Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod publicly announced support for athletic director Sheahon Zenger and football coach David Beaty in an open letter sent to faculty and alumni Monday afternoon.
“I want to reiterate my confidence in Sheahon and coach David Beaty,” Girod said. “Nobody denies the challenges we are having on the field, but I maintain my belief that Sheahon and coach Beaty have the right long-term vision and are doing things the right way. Our focus now is empowering them with the tools they need to fulfill their vision.”
Both Zenger and Beaty have faced criticism in recent weeks following the football team’s underperformance. The Jayhawks are 1-9 with two games remaining, and Beaty is 3-31 in his three seasons at KU.
Zenger offered Beaty some backing in a statement last week.
“When we hired David, we knew it was going to be a long process considering the roster numbers we were dealing with at the time,” Zenger said then. “Now we are living through that process, and I know it’s difficult for everyone: players, coaches, staff, donors and fans.
David knows the goal is to win, and I have faith, as I did the day we hired him, that he will rebuild this program the right way. I know from experience that coaching continuity and upgrading facilities equal to our peers are critical to the building of a successful Power Five program, which is what we all want.”
Beaty received a contract extension from Zenger last December that bumped his annual pay from $800,000 to $1.6 million. If KU Athletics was to fire the coach without cause, it would owe him $3 million.
Zenger had his own deal re-upped in May. He makes $700,000 annually, with a $1.4 million buyout.
Girod also revealed more details about KU’s “Raise The Chant” fundraising campaign that was announced in September. Girod said KU football’s new indoor practice facility -- part of the project’s first phase -- would cost an estimated $26 million. Though many sites are still being considered, Girod said the likely location would be the west side of Memorial Stadium.
The most current plans for the project, Girod said, would be presented to the Kansas Board of Regents next week.