The University of Kansas has the next leader of its embattled football program.
Weeks after parting ways with Les Miles following substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct during Miles’ tenure at Louisiana State University, KU on Friday announced that current University of Buffalo coach Lance Leipold (pronounced lai-powld) will take over as the 40th coach of the Jayhawks football program.
Now Kansas’ sixth football coach since the 2009 season, Leipold will take over a program that has struggled at a nearly unprecedented rate over the last decade-plus, compiling a 21-108 in the last 12 seasons.
He’s no stranger to taking over struggling football programs, however. Between 2010 and 2015, when Leipold was hired at Buffalo, the program went just 22-37 — in the six seasons since, Buffalo has compiled a 37-33 record, and has gone 24-10 in the last three seasons.
Prior to taking over at Buffalo, Leipold spent eight seasons at the helm of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a Division III university — leading them to a 109-6 record and six Division III national championship victories.
In a Friday morning email to athletic donors, Kansas Athletics Director Travis Goff said Leipold stood out as someone with “extensive experience building championship programs and sustained success at each level”.
“We took a diligent approach throughout this search which included internal evaluations of every aspect of our football program. That process included engaging various constituents, including our football student-athletes, in identifying characteristics and attributes that were needed in the next head football coach,” Goff said. “The responses that stood out the most included the following descriptions: passionate, leader, high integrity, developer of men, program builder and winner. Rest assured, Coach Leipold exudes each and every one of those attributes.
Leipold and KU agreed to a six-year contract, but financial terms were not immediately available Friday. In a press release, Leipold said he was thankful to Goff and KU Chancellor Douglas Girod for the opportunity to take over as coach of the Jayhawks.
“It is an exciting and humbling opportunity, and this is a day I will never forget. We are going to build this program through developing players, discipline and determination. The philosophies engrained in our programs along the way will be key as we turn this around,” Leipold said. “This is a program that has a lot of young talent on the roster and has the infrastructure in place to succeed. The best days for this program are ahead, and my family and I are ecstatic to be a part of it.”
KU is scheduled to hold its spring football game on 6 p.m. Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Exactly what role Leipold will play in that game is still unclear.