May 21, 2018 / 6:38 PM / 10 months ago

Kansas fires athletic director Zenger, spares football coach Beaty

Kansas fired athletic director Sheahon Zenger on Monday morning, with Chancellor Douglas A. Girod citing “elusive” progress in “key areas” in a letter posted online.

“Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership,” Girod wrote in his statement. “But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.”

Girod also stated he met with beleaguered football coach David Beaty on Monday, but rather than fire the coach, the chancellor said he “shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season.”

Deputy athletic director Sean Lester will serve as interim AD while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Drue Jennings, a Kansas alum who is credited with hiring basketball coach Bill Self while Jennings was Kansas’ interim AD in 2003, will lead the search this time.

Kansas hired Zenger in 2011 after he served nearly six years in the same role at Illinois State. While the basketball program has thrived in his tenure in Lawrence, winning the Big 12 each season and making two Final Fours, the Jayhawks football program has been among the worst in all of the FBS.

Kansas is just 12-72 since 2011, and Zenger’s first hire as football coach was Charlie Weis. The former Notre Dame coach was just 6-22 in what seemed like three disastrous seasons, but Beaty is just 3-33 in his three seasons thus far.

—Field Level Media

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