If you can’t beat them, hire them.
That was the strategy employed by Kansas coach Charlie Weis, who officially hired Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan on Saturday to serve in the same position at KU.
Reagan, who will also serve as KU’s offensive line coach, helped Rice to two victories over Kansas in the past two years. A former KU assistant under Mark Mangino, Reagan will replace Tim Grunhard, the former Chiefs lineman who worked as KU’s offensive line coach during Weis’ first two years.
The move is also significant step for Weis, who has guided a largely ineffective KU offense as offensive coordinator during the past two seasons. The Jayhawks’ scoring offense ranked 118th in the country this past season, averaging just 15.3 points per game during a 3-9 campaign in Weis’ second season in Lawrence.
The hiring of Reagan, according to Weis, was in the works for weeks before the announcement was made public.
“When Tim told me his thoughts, I started searching for a replacement with the hopes of finding someone with Kansas ties capable of coordinating an offense,” Weis said in a statement released Saturday. “My search brought me to John Reagan. John not only coached at KU, but his kids still reside in Lawrence. He has a great reputation as an offensive line coach, but also has received accolades for coordinating the offense at Rice.”
In addition, Weis also announced that linebackers coach Clint Bowen will officially take over the title of defensive coordinator. Bowen served as the de facto defensive coordinator last season, running the defense while assistant head coach Dave Campo coached the defensive backs and oversaw the entire defense.
“I like the way the defensive staff transitioned this past season from Dave (Campo) to Clint,” Weis said. “Therefore, Clint will now assume the title of defensive coordinator with Dave continuing to oversee the defense as the assistant head coach.”
Reagan and Bowen both have deep KU ties, with both coaches serving as assistants for Mangino during the Jayhawks’ greatest triumphs, including an Orange Bowl victory in January 2008.
After Mangino parted ways with KU in 2009, Reagan spent four seasons at Rice, where he helped the Owls defeat Marshall in the Conference USA Championship on Saturday. In his last season as offensive coordinator at Rice, the Owls ranked 61st in the country in total offense, averaging 420.5 yards per game. They also ranked 58th in scoring offense at 30.5 points per outing.
“John … will hit the recruiting trail (immediately) for offensive linemen,” Weis said. “He will serve as both the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach. I would like to welcome John Reagan back to the Jayhawk family.”