Again, there's an open sign.
It's hanging in yet another Power 5 conference football coach's office.
This time? Kansas. Late Monday night, in a move never in doubt since LSU on Friday revealed the scathing rebukes contained within the Husch Blackwell Firm's report into allegations of the university's mishandling of inappropriate sexual behavior, Kansas parted with head coach Les Miles – who was a primary figure in the report.
Miles now is out, just 3-18 in his three seasons atop the Jayhawks program and his reputation sullied.
The Jayhawks join fellow Big 12 resident Texas as programs in that conference to make changes on the heels of the COVID-19-addled 2020 campaign, albeit for entirely different reasons.
Only the Atlantic Coast Conference did not have a head coaching change, among the P-5 leagues; the Southeastern Conference, with four, had the most rides on the wheel.
To whom might Kansas look for its next head coach? The school is retaining the outside services of a search firm for the oddly timed process.
There is interest in the job; that's been made clear to FootballScoop in the past 72-plus hours, as Miles' fate became a question of when and not if he would be removed.
Let's dive in to some of the coaches around the sport who could emerge as contenders for a program that “has absolutely nowhere to go but up. You win even a little bit there, everybody will notice.” Winning only 21 games across the past 12 seasons, including winless campaigns in both 2015 and 2020, has that kind of effect.
It's worth noting that the Jayhawks have overhauled their roster and just signed arguably the program's best class in the modern era of recruiting rankings. Coaches notice this element.
WILLIE FRITZ, TULANE: He's a Kansas native with connections steeped in America's heartland from his work in both the high school and junior college ranks in his native state, as well as Fritz's playing days at Pittsburg State. He enjoyed considerable success as a college head coach in Texas at Sam Houston State as well as national junior college power Blinn College. He also had a distinguished run atop the Central Missouri program.
Fritz might stand alone as the absolute best fit in all areas for the downtrodden Jayhawks. He's led the Green Wave to three-straight bowl games; the program had three in 31 years prior to Fritz's arrival.
MIKE DEBORD, KANSAS OC: Hired only recently as the Jayhawks' offensive coordinator, DeBord has both previous head coaching experience from his stint at Central Michigan and a list of successful stints as an offensive coordinator in P-5 programs. DeBord's Tennessee offenses in 2015-16 averaged nearly 36 points per game and helped the Vols win 18 games. He also found success with Tom Allen at Indiana University before he spent the past season as an analyst on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Michigan, where DeBord earlier served as offensive coordinator. He's presently the acting head coach.
SEAN SNYDER, USC Special Teams COORDINATOR: The son of legendary Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder and former All-American punter at K-State, the 51-year-old Snyder spent his entire 26-year coaching career at his alma mater before he accepted the position as the Trojans' special teams coordinator a year ago. As with Fritz, such a move would engender instant in-state and in-region credibility.
GRAHAM HARRELL, USC OC: The former star Texas Tech quarterback who bounced around professional football for a few years has carved a nice path as a collegiate assistant. After beginning his career as an analyst on Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State staff, Harrell has worked at Washington State and North Texas prior to spending the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator for Clay Helton at the University of Southern California. Harrell's a native of central Texas, Brownwood, and has strong name recognition in that region. Additionally, his air-it-out, offensive-minded approach could help spark interest in a Jayhawks program perpetually in the shadows of its basketball peers.
GENE CHIZIK, FORMER P5 HC: He won a national title at Auburn, has long been considered a very strong defensive mind and also has recruited well. Chizik's been out of the coaching ranks for a few years though he's still visited with staffs and coaches throughout the sport. He got some traction with the UCF job when Josh Heupel left Orlando for the Tennessee post.
LARRY FEDORA, FORMER P5 HC: Probably a tough sell even for a school with little to sell, since Fedora was not retained by Baylor coach Dave Aranda as his offensive coordinator following the 2020 season. Fedora has enjoyed success as a head coach, earning eight bowl bids in stints atop the programs at Southern Miss and North Carolina. He's also got deep roots in the area. A College Station, Texas, native, Fedora also worked as a high school coach in Texas in addition to collegiate stops at both the University of Texas and Oklahoma State, as well as Air Force Academy.
Kansas plans to use a search firm to lead this search. At current, Jeff Long remains director of athletics.
We'll keep you posted as more becomes clear on this search. Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching news.