LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Lance Leipold has gone from fairly probably the bottom rung of faculty soccer to the very best.
Nicely, form of.
The brand new coach at Kansas discovered the finer factors of teaching at wayward soccer outposts corresponding to Doane, an NAIA faculty in Crete, Nebraska, and Nebraska-Omaha, a Division II faculty that later lower its program fully.
Certain, there have been temporary stops as an assistant at Nebraska and Wisconsin early in his profession. However till making the leap to the Division I stage with Buffalo in 2015, Leipold had spent many extra seasons at locations corresponding to Wisconsin-Whitewater, the place he received six nationwide titles and compiled a 109-6 report throughout eight seasons as the top coach.
”While you’re teaching decrease ranges, any new job, there are new issues – new methods to do it – however there’s nonetheless core issues,” Leipold stated Monday throughout an introductory information convention three days after he was employed by the Jayhawks. ”Expectations and course and the way you are going to go about it are at all times the identical.”
What’s not the identical? The magnitude of the job forward of him.
The 56-year-old Leipold has reached the top of faculty soccer’s hierarchy with a Energy 5 job within the Huge 12, but it surely occurs to be at arguably the worst program within the nation. Kansas has been to 4 bowl video games prior to now 26 years, hasn’t had a successful season since 2008 and has received seven convention video games complete over the previous dozen seasons.
The Jayhawks are also coming off a winless COVID-19-shortened season, shedding all 9 video games and most in lopsided vogue. It was such a debacle that the outcomes alone in all probability warranted the firing of then-coach Les Miles, who wound up parting with the varsity as an alternative amid accusations of sexual harassment from his time at LSU.
The on-the-field outcomes are daunting sufficient. There may be additionally the lengthy shadow solid by the Jayhawks’ powerhouse basketball program, the final apathy amongst followers that has set in over the previous decade and the decrepit soccer stadium that serves as a reminder of simply how far behind this system is correct now.
These are all obstacles that Leipold didn’t have to beat at Wisconsin-Whitewater or Buffalo, regardless that he took each of these packages from mediocrity to heights unknown earlier than his arrival.
”Everybody ought to know somewhat bit about historical past,” Leipold acknowledged, ”however you’ll be able to’t spend time worrying in regards to the previous. The most important factor I have been capable of analysis is the potential and what an important place that is.”
A few of that analysis got here via conversations that Leipold had with Mark Mangino, who took the Jayhawks to the Orange Bowl, and Glen Mason, who additionally had success as their head coach.
”They stated, `This job suits you on so many various ranges,”’ Leipold stated with the form of aw-shucks Midwestern perspective that ought to definitely resonate with the fan base. ”I do not know if I am overly flashy in a variety of other ways. I simply consider your work and the individuals you encompass your self in 30-plus years on this occupation, that form of builds your resume.”
The Jayhawks have tried the flashy rent (Miles and Charlie Weis are two examples) and it resulted in failure.
”We’re not trying within the rear-view mirror. We’re all about what’s out in entrance of us within the a lot bigger windshield,” stated Travis Goff, the brand new Kansas athletic director whose first order of enterprise was to rent the brand new head coach.
”We have the fitting man. There is not any query,” Goff stated, ”and that is primarily based on who he’s and that is primarily based on an unimaginable observe report of program-building and the care he has for the younger males he leads.”
Goff believes a lot in Leipold that he gave him a $16.5 million, six-year contract that pays him $2.2 million this season with annual $200,000 will increase. Leipold additionally would earn $50,000 for ending within the High 25, incomes Huge 12 coach of the yr or successful seven regular-season video games; $75,000 for reaching a sure educational benchmark; $100,000 only for qualifying for a bowl sport; and $500,000 if the Jayhawks would play for a nationwide title.
The contract, made public late Sunday, represents a considerable increase from the $624,300 he made every year at Buffalo.
Then once more, Leipold has a considerably greater job forward of him.
”We’ll keep within the second. We’ll discuss with our gamers, `Be the place you are toes are,”’ Leipold stated. ”We’ve to search out methods to get higher right here right now. That can translate. Once we get via the day by day strategy of enchancment and set up what we wish to be, the wins and losses will handle themselves.”