Advertisement

The Arkansas High School Coach Who Doesn't Punt and Only Onside Kicks Says He'll Accept the Kansas Job for $90,000 Per Win — And It's Actually an Amazing Idea

You may have already been asleep when the University of Kansas announced late Monday night that KU and former head football coach Les Miles had "mutually agreed to part ways." Miles currently finds himself under mounting allegations of sexual assault from his time at LSU and it seemed only a matter of when, rather than if, he was going to be let go.

So now it's March 9 and the worst program in Power Five football — by a considerable margin — finds itself without a coach with spring football just days away. And given where the Kansas football program currently sits, it seems beyond foolish to go with another retread has-been or supposedly up-and-comer willing to take such a horrible job. But The Athletic's Andy Staples has an idea for a candidate that I actually think is brilliant: Kevin Kelley, the Arkansas high school coach who only onside kicks and never punts.

The Athletic — I texted Kevin Kelley when it became obvious Kansas and Les Miles would be parting ways and I told him that I planned to write a column suggesting Kelley, better known as the Arkansas high school coach who doesn’t punt, should be the next Jayhawks’ head coach.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Kelley wrote back. “Feel free to say I will do it for $90,000 per win. They’ll be coming out way better than they are now if I don’t win.”

Hold on. There was more to that sentence.

“But I will,” Kelley wrote.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Kelley, I can't recommend enough this short profile on him that gives a nice snapshot of what he's about and how he coaches.

And in re-watching that, I actually couldn't believe one of his quotes that now is almost too perfectly applicable to this situation. "I think the people that need to implement this system the most are the bottom-level teams that are consistently bad in the NFL and in FBS," Kelley said. "What do they have to lose? They've been doing the same things over and over and getting the same result. Why would you not try something different?"

I absolutely love this guy. Kelley just won his ninth state championship to cap off a 13-0 season in 2020 and everybody hates him because he cracked the code. And he's absolutely right about programs like Kansas. Why would you choose to continue losing instead of taking this guy who has dominated his competition doing something that everybody else refuses to do? And as a kicker, he says he'll do it for $90,000 per win. That's a bargain whether he goes winless or 15-0. There is literally nothing to lose.

I can't express how badly I want to see this guy coaching an FBS program. Georgia Tech went from a middling ACC team to one which won a conference title and an Orange Bowl, played for two more ACC championships and was on the verge of making a College Football Playoff running the triple option under Paul Johnson. And then they went away from the option again after Johnson retired and they're worse off than they were before. One of the service academies is in the Top 25 nearly every year running an offense that other teams won't because it's too weird, too.

And what Kelley is doing is far more defensible than running the option because he has all the numbers he can point to that back him up and he's winning at an unprecedented clip. Who is Kansas to turn its nose up at this guy?

I want nothing more than to see Kelley go tear it up in college. Listen to the analytics.