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Kansas hires Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold

Leipold won 37 games in six seasons at Buffalo, including the Bulls’ first two bowl victories in program history.

Dollar General Bowl - Buffalo v Troy Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold has accepted the same position at Kansas.

Athletic director Mark Alnutt released a statement Friday morning regarding Leipold’s departure:

“I can’t thank Lance enough for everything he has done for our football program. His vision and leadership helped elevate the UB football brand. We are grateful for what Lance has done here and we wish him and his family all the best as they embark on this new journey.”

Leipold spent six seasons as Buffalo’s head coach, finishing with a 37-33 record in his tenure. He led the Bulls to two MAC Championship Game appearances in the past three seasons and secured the team’s first 10-win season in program history in 2018. Leipold coached the first and second bowl wins in program history, winning the 2019 Bahamas Bowl and 2020 Camellia Bowl. Buffalo concluded 2020 with a No. 25 ranking in the final AP Poll to signify its first final appearance in the final Top 25 ever.

Buffalo hired Leipold away from his alma mater Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2015 after he claimed six Division III national championships in eight seasons at his previous stop.

Leipold walks into arguably the most challenging job in college football. Since Mark Mangino was fired in 2009, Kansas shuffled through five different coaches prior to Leipold’s hire without finding a hint of success:

  • 2010-11: Turner Gill, 5-19 (.208)
  • 2012-14: Charlie Weis, 6-22 (.214)
  • 2014: Clint Bowen, 1-7 (.125)
  • 2015-18: David Beaty, 6-42 (.125)
  • 2019-20: Les Miles, 3-18, (.143)

Not a single one of those six coaches finished with greater than six wins in his tenure. Kansas’ last season featuring more than three wins transpired in 2009, so Leipold will be tasked with some major reconstruction work in Lawrence, especially following the team’s 0-9 campaign in 2020. He replaces Les Miles, who was fired on March 8.

Leipold is the second Buffalo head coach to depart for Kansas in recent memory. Turner Gill, who led the Bulls to a MAC championship in 2008, left Upstate New York for the plains in 2010.

Kansas now hands its title as the only FBS program with a coaching vacancy on to Buffalo, which will venture into a late-offseason head coaching search. The Bulls will open their 2020 season at home against FCS opponent Wagner on September 4 under new leadership.