Who gets an interview first?

  • Charlie Strong, just fired from Texas after a dismal 16-21 record in three years. Strong has been a head coach before, posting a 37-15 record at Louisville, with three bowl wins, including the Sugar Bowl. Strong was previously a defensive coordinator.


    Mark Helfrich, just fired from Oregon after posting 37-16 record in four seasons in Eugene (including a trip to the national championship game), but lost 8 of his last 10 games with the Ducks. Helfrich has no other head coaching on his resume, but was a fine offensive coordinator for Oregon under Chip Kelly.

    Helfrich has the higher rise, obviously, taking Oregon to the national title game, but arguably also has the lowest fall with his 4-8 mark this season, since a Texas win at Kansas would have sent the Horns bowling this year.

    Both men are accomplished coordinators, albeit on different sides of the ball and both have had past success as head coaches, with a major bowl win on their resume. Near as I can tell, neither man has been connected to any sort of scandal or off field issue, and there will be plenty of jobs open here very soon.

  • It’s always an interesting question when you look at Helfrich. His team played for a national championship. Of course that was with Kelly’s players I assume. Bruce Weber did the same thing at Illinois, but ultimately has proved to be not up to high level coaching.

    As for who gets interviewed first? Not a clue! I couldn’t have told you the Oregon coaches name until you wrote it here so I’m probably not best qualified to answer.

  • @justanotherfan I’d be okay with Helfrich here as OC, doubt we could get him what you think?

  • @justanotherfan Strong will get another job IMO. As you stated before, he was set up for failure before he ever stepped on the field.

    He will show what he can really do at a smaller school and then come back to a major job at some point. I really do think he is a good coach put in a bad position.

    The Oregon coach though, he took a program from the top and got worse. I think he would be better off taking an OC job at a major university. Recruiting is at least half of the job, and he clearly took a step back after Chip was gone.

  • @kjayhawks

    Helfrich as OC at KU would be a very interesting idea. I don’t know if Beaty would want to bring him in since Beaty is also an offensive coach. Strong as DC at KU would be really interesting because he can flat out coach defense, but as @Kcmatt7 points out, Strong could get another head coaching job fairly quickly, and I wouldn’t want to displace Clint Bowen, who has worked exceptionally hard and deserves the opportunity to succeed here at KU (although I do think Strong is the superior DC).

  • @justanotherfan Yes very good points, I’m still kinda hoping TT fires Kliff and he heads this way. I’m not terribly picky at this point just want a decent OC and QB coach asap.

  • @Kcmatt7 ya I don’t see Helfrich getting a head coaching job soon.

  • Let’s face it, with its current status, KU is unlikely to attract successful, top shelf talent, regardless of how much we think about it; plenty of more successful and more attractive programs out there. KU’s best bet is to find an up and coming younger coach, a diamond in the rough as it were, willing to work his way up and make a name for himself and use KU as a springboard to bigger and better positions. Does anyone really believe that a coach that took a team to the national championship is going to take an assistant coach position at KU? I certainly don’t…but I could be wrong…

  • @kjayhawks This is just my opinion, but lets do what we did this year for one more year. Let’s keep our entire staff if we can and get a little bit of stability. If we do add anything, let’s bring on a freaking special teams coordinator that can get our return game up to par.

    The reason I say this is a year from now, if we have a 4-5 win season and we are showing momentum, KU becomes a very attractive job. A job you can go and resurrect your career instead of settling. A 4-5 win team that looks like they could be a 7-8 win team the next season is a great career move that makes you look really good if you are the OC for that team. So, if we can suck it up one more season and sneak in a couple more wins and play some tight ball games, i think that we will have a lot better coaching options than we do right now.

  • @Kcmatt7 Ya that could work out.

  • KU needs players, so the Charlie Weis rule probably applies.

    Never hire a coach that cannot recruit at an elite program to recruit at a non elite program.

    But I would condition the Weis rule a bit in this case.

    It’s a given that neither Strong, nor Helfrich, has a prayer of recruiting top players to KU, because each could not recruit such players to Texas and Oregon.

    And they clearly were not such great leaders and thinkers that they could make mediocre players compete with good ones

    But KU doesn’t just need great players. It needs large quantities of mediocre players to take the next step from awful to mediocre.

    So the question is: could either man be expected to bring a large quantity of mediocre talent to KU, as an OC, or DC?

    Given each guy wound up signing a lot of mediocre talent to his respective elite school, either guy likely has a pipeline to mediocre talent.

    To reiterate, mediocre talent connections corresponds with KU’s desired next level.

    If I were Beatty, I would ask which guy could yield more mediocre 4 yr recruits right away?

    I would lean toward Strong, if he could deliver, because he recruited Texas where our recruiting needs to be continually intensified.

    I would move Bowen up to assistant head coach and make sure he actually kept coaching the defensive teams with Strong’s schemes.

    I wouldn’t touch either Helfrich, or Strong, with a ten foot pole as a potential replacement for Beatty.

    I’d give Beatty a raise.

    My expectation is neither guy could help enough to make him worth hiring, even if either would come.

  • @jaybate-1.0 We wouldn’t want either guy.

    Strong was able to build up a Louisville program to top 10 levels. But then he moved to Texas and lost all of his previous recruiting pipelines. He can recruit in the right situation. Texas should probably just never hire a football coach outside of Texas or the Big XII. The main reason I wouldn’t want him though is because I would say I wouldn’t trade Bowen for anyone at this point. We finally have a system in place on the defensive side that players are comfortable in. Give Bowen a raise and keep him happy to be a Jayhawk.

    Helfrich, he can be a good OC. But only for a West Coast school where he can bring a few recruits with him. Chip Kelly didn’t land every recruit. He was just the face that his assistants could sell. I’d think Helfrich could do the same again.

    What we want is a guy like Kingsbury to have a rough year and get the boot. Bring in his offense, QB skills and his good looks to recruit with. Oh and his Texas pipeline. That is the type of hire that takes us from below average to average. And maybe slightly above average.

  • Kliff Kingsbury isn’t getting fired this year, Tech AD announced that after they beat down Baylor. If Kingsbury can’t get Tech to 7-8 wins next year, he’s likely gone next November/December.

    The guy I would love to see Beaty take a run at bringing as OC/QB coach is Sterlin Gilbert, who was Charlie Strong’s OC at Texas. Offense was not UT’s problem and Gilbert is a very good OC who is attainable for KU.

  • @Kcmatt7

    Choir. Singing. To.


    As you know my grand strategic constraint is to keep Beatty at all costs to avoid any more massive cash infusions to football until they are showing some tax exempt surplus. Soooooo, if you say Kingsbury Marquis of won’t be available, for a year, and Gilbert, from that splinter republic of Texastan, is a strong OC, then I’m on your bandwagon and count me in for some baked beans and ribs with lots uh chilli in the sauce, pardner.

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