LAWRENCE — Significant progress has been made inside the Kansas football program over the last four years, David Beaty says, even if outsiders don’t necessarily see those strides.
Still, the Kansas football head coach understands why first-year athletic director Jeff Long dismissed him from his job Sunday in a move effective at the end of the season.
“We haven’t won enough games,” Beaty said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “At the end of the day, it’s a production business on wins and losses. That’s a measuring tool you can’t escape. You’ve got to be able to win games, and I get it.”
Beaty will finish out the season’s final three contests, beginning with an 11 a.m. Saturday tilt at Kansas State. The decision to stick around was a “very, very easy” one to make, he said, when Long offered the opportunity.
KU (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) has gone 6-39 in Beaty’s three-plus seasons.
“We’ve still got bowl eligibility in front of us,” Beaty said. “We’ve got three opportunities, and we understand we’ll be underdogs in every one of those games. We are excited as all get-out to play every single one of ’em one at a time, beginning with this week at K-State.”
Word of Beaty’s imminent firing broke Saturday after the team’s 27-3 home defeat to Iowa State when Soren Petro, of Sports Radio 810 (WHB-AM) in Kansas City, Kan., reported Long had made his decision to move on from the coach. Admittedly “not a big social media guy in terms of reading things or listening to things,” Beaty got word of the news later that night when players began calling him and asking questions.
Long, who has said he only came to his decision Sunday morning after sleeping on it, met with Beaty at noon Sunday and later addressed the KU players.
“I think it was tougher on my players and my family more than it was me,” Beaty said. “We as coaches are conditioned to understand the way of the world when it comes to our game.”
Perhaps it’s too early for reflection from Beaty, who said he’s not ready to answer whether he would change anything about his KU tenure. That question, he said, will be easier to answer when he isn’t still intertwined in an ongoing season.
Beaty did say, however, that there were “numerous” challenges within the program that he didn’t anticipate at the time of his hiring in December 2014.
“Some of that is just based on your first time as a head coach at the collegiate level,” Beaty said. “I will say this: Being the head coach of a 5A school in the state of Texas paid major dividends for me coming into this position, because you do it all there. There’s no secretary. You are the secretary. You are the weight coach, all of that. I think that prepared me well for the job.”
Beaty’s comments appear to allude to a staff shortage within the program that Long addressed on Sunday night, when the athletic director claimed the university’s own research puts football anywhere from eight to 15 personnel members behind the average Big 12 team.
Up next for Beaty are the in-state rival Wildcats (3-6, 1-5) who, in head coach Bill Snyder, have “the best to ever do it,” he said.
“From a personal level, am I upset that I won’t be with these guys and this great university? Absolutely,” Beaty said. “But it’s the way of the world and I get it. We understand it. I’m going to enjoy every minute of the next three weeks.”