David Beaty says he didn’t expect his chancellor’s public statement of support.
But the third-year Kansas football coach certainly seems to appreciate the vote of confidence.
“It means a ton,” Beaty said Tuesday at his weekly news conference in Lawrence. “The thing that sticks out to me the most is it’s right in line with what we’ve been talking about in our conversations in the previous weeks. I told you his vision is phenomenal.”
In Doug Girod’s open letter released Monday to faculty and alumni, the first-year chancellor acknowledged the on-field “challenges” the Jayhawks (1-9, 0-7 Big 12) are having this season but reiterated his confidence in both Beaty and athletic director Sheahon Zenger. The duo “have the right long-term vision and are doing things the right way,” Girod wrote.
Beaty said Girod has a good grasp on the football team’s path and the coach’s plan to rebuild the program.
“It’s like he said, I love the phrase: He’s like, ‘… You’re the ones doing the work,’ ” Beaty said. “Understanding that is a perspective that not everybody gets to enjoy.”
The vote of confidence, which echoed similar remarks Girod made at a Sept. 22 news conference announcing the athletic department’s “Raise The Chant” fund-raising campaign for $350 million renovations primarily focused on Memorial Stadium, will have a positive influence on the coaching staff’s ongoing recruiting efforts, Beaty said.
“Those things are things that help stabilize you when it comes to the message that you’re talking about when you’re talking to kids and when you’re out there on the road,” Beaty said.
Beaty, who has posted a 3-31 record at KU, would be owed a $3 million buyout if terminated without cause. Zenger, whose hires Beaty and Charlie Weis have posted a combined 9-53 record, would be owed a $1.4 million buyout. Both Beaty and Zenger signed contract extensions in the last year.
Beaty said he has not once felt “unstable” or “uncertain” about his job status. He referenced comments made in his first months on the job that stressed the long road ahead in the rebuild.
“I talked at length about, if you want this thing done overnight, I’m not your guy because we’re trying to make it last forever,” Beaty said. “We’re trying to build something, right? So that timeline is what it is. It just is what it is. We’d like it to be faster than it is, and our fans certainly deserve it, but the truth of the matter is that it’s going to take some time.”
The Jayhawks are riding a nine-game losing streak following a preseason in which Beaty said the team should start seeing dividends of the rebuilding effort, and those “dividends are reflected in wins.” Asked Tuesday to evaluate whether his plan is on schedule, ahead of schedule or behind schedule, Beaty replied: “We are right in the middle of it.”
“The culture, I think, is in a terrific place, which is why (the players) play so hard regardless of what the distractions may be,” Beaty said. “They play so hard because they believe. You know, we’re a work in progress. … We’re going to continue to do what we’re doing with regard to our plan and how we’re building this thing.”
FOUR JAYHAWKS RULED OUT FOR SEASON — As reported Sunday, Beaty confirmed junior wide receiver Tyler Patrick will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a gruesome lower left leg injury while blocking in the team’s 42-27 defeat Saturday at Texas.
Patrick is set for a medical procedure Wednesday that will “help get him back on his feet,” Beaty said.
“We do anticipate him making a full recovery, which will be great,” Beaty added.
Junior Jeremiah Booker and freshman Quan Hampton, both wide receivers, were also ruled out for the season with undisclosed injuries. Booker had a successful corrective procedure Tuesday. Junior cornerback Shak Taylor will also miss the season’s final two games.
“But other than that,” Beaty continued, “we anticipate that we’ll have the other (injured players) available this week.”
KU hosts No. 3 Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.