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Lance Leipold, Nebraska could be a match made in heaven
Kansas head football coach Lance Leipold is rumored to be in the running for the Nebraska head coach job. (Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Lance Leipold, Nebraska could be a match made in heaven

MILWAUKEE (BVM) — Coaching at any level can be difficult. But current Kansas head football coach Lance Leipold has found success at every stop he’s made. 

UW-Whitewater 

Before the 2007 football season, Leipold was hired by the UW-Whitewater Warhawks, his alma mater, as head football coach. From the jump, Leipold would have a significant amount of success. He led the Warhawks to a 14-1 overall record and made it to the Stag Bowl (DIII national championship), where they defeated Mount Union 31-21. It was evident that Leipold knew how to win, and he’d prove that in the following seasons.

Leipold would lead Whitewater to a 13-2 overall record in his second season, but the Warhawks fell short to Mount Union. But the next three seasons would be some of the best football Leipold would coach. From 2009-11, Leipold and the Warhawks didn’t lose a game. Winning three straight DIII national championships, Leipold etched Whitewater’s name into the history books by becoming the third DIII football team to win three or more titles in a row.

Leipold’s tenure as head coach ended after the 2014-15 season following another national title. Leipold finished with a career record of 109-6 (53-3 WIAC).

It was one of the best coaching careers at the DIII level, and other programs like the University of Buffalo started to notice.

Buffalo stint

Before Whitewater’s quarterfinal game against Wartburg in 2014, it was announced that Buffalo had agreed to hire Leipold. Whitewater had the longest winning streak in college football (29), and one could assume Leipold accomplished everything he could’ve at the DIII level. So, for those looking at the situation, it wouldn’t have been hard to blame him for the move. 

However, it could’ve been easily assumed that Leipold questioned the move after recording a combined record of 7-17 in his first two seasons (2015-16). Nevertheless, Leipold found his winning ways again and gradually improved in the following seasons (2017-18), going 16-10. Leipold also helped Buffalo capture its third division (MAC East) title in program history in 2018.

From 2019-20 Leipold and the Bulls would register an overall record of 14-6. During the 2020 season, Leipold led the Bulls to their first 6-1 start in program history, and the Bulls went on to finish the season as the No. 25 ranked team in the country.

Move to the Big 12

After five seasons in Buffalo, Leipold decided to try his hand in a Power 5 conference. However, he’d take over one of the worst football programs in the country at Kansas. The Jayhawks hadn’t won a football game for nearly two years, and the school called upon Leipold to end that drought. 

We conducted an extensive national search that was guided by feedback from many constituents, and this opportunity garnered interest from outstanding coaches across the country,” Kansas director of athletics Travis Goff said in a press release. “ Additionally, we owe our fans, donors and alumni a football program that will be built for sustained success. I am confident that is what we will provide under the leadership of Coach Leipold.”

In his first game for the Jayhawks, Leipold ended that drought as he helped lead his team to a 17-14 victory over South Dakota.

That wouldn’t be the only highlight of Leipold’s first season in the Big 12. He led the Jayhawks into Austin to face the Longhorns, where they took down Texas in overtime. It was just the second time Kansas defeated Texas since the Big 12 has existed.

Following his first year in the Big 12, Leipold has now helped lead the Jayhawks to a 3-0 start in 2022. It’s their best start in 13 years. Granted, there is still a lot of football to be played in Lawrence, but Leipold is now a name circulating among the blue bloods of college football.

Future

It has taken a while, but fans and certain media members are finally starting to recognize what a coach like Leipold can do for a program. With that comes speculation about where he might continue his coaching career. And one program seems to be coming up a lot lately: Nebraska

One could see why Leipold could be favored for the job. He was even an assistant for Nebraska, and for a coach to be familiar with a program is always an added bonus.

To go along with the familiarity of the program, Leipold’s buyout is only $5 million. It will drop to $4 million at the end of the season. It’s definitely something that Nebraska could afford to pay.

There’s little to no doubt that Leipold is one of the underrated college football coaches in the nation. But if he were to join Nebraska and bring it back into the national spotlight, he’d potentially go down as one of the greatest coaches of all time. But like any competitor, he’s taking it one day at a time and preparing to lead Kansas to its first bowl game since 2008.

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