All along, Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has said that he will do his due diligence in selecting the next head coach to lead the Jayhawk football program. He’s even solicited the services of former Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to aid in the process.
However, following Kansas’ convincing 34-14 win against Iowa State, Saturday at Memorial Stadium, if you ask the players, Zenger need stop looking. If it were up to them, the solution is simple, just simply removed the interim tag from Clint Bowen and make his dream job truly a reality.
“I would love nothing more than for him to be the guy full time,” quarterback Michael Cummings said. “Him as a coach, he is enthusiastic, he’s a former player so he knows what we go through day-in and day-out. I think he is a great leader.”
The players so badly wanted to win the game for Bowen, who has brought life back into the program. Students and fans chanted his name in the waning minutes of Saturday’s game. Then, as the game near its end, the players led by senior captain Ben Heeney dumped a bucket of fittingly, blue Gatorade on Bowen, a man that bleeds crimson and blue.
Following the game, Heeney presented Bowen with the game ball following his first win as Kansas coach. The players then jumped around and mobbed the emotional coach.
“Basically just his past,” running back Tony Pierson said. “When we look at Coach Bowen we see KU all over him, so everybody goes out in practice and in the game and play our hardest for that man.”
Following the game, it seemed as if every player made available to the media was quick to let anyone who would listen know that Bowen is their man.
“I’m all for Coach Bowen, we all want him to be the guy,” tight end Jimmay Mundine said. “Everyone loves him, everyone wants to play for him. He’s just a guy that you feel you can give your all for.”
Naturally, Bowen downplayed it all following the game, choosing to focus on the players, assistant coaches and people that help make up the Kansas football program. He referred to the win as a program win, rather than a case for the full time job.
Still, the players voices were loud and clear, none louder than the soon to depart Heeney who will take the Memorial Stadium field one final time next week against TCU. If it were up to him, Zenger’s decision should be an easy one and it’s the sole motivator to go out and earn more wins as the season nears its end.
“I think it should be 100 percent, I mean we’re all behind him,” Heeney said. “Our entire team feels like he should be the guy and want him to be the guy. There’s not a guy in the United States of America who loves Jayhawk Nation more than him and even though I’m not going to be here next year, I’d love him to be the head coach permanently.