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KU's commitment to the coach is a commitment to the players as well

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold inks updated contract, which includes a significant raise

4 min read
Kansas coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks wait to take the field before KU's home game against BYU during the 2023 season. [Chance Parker photo]

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold may have lost four assistants to other places this offseason, but the Jayhawks held on to their top guy.

In fact, KU Athletic Director Travis Goff on Wednesday announced an amended contract agreement between Leipold and Kansas Athletics that will pay Leipold an average of more than $7 million per year through the 2029 season.

While this is certainly big news for the Leipold family, it’s even bigger news for Kansas football players, current and future.

The university’s commitment to Leipold — as well as their commitment to providing him the resources he needs to compensate his coaching staff at the level he likes — is the ultimate investment in the players.

Those who come to KU and are here now can plant roots in Lawrence and believe that KU is wholly committed to elevating its football brand in all ways.

That starts with the commitment to the coach and his culture, but it extends well beyond that, with the athletes reaping rewards, as well, in the form of the major stadium renovation project and the recently completed new locker room and weight room as well as other upgrades to the Anderson Family Football Complex that are on the way.

In announcing the new contract, Goff called it the latest sign of KU being “unwavering in its commitment to building a championship-caliber football program for the long haul.”

Goff elaborated on Thursday during a news conference on KU's campus, where he talked about what the department's efforts to finalize Leipold's new contract represent.

“It is about, we think, the best head coach for the University of Kansas. It is about investing in longevity and continuity in that staff. It’s certainly about our commitment to the young men in the program," Goff said. "What’s best for Kansas football is gonna be what’s best for the student-athletes in the program.” 

Leipold may be the face of that commitment, but it’s his commitment to his players, and theirs to him, that has this thing rolling.

The results of his efforts are undeniable. KU won nine games a season ago and reached a bowl game for the second season in a row, winning the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in December.

Beyond that, the dramatic increase in interest in the football program has helped university enrollment and also led to historic runs on the recruiting trail.

It’s those things, as much as the record and national rankings, that have Goff as excited about the future of Kansas football as he is and as bullish about doubling down — or is it tripling? — on his commitment to Leipold as the leader of the program.

“Winning nine games and earning a bowl trophy is an incredible accomplishment,” Goff said in the release. “But we are equally proud of the team for earning the highest grade-point average in program history (3.16 in the fall of 2023). Every aspect of our program is on an unprecedented positive trajectory, and we are eager to continue this prodigious build with Lance.”

On Thursday, Goff added: “The kind of continuity and the kind of culture that’s been built there has transformed young men and that’s something I know we’re all profoundly proud of.” 

Since Leipold took over in the spring of 2021, KU has gone 17-21 overall, with back-to-back bowl appearances, a bowl victory, six weeks in the national polls and a debut appearance in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Attendance is way up, with ESPN’s College GameDay and FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff coming to town, and KU has rewarded those who have come to watch with a 9-4 record during the past two seasons. That’s two more home wins than the program had in the previous six seasons combined.

In addition, the Jayhawks’ early signing class from the Class of 2023 was the highest-rated class in program history.

"We are incredibly proud of what our football program has accomplished over the first three seasons in Lawrence,” Leipold said in the news release announcing the new contract. “And (we) look forward to the continued challenge of bringing a consistent winner and championship home to the University of Kansas.”

Doing that, Goff said Thursday, has an impact that reaches well beyond the walls of the football facility or KU's athletic department.

“It is absolutely about (all) 500 student-athletes (at KU), as well," he said. "And I think that’s arguably the headline and the storyline around this transformation of football at the University of Kansas.” 

View Leipold's complete updated contract below ⬇️

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