It’s becoming increasingly obvious how Kansas athletic director Jeff Long only had eyes for Les Miles to be the team’s football coach.
Miles was hired by Long to replace David Beaty before the 2018 season was even over. And shortly after his firing, Beaty filed a lawsuit against Kansas alleging that the school owed him his $3 million buyout for being fired without cause after Kansas tried to say that minor NCAA violations under Beaty’s watch were enough to withhold the payment.
Depositions regarding the lawsuit were made in February and recently unsealed. Long was one of the people deposed as part of the suit and struggled, when asked by Beaty’s lawyers, to remember the names of the other football coaches that he interviewed to replaced Beaty.
Long’s testimony also appeared to inadvertently show a lack of interest for anyone besides Miles. When asked whom he had interviewed in person for the KU job, Long mentioned:
“Todd Graham or Grantham” (former Arizona State coach Todd Graham)
“I’m struggling with his name. He was working for the LA Rams at the time (Rams senior offensive assistant Jedd Fisch)
and “the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, and I’m going to forget his name as well.” (Lou Anarumo)
Look, we get that major college athletic directors meet a lot of people. But Miles was hired less than 18 months ago. And this is the position of football coach.
Shouldn’t an athletic director — especially a former College Football Playoff chairman like Long — have easy recall of semi-serious candidates for the job? Former Arizona State coach Todd Graham and current Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham aren’t exactly mixed up all that often.
You can also couple Long’s inability to remember the names with the revelation that Kansas started to make arrangements for the filming of an ESPN+ series chronicling Miles’ time at Kansas before Beaty had officially been fired. Beaty was fired after a 3-9 fourth season with the Jayhawks. That was his team’s best season. And it was the same record that Miles’ team had in 2019.
There’s also an incredible irony to Kansas’ pursuit of the NCAA violation truth in trying to avoid paying Beaty’s buyout. This is the same school that’s vehemently denying far more serious NCAA allegations by coach Bill Self and the basketball program. Kansas has flat-out gone scorched earth in its war to keep the reputation of its basketball program intact. Yet it’s trying to weasel its way out of paying $3 million to a former coach because of minor violations that, according to the Star’s story, have also occurred under Miles’ watch.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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