practice squad for four years, but that is definitely not the case.

J.J. Watt, Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson, all of whom play for the NFL, were all college walk-ons, with Nelson walking on at Kansas State.

“We want it to be the most powerful walk-on program in the country,” Beaty said. “That’s a goal of ours. The margin between a scholarship player and a walk-on is razor thin. And sometimes you don’t make the right decision. That’s the reason I think it’s so important to give those kids the opportunity to represent the Jayhawks.”

Looking at the head coaching salaries in the Big 12 from 2012, Beaty would be dead last in the conference. Based on those numbers, Iowa State’s Paul Rhoades is getting paid around $1.6 million every year. Beaty’s contract is $800 thousand every year. Why so low? Because he wants to bring the best staff possible to Kansas.

Quarterback Michael Cummings said Beaty wants to win and he wants to win now, but things may not come to fruition right away.

Reviving a football program from the dead isn’t an easy task, but Beaty is up for it.

— Edited by Kelsi Kirwin

  

Nick Couzin | @NCouz

No

When I was first informed Kansas Athletics had hired David Beaty, I said to myself, “Who?” After researching his coaching career and seeing that he was a wide receivers and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M, it tells me he isn’t the right coach for our football team. He’s had no head coaching experience whatsoever.

His hiring came way too fast. The season ended for Kansas last Saturday with a 51-13 loss in Manhattan to K-State, and by Friday afternoon, they had their coach picked out. On Thursday, according to Football Scoop, Kansas was going to interview 15-20 coaches in the next two weeks, and then the next week, they already had their coach.

Our football program has been poor. Since 2009 — the last year we had coach Mark Mangino and a winning record starting 5-0 — we have been 6-39 in five seasons. Not good. You need a big name coach like a Bo Pelini or Will Muschamp who are known for recruiting talent. In seven seasons at Nebraska, Pelini had won nine games every season. Muschamp had the same deal in Gainesville, excluding this year when the Gators went 7-5, but 3-5 in the SEC, which caused him to resign. I’m sure as KU football fans, we wouldn’t mind seeing either one of them roaming the sidelines of Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately, we missed that chance. I’m sure the University would be happy with nine or even seven wins, which is better than the three we had all season.

Reaction from fans has been back and forth. Some say a big name didn’t want to come here and take over a struggling program when he could be a coordinator for more money somewhere else coaching a more successful team. I disagree. If Kansas spent more money on its football program, it could be just as successful in bringing in the likes of a Pelini and Muschamp. Bringing in a big name coach would have also brought more fans and more coverage to Lawrence on during football season.

I’m glad new coach Beaty can recruit well, recruiting players like current Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill. He has also mentored current NFL receiver Mike Evans, who is tearing it up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year in his rookie season. Sure he knows the system, as he was an offensive assistant under Turner Gill in the 2010-11 season. But can Beaty run a football team? Can he help this team become a winning team? As of now, we will have to wait and see. I’m glad Clint Bowen is staying on staff, but it would have been nice to see him earn the job, too.

— Edited by Rob Pyatt