Les Miles chose a familiar name to fill out his first-year Kansas football staff.
Well, a familiar first name, at least.
Miles on Tuesday night announced the hiring of Les Koenning as the Jayhawks’ new offensive coordinator. Koenning, who most recently served as running backs coach at Southern Miss, replaces Chip Lindsey, who Miles hired in December before Lindsey left for the Troy head coaching position on Jan. 10.
Koenning, who has 38 years of coaching experience, previously coordinated offenses at Power Five programs Mississippi State (2009-13), Texas A&M (2003-07), Alabama (2001-02) and Duke (2000).
“We are so excited to add an offensive coordinator with the experience of Les Koenning,” Miles said in a news release. “He has proven to be an innovative offensive mind who has great success recruiting and developing offensive skill players, particularly at the quarterback position.”
Koenning’s time with Mississippi State is perhaps the most notable period on his résumé.
In addition to overseeing offenses that at the time produced the top four seasons in school history in total yardage, Koenning also worked with quarterbacks Dak Prescott, Tyson Lee, Tyler Russell and Chris Relf, who all finished their careers at or near the top of the the Mississippi State record book in completion percentage. Prescott threw for 1,940 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 58.4-percent completion percentage as a sophomore in 2013, Koenning’s final season with the program.
Other recent stops for Koenning include UAB (2016-17, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach), Texas (2014, wide receivers coach) and South Alabama (2008, offensive coordinator). He was fired following his lone season at Texas, with then-coach Charlie Strong saying the Longhorns “need to make a change and head in a different direction” at that coaching position.
Koenning also spent a one-year stint with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (1997, offensive assistant).
KU last season finished ninth in the Big 12 in both scoring offense (23.8 points per game) and passing yards per contest (192.2) and have cycled through play callers over the last four years, from Rob Likens to David Beaty to Doug Meacham and back to Beaty. Koenning will next season have at his disposal junior college transfer Thomas MacVittie, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound pro-style quarterback out of Mesa (Ariz.) Community College.