Sunday, November 27, 2011
Gill's firing simple: Just not good enough
By David Ubben
Kansas decided on Sunday that Jayhawks coach Turner Gill wasn't good enough to earn a third year on his five-year, $10 million contract.
For all the recent controversial firings across the Big 12, this one was anything but. Simply put: Gill was far from good enough to earn another season at Kansas.
Fans turned apathetic and losses occasionally strayed from being embarrassing to painful, but Gill's tenure provided little hope that better times were on the way.
The numbers reveal plenty. Gill won just one Big 12 game in 17 tries over two seasons. In that one win, the Jayhawks erased a 45-17 fourth-quarter deficit at home against the Big 12's second-worst team, Colorado, and Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins was fired days later.
That's just not good enough.
Two years might not seem like a lot, but Gill didn't provide enough reason that he deserved more time. He didn't need to win more games to keep his job for 2012, but he needed to be competitive. Kansas didn't come close.
Making matters more difficult was that Gill was the sole stakeholder in his future. He was hired by athletic director Lew Perkins, who retired in September 2010 amid a ticket scandal. Perkins' replacement, Sheahon Zenger, had little reason to invest another season in Gill, and on Sunday made the call that Kansas fans were waiting for.
A program that won an Orange Bowl four years ago has been reduced to a Big 12 laughingstock, enduring six losses by at least 30 points during a 10-game losing streak that ended the 2011 season.
Only Kansas State scored fewer points in the Big 12 this year, but the Bill Snyder-coached Wildcats are 9-2 and beat Gill's Jayhawks 59-21.
Kansas ranked last in the FBS in total defense, giving up more than 516 yards per game and just fewer than 44 points per game to rank last in scoring defense, too.
Gill strategically redshirted almost his entire freshman class in 2010, electing to try to weather a difficult season in 2011 with a young, but more talented team.
It failed. Kansas was worse in 2011 than it was in 2010, and now, a new face will take over the talented youth that the Jayhawks have stocked on their roster.
There's no discounting Gill's character. He took criticism for banning players from Twitter and taking away their cellphones before games, but he's a man who truly cared about his players. They defended him throughout the struggles in 2011, but Gill's time at Kansas boiled down to one simple truth.
His team wasn't good enough.