Kansas University is on the prowl for a new athletic director. The position is vacant after the school announced the firing of Sheahon Zenger on Monday.
The move comes just one year into a contract extension of four years. That deal is worth $700,000 per year. Kansas is still scheduled to pay Zenger $1.4 million from the contract.
The school is citing a lack of progress as the main reason for termination. Chancellor Douglas Girod explains the move in a letter posted online.
Girod says Zenger helped the school’s athletic department improve in several areas. However, progress in critical areas continues to be, as Girod put it, elusive.
The letter also states that Girod and Zenger met on Monday morning, with the chancellor informing Zenger of the move.
Kansas Searching For New Athletic Director
Meanwhile, Sean Lester will serve as the interim athletic director. Lester currently serves as the deputy athletic director.
Drue Jennings, a Jayhawk alum, will head the search for the replacement AD. Jennings previously served as an interim athletic director at KU. He also led the hiring search that brought in head men’s basketball coach Bill Self.
The two most significant areas athletic departments look to succeed in are basketball and football. Kansas is a dominant force in the first area.
The Jayhawks are one of the NCAA’s best college basketball programs. Zenger saw the hoops program win the conference title every year and make two final fours in his tenure.
The football program, however, is a much different story. The KU football team is an uninspiring 12-72 in the last seven seasons. The team fell short of a bowl game berth in each of Zenger’s seasons as athletic director.
Coaches are a big part of athletic success as well. However, only one coach gets a mention in the letter from Girod.
That coach is head football coach David Beaty. Despite a paltry 3-33 record in three years, Beaty will get a fourth crack at his job. Without improvement in 2018, though, Kansas could have another opening soon.