Kansas football coach David Beaty says he continues to receive backing from both athletic director Sheahon Zenger and KU chancellor Douglas Girod in the midst of a disappointing 1-8 season.
“The truth is, we still have a lot of young guys here, a lot of young guys that we’re still in the process (with). Our A.D. has certainly been a guy that understood that and still understands it. He’s been as incredibly supportive, as well as our chancellor has been,” Beaty said during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. “From our standpoint, we feel great about that. There’s absolutely no indication of anything different.”
After the teleconference, Zenger reiterated his support for Beaty as KU’s coach.
“When we hired David, we knew it was going to be a long process considering the roster numbers we were dealing with at the time,” Zenger said. “Now we are living through that process, and I know it’s difficult for everyone: players, coaches, staff, donors and fans. David knows the goal is to win, and I have faith, as I did the day we hired him, that he will rebuild this program the right way. I know from experience that coaching continuity and upgrading facilities equal to our peers are critical to the building of a successful Power Five program, which is what we all want.”
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Beaty also was asked directly on Monday if he was concerned about his future following Saturday’s 38-9 home loss to previously winless Baylor.
“I’m not at all. I feel great,” Beaty said. “When we came to this place, we made it very clear that we were going to not take any shortcuts. We weren’t going to sign entire classes of junior-college guys and try to get quick fixes. We had seen what that had done.”
Beaty was making reference to previous coach Charlie Weis, who left the program more than 20 scholarship players short following juco gambles that didn’t pay off. Beaty emphasized that, when hired, he told KU he needed his contract — then five years — for a full turnaround.
“You build it with high school players that have been in your program for four to five years,” Beaty said. “I look right now at our roster of scholarship guys, basically, that are playing, that are fourth- and fifth-year guys — we have eight of them. Eight. Iowa State has 46. TCU has 43. (Rice coach David) Bailiff is my mentor. He used to say a long time ago, ‘You win with juniors and seniors. You win with upperclassmen.’ ”
That explanation still doesn’t seem to excuse Saturday’s effort, as the Jayhawks lost by four scores at home to a similarly inexperienced Baylor team. Coming into the game, half of the Bears’ starters this season (88 of 176) were freshmen or sophomores.
Beaty was asked why this KU season hadn’t lived up to his own preseason expectations.
“Obviously, as you go into every season, I don’t think there’s a coach in the country that goes into the season that thinks they’re not ready to take the next step,” Beaty said. “We certainly were the same. I think that you have to prepare and you have to believe that you’re heading to that next step.”
The coach went on to say KU hadn’t played complementary football this season, with the team’s offense, defense and special teams failing to show consistency week to week.
“It just comes down to execution. It’s not much more complicated than that,” Beaty said. “It’s everyone doing their job, and us preparing them to do their job at a high level. When you don’t, and you’re playing in a league like this, it’s going to be difficult.”
Beaty received a contract extension from Zenger last December that bumped his annual pay from $800,000 to $1.6 million. If KU Athletics was to fire the coach without cause, it would owe him $3 million.