David Beaty is out as head coach of the University of Kansas Football program. It is only fitting that we pay respects to the man and remember some of his fondest moments.
I was actually present at one of his introductory meetings with the football program’s boosters, oddly enough. I was a sophomore trombone player in the women’s basketball band, and they had us play some fight songs because they’d scheduled it in an adjacent building right before a game. I remember him seeming genuine, and while I didn’t know about his acumen as a coach, that was about as much as we needed in December 2014. Keep in mind that we were coming off of Charlie Weis, who was the kind of dirtbag that didn’t even have the decency lie to KU fans about him committing to the program for more than five years. Charlie Weis couldn’t have given a shit about KU, and it seemed like the remedy for KU’s ineptness was a guy who did.
Beaty was hailed as a great recruiter and little else, which in retrospect should have been a red flag to someone other than Bill Connelly, who absolutely noticed that before everyone else did.
Still, pastures seemed green, and they appeared to have next-to-no Charlie Weis residue on them (and that man leaves behind a lot of residue). He also apparently had 39 scholarships with which to work.
39 is an interesting number when it comes to David Beaty’s tenure at Kansas. If he truly does not coach against Kansas State this coming weekend, he will finish with 39 losses total. His 2015 team never reached 39 points in one game. And a player wearing number 39 delivered the first blow to his head coaching tenure.
During the 2015 Spring Football Game in April, 2015, Beaty’s senior quarterback, Michael Cummings – who had finally won the starting position after three seasons backing up inferior competition – scrambled past the line of scrimmage and, despite wearing the no-contact red jersey, was hit hard in the knee by #39, senior free safety Michael Glatczak. Cummings’ ACL was torn, and he would never play a down of college football again.
Losing a senior quarterback, one who had played admirably in the 2014 season, was an undeniable blow. Cummings was one of Beaty’s only sources of stability heading into a 2015 season laden with instabilities. As a result of losing Cummings in the spring scrimmage, four different quarterbacks would play for KU in 2015.
Yeah, this was a tough one. It appears that the Jayhawks won precisely zero games. This was my watershed. I also took notes throughout the first season in a rare instance of me thinking of the future, so I have surprisingly lucid memories of the season. I also, also, wrote a piece in the middle of the winless season that had me pumped up for the future. I also, also, also, wrote a piece of emo literature that should stand the test of time as the defining piece of literature from the 2015 season. An essay for ENGL 555, Non-Fiction Writing II, entitled Beating the Bears. If you don’t have the time or attention span to read it, here are a few key excerpts:
I stopped short of telling people to cut my life into pieces and how this was my last resort. Anyway, perhaps the best image to represent the 2015 Kansas Football season was this:
What a season. They lost this game, also.
THE VERY BRIEF MOMENT WHEN THINGS SEEMED TO BE LOOKING UP
June of 2016 was perhaps the brightest moment of the Beaty era. It was during this month that Kansas signed a #NeatDeal with a couple of 4* recruits from Louisiana and very briefly had one of the best recruiting classes in college football.
My man hoverboarded in celebration
66-7 over Rhode Island, then a bunch of losses, then 24-21 in overtime over Texas, then like a weird loss on the road to K-State. The biggest problem that I took from this season was the fact that they showed some signs of improvement and had serious talent on both sides of the ball. I left 2016 feeling optimistic! I left thinking KU was coming out on top and only headed upward! Beaty got a contract extension! There was allegedly worry that if KU hadn’t given David Beaty the contract extension that he’d take a coordinator job in Texas somewhere! Shit, after year two, was looking up!
Ahhh, shit. There’s always a 2017, isn’t there? Y’know there’s this theory that the cultural twentieth century ended in 1991 after the end of the Cold War? Remember after the Cold War ended, Elder Bush was all about the New World Order and we went into Iraq and all that? I have a bit of my own theory going on that same sort of scale. With Brexit and the election of Trump and the ensuing elective near-misses what with Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders and I guess the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro fits into this too, we’re in the midst of a real regressive period in global politics after about 30-odd years of trying to figure out how to deal with a post-Cold War world and I wonder what’s going to happen next, generally right-wing movements of this magnitude get a whole lot worse relatively quickly before they get shiftless, which is bad but hopefully something better arises out of that. Actually, when you look at 1991-92 compared to 2017-18 politically, they’re relatively similar, like there was this push-back on the world as people knew it, like between 1991 and 1993 we had HW Bush, Kim Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, and Michel Rochard all losing power in favor of an embracing of a sort of socially-pseduo-conscious neoliberalism that flew in the face of the wholly capitalistic/communistic binary of the twentieth century. We’ve been in that sort of neoliberalism-or-nothing time period for like thirty years now and it’s fucked a bunch of people over and we’ve seen populistic movements cropping up everywhere, some of them hard-line right-wing like in the United States and Netherlands, others have been more left-leaning, like in South Korea and Mexico [please keep in mind that I’m a huge dipshit so if I’m wrong about Mexico please politely tell me but that’s kinda what I gleaned from Obrador’s election? It’s more nuanced than that obviously], and it seems like neoliberal Clintonian government rests in the ever-trustworthy hands of a Canadian Child, a French pop-Eugenicist, and Angela Merkel… so I’m assuming we’re going to see some major paradigm shifts in global political action in the near future especially understanding the very real issues that climate change and unchecked capitalism have dropped right into a system unprepared to deal with them. We will hopefully end up in a better place after this shift, but it’s possible that 2016-18 is treated in history as more of a signifier of shifting time than it is any concrete example of a historical moment.
What I was trying to say there was that it’s entirely possible that everybody forgets about 2017, which would be in David Beaty’s best interest.
Damn, I think everybody thought he was just outta there after 2017. Like you don’t normally win one game in a season immediately after winning two games in a season and still keep that position. And the fucked up thing, the unbelievably fucked up thing, is that he improved! His team got better, they started playing very well on defense, beat Central Michigan on the road and Rutgers at home, and then managed somehow to defeat TCU at home!
But things also got worse. The losing continued, and the inability to compete in any games in a weak Big XII really seems to have doomed him. David Beaty may finally be out, after about a season and a half of people calling for his head.
The stats don’t help him out. If he’s really gone, he will finish his career as a head coach at the University of Kansas with an overall record of 6-39
2-31 in the Big XII
0-3 against Kansas State
1 road win
I don’t think anyone expected him to turn the program into a title contender, but David Beaty has left the program much in the same place that he found it, and the next coach is going to likely suffer in the same way at least early on, which is a disappointment. The absolute lowest bar of expectation that Kansas set for David Beaty was to place down a bandage over the wounds left in the wake of the Weis era, and he has not done so.
Kansas football, again, needs a makeover if they ever hope to compete in the Big XII again. I do not know from whom they get it or how they do it. My assumption is that they’ll go for another Chaz Weis-type and back up a brinks truck for Les Miles or Skip Holtz or someone like that to go winless in 2019.