Blair Kerkhoff

Which area coach is on the hot seat? Whose job is most secure?

From left: Kansas football coach David Beaty, Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber and Missouri basketball coach Kim Anderson
From left: Kansas football coach David Beaty, Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber and Missouri basketball coach Kim Anderson Kansas City Star photo illustration

What was it that former football coach and philosopher Bum Phillips said? “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that’s fired and them that’s gonna be fired.”

At the moment, anyway, the coaching seats aren’t hot for most of the region’s major-league and higher-profile college teams.

But we got to wondering: Who among this group is most and least secure? If each respective team had its worst season under its current coach, which of them might pay with his job?

We ranked the coaches of 10 teams — three professional, seven college — in terms of their security. Here’s the list:

1. Bill Self, Kansas men’s basketball

When a regional-final loss to the eventual national champion and final No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press poll disappoints some of a team’s faithful, all is secure. KU wants to retain Self beyond a salary that approaches $5 million this year. The Jayhawks’ new practice facility, apartments for players, the purchase and housing of James Naismith’s original rules of basketball — these things help to keep Self happy and have to be considered amid any speculation that he could jump to the NBA.

Working for boss who hired him? No.

Numbers: 385-83 (.823) overall, 12 Big 12 championships in 14 years at Kansas. One NCAA championship (2008), one runner-up finish (2012).

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State football

Snyder and Self could be 1a and 1b. Coach Bill Snyder Highway (maps call it Kansas 177, but we know better) takes you into Manhattan, where autumn afternoons are spent at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Someday the 76-year-old architect of college football’s greatest turnaround story will no longer be the Wildcats’ coach. But not now.

Working for boss who hired him? No

Numbers: 193-101-1 in 24 seasons, 7-10 in bowl games. Big 12 champions in 2003 and 2012. Elected to College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

3. Ned Yost, Royals

For Yost and the Royals, here are the numbers that matter most: six straight seasons of improvement (he was there for five of them), three straight winning seasons, two straight American League flags, one World Series trophy and 800,000 or so for the club’s victory parade.

Working for the boss who hired him? Yes.

Numbers: Only Royals manager with two AL championships. Yost has the most victories in Royals history and owns a 483-486 career mark going into Wednesday’s game. His 22-9 postseason record ranks eighth in baseball history and first among those with at least 20 playoff games.

4. Andy Reid, Chiefs

The team’s first playoff victory in more than two decades strengthened Reid’s standing. But he gets his share of criticism, too — both for the sort of play-calling and clock management he displayed in the Chiefs’ playoff loss to the New England Patriots, and, along with general manager John Dorsey, for decisions like the controversial selection of Tyreek Hill in the recent NFL Draft. Still, three straight winning seasons and two playoff appearances have done wonders for Reid’s job security.

Working for the boss who hired him? Yes.

Numbers: 31-17 in three seasons in KC. The Chiefs finished second in the division each year, qualifying for the playoffs twice. The 2015 season included a team-record 10-game winning streak and first playoff victory since the 1993 season.

5. Peter Vermes, Sporting KC

It’s getting difficult to recall a time for Sporting without Vermes. He became head coach in 2009, when the team was still the Wizards, and he’s the only person in league history to win an MLS Cup as a player and coach with the same team. Sporting KC is an annual contender, has won three major trophies since 2012 and consistently fills one of the league’s top venues. And Vermes oversees all soccer operations. He’s entrenched.

Working for the boss who hired him? Yes.

Numbers: Vermes owns 99 career victories, including playoffs, and bids to become sixth coach in MLS history to win 100 with one team. Including all competition, Vermes is 117-84-63.

6. Barry Odom, Missouri football

The only first-year coach of the group, Odom this year succeeds Gary Pinkel, the program’s career leader in victories. The Tigers are coming off a 5-7 finish, matching their worst record since 2001. There will be (and should be) patience with Odom, a former Tigers linebacker. But MU’s 2013 and 2014 division titles are fresh in fans’ memories, and immediate progress is expected this season.

Working for the boss who hired him? Yes.

Numbers: Odom starts collecting wins and losses on Sept. 3, when the Tigers open the season at West Virginia.

7. Kareem Richardson, UMKC basketball

After Richardson’s second season, when the Kangaroos turned in a winning conference record, expectations were elevated for his third year at the helm. But UMKC regressed to 4-10 in WAC play. There were early encouraging signs, like victories over South Dakota State and Mississippi State, and the Kangaroos reached the league tournament semifinal, but that was it. Richardson should be safe, but the program is still seeking its first winning record since 2011.

Working for the boss who hired him? No.

Numbers: In his first head coaching position, Richardson is 38-56 overall and 19-25 in conference play in three seasons.

8. David Beaty, Kansas football

The employment expectancy of a KU football coach since 2009 has been less than three seasons. But could Beaty, 0-12 in his first year as a head coach, survive a second winless season? Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger has fired two football coaches in this decade, and not many ADs get to fire a third in such a short time period.

Working for the boss who hired him? Yes.

Numbers: Kansas and Central Florida were the only teams in FBS to finish 0-12 last season. Central Florida changed coaches, turning to former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost.

9. Bruce Weber, Kansas State men’s basketball

Weber looks to turn back the clock. His first two years at K-State produced a 47-21 record, including a share of a Big 12 title in 2013. The second two years, not so much: Weber’s teams went 32-33 and 13-23 in league play. Fans are getting restless, and Weber might not survive a third straight year of not reaching the postseason.

Working for the boss who hired him? Yes.

Numbers: 79-54 (.594) overall and 37-35 in Big 12 play over four seasons. NCAA Tournament the first two years; no postseason the second two.

10. Kim Anderson, Missouri men’s basketball

It would be difficult to construct a tougher set of circumstances for a guy taking over a program than what greeted Anderson. His teams are paying for NCAA violations that occurred in the Frank Haith era, and athletic director Mack Rhoades mentioned this challenging situation when he announced recently that Anderson would return for a third year. There have been 13 decommitments, transfers or dismissals from MU under Anderson, and no player from the Haith regime remains.

Working for the boss who hired him? No.

Numbers: 19-44 (.302) overall, 3-15 in SEC play in each of his first two years.

 

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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