86 Days: Where are David Beaty’s former assistants?

Some have stuck around, some failed upward, and some left the business altogether.

Forgetting about the general hellscape that was the David Beaty era is chief among the goals for many KU fans this offseason. It’s hard to imagine wanting to look back when there’s so much positivity to look forward to.

But morbid curiosity is a funny thing, and as we count down the days to the 2019 campaign it got me to thinking: What happened to all of Beaty’s assistants?

Some are still around, some are lingering elsewhere and a handful have outright left the coaching profession. Let’s take a look at where this ragtag collective is now after contributing, to one degree or another, to putting the Jayhawks in the position they’re currently in.

STILL ON STAFF

Tony Hull, assoc. head coach/running backs (2016-18)

Undeniably the biggest addition Beaty made to his staff, Les Miles is keeping Hull on his staff in 2019. Hull’s connections in Louisiana have drawn some of the best players in recent KU memory to the program during his tenure. That includes Mike Lee, Pooka Williams and Corione Harris, the latter two of whom are among the four highest-rated recruits in program history per 247Sports. The best position group on the offense has been his over the past few seasons as well.

Clint Bowen, asst. head coach/defensive coordinator/safeties/cornerbacks (2015-2018)

Clint Bowen may be immortal. At least, his KU coaching career is. There is still a discussion to be had about how good he is as a coach, but he lives and breathes Kansas, and he turned Bryce Torneden into a serviceable player, so there are still some positives there.

Zac Woodfin, strength & conditioning, 2017-18

He’s not listed on the coaching roster any longer, but Woodfin is still employed by KU officially under the title of “Director of football strength and conditioning,” so Miles and the new guard in the athletic department must have liked what they saw in him.

COACHING ELSEWHERE

Klint Kubiak, wide receivers, 2015

Kubiak, understandably, left the staff after just one season to join his dad on the Denver Broncos’ staff. He’s currently the quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings, so you could say he’s upgraded slightly from KU’s quarterback room.

Reggie Mitchell, running backs/recruiting coordinator, 2015

Mitchell actually spent six years at Kansas before leaving for Arkansas following the 2015 season, working under four full-time head coaches while in Lawrence. He has since moved on to UTEP, where he’s still coaching running backs.

Calvin Thibodeaux, defensive line, 2015

A graduate of Oklahoma, it made sense that Thibodeaux left Lawrence for Norman to coach under his former coach, Bob Stoops. He’s still with his alma mater.

Kevin Kane, linebackers, 2015

Along with apparently being a biathlete if his Wikipedia profile is to be believed, Kane is a KU graduate and former player who segmented two stints with Northern Illinois with a year at his alma mater. He’s now the defensive coordinator at SMU under Sonny Dykes.

Rob Likens, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, 2015-16

It doesn’t say much about Likens’ abilities that he had playcalling stripped from him by Beaty before the 2016 season, although that may say more about the head man than the assistant. Likens is now Firm For Herm, serving as Herm Edwards’ offensive coordinator at Arizona State after spending a year coaching that program’s wide receivers.

Zach Yenser, running game coordinator/offensive line, 2015-17

Yenser’s path following his time with Kansas has been a prime example of peaks and valleys. His first job after being fired by Beaty was at Enterprise (AL) High School, but he has since rebounded in a big way, now on staff as the assistant offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers. Imagine coaching for Kyle Shanahan just two years after working for David Beaty; some people have all the luck.

Jason Phillips, wide receivers, 2016

Following one unspectacular year with the Jayhawks, which did include coaching bona fide flash in the pan LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Phillips left one horrendous P5 team for another by heading to Oregon State. He recently had a job come to an abrupt end this spring when the Alliance of American Football dissolved; he had been an assistant for the Salt Lake Stallions. He has since rekindled his partnership with Gary Anderson, formerly of Oregon State and the new coach at Utah State, where Phillips is the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.

Joe DeForest, special teams coordinator, 2016-17

DeForest was fired at the same time as Yenser, but quickly joined the staff of another terrible head coach, Clay Helton, at USC. He was an analyst last year, but was promoted to outside linebackers coach following the season.

Justin Johnson, offensive analyst, 2016-17; wide receivers, 2018

This is another coach who’s getting a chance to work where he played. Johnson was a first-team all-Conference USA selection as a player at Houston, and this season is joining Dana Holgorsen’s staff as their running backs coach.

Jesse Williams, defensive line, 2017-18

Williams is now coaching at the FCS level, joining the staff at Eastern Kentucky under Colonels legend Mark Elder. Unsurprisingly, the EKU website hypes up Williams’ work with current Dallas Cowboys Daniel Wise and Dorance Armstrong.

Garrett Riley, quarterbacks, 2017; tight ends/fullbacks, 2018

Riley has a slightly more famous older brother, but he won’t be coaching against Lincoln this coming year after he took a job as the running backs coach at Appalachian State. The elder Riley also happened to make a name for himself at a mid-major type program in North Carolina, for whatever that’s worth.

A.J. Ricker, offensive line, 2018

The second coach now on the SMU staff, Ricker is on his fifth team in five years, going from the SEC (Missouri) to the American (Houston), to two years in the Big 12 (Oklahoma State and Kansas) and now back to the American.

NOT CURRENTLY COACHING

Je’Ney Jackson, strength & conditioning, 2015-16

Following the 2016 season Jackson chose to leave coaching in order to spend more time with his family. According to his LinkedIn profile, he now works in sales, selling something called LactiGo, “the world’s best topical sports gel that is changing the way you exercise.”.

Kenny Perry, co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks, 2015-17; special teams coordinator/recruiting coordinator, 2018

Perry joins Bowen as the only coaches to stick on Beaty’s staff all four years. He doesn’t appear to have caught on anywhere new since his contract expired, and his Twitter handle changed from @CoachPerryKU to a more generic @CoachKennyPerry.

Michael Slater, defensive line, 2016

Another coach who spent time at Arizona State, Slater coached the defensive line for the Sun Devils in 2017 before joining the staff at Texas Southern in the same role last year. He was not retained, however, and it doesn’t look like he’s caught on elsewhere to this point.

Todd Bradford, linebackers, 2016-17

I remember laughing out loud when I first saw this news. Shortly after being moved to safeties coach following the 2017 season, Bradford left coaching to take a job in the oil industry. Basically, according to the original report, he couldn’t pass up oil money, which seems pretty reasonable given all kinds of circumstances.

Bill Miller, linebackers, 2018

A Topeka native, Miller spent just one year with on Beaty’s staff, getting a chance to coach Joe Dineen Jr. in his final season. That’s the last we’ve heard from Miller, though, who wasn’t retained.

Cassius Sendish, GA, 2017; safeties, 2018

Sendish was a standout player for the Jayhawks before he joined Beaty’s staff as a graduate assistant in 2017, then was promoted to safeties coach after Bradford’s departure. He’s currently working as a private trainer/coach with TopSpeed Strength & Conditioning along with fellow former Jayhawk Ben Johnson.

Doug Meacham, offensive coordinator, 2017-18

Meacham’s hiring came with considerable fanfare, considering his success at TCU as co-offensive coordinator and also the fact that it could potentially save Beaty from himself. Unfortunately the experiment didn’t go well and Meacham was abruptly canned midway through the 2018 season. He hasn’t been hired elsewhere, but he has been busy on Twitter, mostly talking about his former TCU players and retweeting the following:

Source: Rock Chalk Talk