David Beaty went back on tradition.
The Kansas coach, for years, has taken his daughter Alexa to school each morning. After increasing his football duties the last few weeks, though, he stopped taking her on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“All I did was create more junk,” Beaty said. “That’s not going to happen again.”
It’s a small detail that’s part of a larger point.
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After some self-evaluation, Beaty said Tuesday that he had decided to reduce his own responsibilities with KU’s football team. In his second year, Beaty is serving as head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and last week announced he would be supervising kick and punt returners.
“I’ve got to make sure that I’m not getting in our way by micromanaging things,” Beaty said. “And I’m not saying that I’ve done that a lot, but I do know that I can make changes.
“If I’m going to ask any of these guys to look inside, I’ve got to be the first one to pick up the paint brush. If I’m going to ask them to do something hard, I’ve got to do it.”
Though Beaty didn’t go into specifics about how the team’s organization would change, indications were that he was going to be more open to ideas when it came to the team’s weekly game plan.
“That’s one of the things that hopefully comes out of it is that it becomes more of a group effort, more of a think tank, so to speak,” KU receivers coach Jason Phillips said. “We just pull from the best ideas and the best people in the room, because there’s great people in the room both offensively and defensively and in special teams.”
In the offseason, Beaty constantly talked up his coaching staff while often saying he had hired the “right men” for his program.
His recent actions, though, might have appeared to tell a different story. Beaty demoted Rob Likens from offensive coordinator in March, then two weeks into the season told reporters that he would take over coaching the Jayhawks’ returners as well.
“I feel like it probably did put a little more pressure on him,” KU quarterback Montell Cozart said of handling the different roles. “He felt more responsible for a lot of the things that were going on, and he just wanted to help.”
Cozart said Beaty announced to his players during a team meeting Monday that he would be backing off with the number of obligations he had.
“Sometimes as a coach, it’s hard to do that,” Cozart said, “but it’s big of him and it shows that he cares.”
KU cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry believes Beaty’s thoughts were in the right place from the start. Perry, who has been Beaty’s friend since they both coached at Texas high schools in the early 2000s, says the coach “bears a heavy heart for this program” while trying to do as much as he can to help in the rebuilding effort.
In the process, Beaty believes he might have gone too far. The last two years, he has encouraged his assistant coaches to take their children to school each day.
Beaty vows he’ll be following his own suggestion from now on.
“All that stuff works together,” Beaty said. “It’s what I believe in.”