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Kansas Jayhawks Coaching Carousel: Three Key Changes for Lance Leipold's Crew


Kansas Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold
© Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY NETWORK


The Kansas Jayhawks have had a few coaching changes over the past few weeks that have left the program with a new look going into the 2024-25 football season. Coaches leaving, coaches coming in, coaches being promoted, and everything in between has happened, so let's break it down.





Jeff Grimes Replaces Andy Kotelnicki as Kansas Jayhawks Associate Head Coach and Co-Offensive Coordinator

Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski will have a new partner to direct the dynamic Kansas offense with former Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. Grimes spent 2018-2020 with BYU as offensive coordinator before moving to Baylor for the same position, as well as, tight ends coach to start the 2021 season. Grimes will bring an "attacking-style, physical offense" according to the Topeka Capital-Journal's Jordan Guskey, and brings plenty of accolades to the table. He won the Big 12 conference title with the Bears in his first year as OC and has been named a Broyles Award finalist twice. He is a great replacement for the aforementioned Kotelnicki, who has taken his versatile and dynamic schemes to State College, Pennsylvania, and the Penn State Nittany Lions. You can read more on that here at College Football Dawgs.





DK McDonald Replaces Jordan Peterson as Defensive Backs Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator

The second coaching change made for the Jayhawks came after former defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator Jordan Peterson left for Texas A&M for the same position. The Aggies offered Peterson the senior assistant defensive coaching position on January 20th of 2024, and he accepted it due to his roots in College Station, being a graduate assistant for the Aggies in 2010 and 2011. Peterson was a key recruiter for the Jayhawks, landing many big-ticket pieces for the Jayhawks throughout his tenure, including up to this year with recruits like EDGE Deshawn Warner and Dak Brinkley. The Jayhawks were quick to act though in hiring his replacement with former Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach DK McDonald. McDonald spent 3 years with the Eagles, making a Super Bowl and coaching one of the better secondaries in the NFL during the 2022-23 season. Before the Eagles, McDonald was passing game coordinator at Iowa State, Toledo, and William and Mary. Bringing down someone from the NFL is a 'huge get' for Leipold's staff and is a testament to what he's doing for this program, especially when you can pull one of the better assistant coaches in the league like McDonald. Huge hire for the Jayhawks that will pay dividends with the likes of Cobee Bryant and Mello Dotson leading a well-seasoned Jayhawks secondary.





Scott Fuchs Reportedly Out as Kansas Jayhawks Offensive Line Coach, Elevating to the NFL's Tennessee Titans. Daryl Agpalsa in as replacement.

The NFL giveth and the NFL taketh away as another key recruiter leaves. Scott Fuchs, now former Jayhawks offensive line coach and another great recruiter for Kansas, is reportedly taking his talents to the NFL. Fuchs is set to be named an offensive analyst for the Tennessee Titans' new coaching regime. While this is still just being reported from multiple sources and nothing has been set in stone yet, sources from both Kansas and the Titans say the deal is imminent. Fuchs developed many key pieces along the Jayhawk offensive line like Mike Novitsky and Dominick Puni and was one of the coaches that followed Lance Leipold from Buffalo to Kansas. Fuchs and Leipold had a great relationship throughout Fuchs's collegiate tenure, however when an opportunity to coach at the next level comes, most of the time guys are going to take it. It's a tough loss too, as Fuchs was another big piece in Jayhawk recruiting, being instrumental in getting guys like Jalon Daniels, Mike Novitsky, Daniel Hishaw, Jr., and other key pieces to this Jayhawk offense to buy in. Per Pete Thamel of ESPN, as of February 20th of 2024, Kansas is expected to hire former Northern Illinois assistant Daryl Agpalsa to replace Fuchs, who worked with Leipold at Wisconsin-Whitewater and Buffalo between 2012 and 2018. A faithful member of the Leipold coaching tree, he'll fit in well with the system and have great chemistry already with the staff.





Forecast for the Jayhawks

Losing guys like Jordan Peterson and Scott Fuchs is tough for a team that is up-and-coming and quickly becoming a contender like the Jayhawks. You're losing two guys who were instrumental in getting some of the best talent this program has seen perhaps ever, however, Lance Leipold has shown he can very easily replace talent. With the hiring of DK McDonald as well as the promotion of Jim Zebrowski, who showed off his talents in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl win, things aren't necessarily looking dire or even bad for the Jayhawks. They still have a ton of experience returning, their best recruiting class ever coming in this year, and a weaker Big 12 to go up against. They are still in prime position to be a contender for the conference title this coming year and will have the staff that will get them there. Retention is still the name of the game though, and you don't want to risk losing any players or recruits because of the loss of these coaching changes. Tread carefully, but don't fret too much. There's a saying that many Jayhawk alum use in times of stress, a saying coined by the Kansas X/Twitter account @gifhawk2. "We good? We good."






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