If you’ve been following KU Athletics for the past few months this should be no surprise. On Monday morning, May 21st, KU Chancellor Doug Girod announced the firing of Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger:
“Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership,” Girod announced, “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 appointed Zenger’s deputy, Sean Lester, to serve as interm Athletics Director during the transition and subsequent search for a new hire.
Zenger was hired in 2011. He replaced Law Perkins, the former AD commonly seen as the scapegoat of the post-Orange Bowl-post-Mangino collapse of the football program. He hired and fired Turner Gill and Charlie Weis, and then hired current head coach David Beaty in 2015.
“I want to thank Sheahon for his service during the past seven years. Under his leadership, student-athlete GPAs reached an all-time high. Rock Chalk Park, McCarthy Hall, and the DeBruce Center are lasting tributes to his efforts. Most importantly, he prioritized our student-athletes and represented KU with integrity and class.”
Recently Zenger had come under fire for his handling of KU Athletics finances, not to mention the historically bad performance of the football team, and a #fireZenger movement had grown among the fanbase over the years.
What does this mean for head football coach David Beaty? Zenger has continually propped him up despite a 3-33 overall record. To make matters worse, the team took a noticeable step back last season. Only time will tell if his job is secure under a new athletic director, but for now, his job appears to be safe.
“I spoke with Coach Beaty and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season.”