David Beaty working energetically to turn around KU football


NOVEMBER 2015 – David Beaty didn’t hesitate when offered the Kansas football head coaching job last December by athletic director Sheahon Zenger.

Beaty, who served as an assistant at Texas A&M (2012-14) and previously two terms as a KU assistant coach (2008-09; 2011), knew how special it was at Mount Oread.

“We have an excellent genuine love for this program,” Beaty said. “We are humbled to be here, and I’ll tell you this: It took us no time because we absolutely love this place. The community is great. My wife and kids absolutely love it here. We have friends, we have a lot of different relationships already developed.

“There’s a lot of things about this place that captured me when we first got here, but one of the things that always sticks out in my mind is going to any KU sporting event, and when the game is actually imminent with the win – the victory is imminent – you get to hear that low, building, ‘Rock Chalk, Jayhawk,’ chant. I can assure you I’ve been to some of the finest venues in the country,

I dare say in the world, and there’s not much that captures you like that moment here at the University of Kansas, and I’m proud to be back here and be a part of that.”

While Beaty was thrilled to be the next coach, he was also a realist who knew the uphill climb Kansas faced. Thin on scholarship numbers and talent, most observers predicted KU to win at most one or two games this season. And in KU’s most winnable game in the season opener against FCS foe South Dakota State, Kansas lost, 41-38.

The Jayhawks lost their first seven games and it appeared quite possible they would go 0-12 in Beaty’s initial season.

But game after game, practice after practice, media session after media session, Beaty has a bounce in his step and preaches a positive message while knowing this is a process, just like it was for former KU head coach Mark Mangino, who inherited a losing program and built it into a national power with winning the most games in school history in 2007 (12-1) and earning an Orange Bowl victory.

Beaty, a Garland, Texas, native, arrived at KU as wide receivers coach in 2008, a year which saw Kansas go 8-5 and win the Insight Bowl. He’s thankful for the opportunity Mangino gave him and knows what it takes to be successful.

“I’m not sure I deserved it, but he gave me a chance. I’ll be forever grateful to him,” said Beaty, a master at building relationships and one of the best young recruiters in the country with deep ties to the Lone Star State who came to KU after serving as wide receivers coach at Rice for two seasons (2006-07). Kansas has 10 verbal commitments for 2016 and six are from Texas, including offensive lineman Chris Hughes and linebacker Hunter Harris.

“Coach Mangino taught me you (recruit) every single day. And we do it every day. We are trying to make this thing better by creating a competitive environment and the way you do that is bring in better what you’ve got. Keep trying to find better than what you’ve got and that will make those guys better.”

Mangino also taught Beaty some other invaluable lessons.

“If you’ve ever spent any time around coach Mangino, I think the one phrase that people always have common ground with is ‘keep sawing wood,’ “ Beaty said. “That’s probably the thing that we have started with and we are going to continue with. I hate losing. However, I understand that everything is a process and we understand part of the process is learning to stay positive in the eyes of adversity.

“So we as coaches are going to continue to stay positive and we are going to stay positive with our players, with each other, because we believe in what we are doing and we know that it’s going to finally kick in. To borrow from (Mangino), we are going to keep sawing wood and that’s the way they are going to get this thing done.

“… You never know which swing is going to be the one,” Beaty added. “Never know which touch is going to be the one where you break through. We are looking forward to that.”

KU almost broke through on Oct. 17 in Lawrence with a 30-20 loss to Texas Tech. Despite the defeat, Kansas had its best game of the year and outplayed Tech the second half. The Jayhawks were down just 23-20 in the fourth quarter while holding the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense well under their average

Quarterback and former Bishop Miege star Ryan Willis, who started three October games against Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, showed he could be the signal caller of the future with throwing for a KU freshman record 330 yards and two touchdowns while completing a freshman record 35 passes, two shy of tying a school mark.

“Our guys played their tails off. They just kept playing,” Beaty said. “Our defense played with unbelievable heart, courage.”

Kansas was overmatched in its next game at No. 14 Oklahoma State, where the Cowboys gave the Jayhawks their 36th-straight loss away from Memorial Stadium with a 58-10 blowout. Beaty was unhappy with his team’s execution, but proud of their effort while knowing there’s still time to get better in November.

He’s instilled a great work ethic with his players and energized his team with bringing his own phrase to Lawrence since he arrived the first day: “Earn it.” He has made practices extremely competitive with players battling for positions and playing time daily.

“It’s going to continue like that as long as I’m here,” Beaty said. “You have to go out and earn everything you get. Nothing in life is going to be handed to you – on the football field or in the professional world – it has to be earned.”

KU’s young players have certainly earned it this season. The Jayhawks have the nation’s most first-time players (37) and second-most first-time starters (30). Beaty knows quite well this youth movement bodes well for the future.

“Absolutely,” he said in the days before the Baylor game on Oct. 10. “There’s no doubt. When you have a situation that maybe we’re in right now, which is a lot of young guys getting to play – and we talked about that way back in spring ball, way back in fall camp, that there’s going to be opportunity for young guys to get on the field here.

“Sometimes the progress doesn’t happen as fast with the win and loss column as you’d like it to. However, I’ve seen a lot of those situations turn pretty good in the future for those teams because you give them something which you can’t give them, which is experience. They’re gaining so much valuable experience.”

The Jayhawks are fighting for Beaty.

“I love coach Beaty,” sixth-year senior running back Taylor Cox said. “I feel he is a guy that really genuinely cares about us. He and the whole coaching staff are wonderful. I’m definitely excited about the future of this program.

“I think he’s just a stand-up guy and really values the community. He’s building a strong relationship with the community and the people of Lawrence. I think he really takes pride and joy in that.”

KU’s assistant coaches and former players deeply respect Beaty.

“The one thing about him every day he brings a certain amount of energy that you have to match,” running backs coach Reggie Mitchell said. “And that’s contagious, not only with the coaches but with the players also.”

Mitchell knows why Beaty is so great at building relationships.

“I think the thing that helps is that he’s honest, and people can see that,” Mitchell said. “They can tell. With coach Beaty, you see right up front. What you see is what you get.”

Former KU All-American receiver Dezmon Briscoe is another huge Beaty fan.

“Coach Beaty developed me as a receiver, but he also developed me as a man,” Briscoe said. “When he came to KU, he took me under his wing and really helped me mature off the field. We have a great relationship and still communicate to this day.”

Being honest, relating great with others, and earning his way has helped Beaty rise up the coaching ranks from his first job as an assistant coach at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, a Dallas suburb, from 1994-96. With more than 20 years of coaching experience and stops at such places as Rice (Beaty was the offensive coordinator there in 2010) and Texas A&M, he is back at Kansas and working hard to bring a winner to KU football.

And he’s not about to stop working until championships are won on a consistent basis.

Beaty knows Mangino won just two games his first year at Kansas in 2002, then six games during his second season while leading KU to a bowl game. And four years later in 2007, Mangino was National Coach of the Year with guiding the Jayhawks to the most successful season in school history.

Beaty knows it will take time, but wants Lawrence and the entire state of Kansas to be appreciative of his team and eventually hear that hallowed “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” chant echo throughout Memorial Stadium at the end of every home game as KU nears another victory.

“We are going to earn the support of our fans one person at a time and we are not going to sleep until we can give everyone something to be proud of at Memorial Stadium,” Beaty said.

Article by David Garfield

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