Long explains Beaty decision, outlines coaching search in news conference

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) -- The University of Kansas announced Sunday that head football coach David Beaty will not return after the end of the 2018 season.

Now, a definitive coaching search cyle begins for KU athletic director Jeff Long.

"As I've routinely said, we will break the cycle," Long said in a press conference following the news.

Long, who is in his first year as athletic director, believed he was patient and thorough, but wants improvement from a program that's gone 2-31 in Big 12 play under Beaty.

"I did not see a path forward toward long-term success in the Big 12," Long added. "As I studied our football organization, it was clear to me that we needed to move forward in a different way."

But making this change in-season is something Long added usually hasn't been his way. He said the early signing date in December, new transfer regulations and lingering of Beaty's job status changed his mind.

"Speculation about his future was only going to continue," Long said. "Everyone was going to be swirling around the program. And I think, quite honestly, that would be more of a distraction.

"The process, you know, can take a couple weeks. And if we wait 'til after the season and then two more weeks after that, we're really close to that December recruiting time and we really put ourselves behind the eight ball."

Long said he wants someone with head coaching experience that doesn't have to learn on the job. But to help land that, he stressed a larger investment in more financial resources and staffing for Jayhawk football.

"It needs to be in the coaches," Long said. "It needs to be in the coaches' assistants. We're down, as we looked at estimates and surveyed our competitors, anywhere from eight to 13 to 15 from the average program in the country."

Maybe the biggest investment Long is seeking, though, is one from KU fans.

In Saturday's contest against Iowa State, visiting Cyclones fans took over David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium--and that didn't sit well with Long.

"I hope our fans saw that image," Long added. "I hope you show that image. Because they're going to be a part of the solution.

"This isn't done simply with dollars and cents. It isn't done simply with the right head coach. It's done with a fan base coming back, being passionately supportive of the young men in our program. And I know they've been waiting for a long time for a reason to believe. But all I'm asking them to do is invest in the front end."

To get the investment, he's going to need to hit this hire right on the money.