Kansas coach David Beaty made a bold move Wednesday, firing offensive coordinator Doug Meacham while putting more responsibility back onto himself.
Meacham, who came to KU two years ago after serving as TCU’s co-offensive coordinator, was lauded as Sports Illustrated’s second-best assistant coaching hire in 2017.
“I appreciate Doug and all the work he put in during his time at Kansas,” Beaty said in a release. “None of us are satisfied with the progress we are making on the offensive side of the ball. We hope that with this change we are better able to put our players in the best position to be successful.”
Beaty also announced Wednesday that the coordination of the offense would be a “team effort,” but that he would have the final say with play-calling. Beaty also will instruct the quarterbacks, which previously was Meacham’s responsibility.
This type of move has already been unsuccessful for Beaty once before.
Prior to his second year at KU, Beaty announced that he was going to take over play-calling duties from then-offensive coordinator Rob Likens, while transitioning Likens into a “walk-around” coaching role.
A few weeks into the season, though, Beaty admitted he had taken on too much while saying he was going to adjust some responsibilities. In addition to being head coach and offensive coordinator, he also was overseeing quarterbacks and kick and punt returners.
“I’ve got to make sure that I’m not getting in our way by micromanaging things,” Beaty said on Sept. 20, 2016. “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.”
After KU finished last in the Big 12 scoring average for a seventh straight season in 2016, Beaty hired Meacham in January of 2017, saying Meacham was “someone I have admired for quite some time for his creativity on the offensive side of the ball.” In June, Beaty further threw his support behind Meacham, saying the new OC would call “every football play” for KU’s offense.
The relationship between the two appears to have degraded over time. KU has not been able to settle on a quarterback through six weeks, and starting in Week 2, Beaty was spotted on the sideline with a headset and offensive play call sheet, which was different from previous games. Beaty still reiterated, when asked about the change, that Meacham was calling every play, while quarterback Carter Stanley also said two weeks ago that he was receiving the offensive plays from Meacham.
KU ranks eighth in the Big 12 in scoring average this season, though some of that production has been helped by the team’s defense, which leads the nation in takeaways. The Jayhawks’ 5.3 yards per play ranks last in the conference.
Meacham, who originally signed a three-year deal through 2019 worth $520,000 annually, will be owed the remainder of his contract per that document signed on Jan. 7, 2017. KU Athletics does get some offset contract relief if Meacham accepts another assistant coaching position next season.