Jacob Meseke | sports editor
KU athletic officials announced a “home-run” hire for their football program.
Wabaunsee’s head football coach Jess Rutledge will lead the University of Kansas program into the future, the university announced on April 1.
KU parted ways with previous coach Les Miles after allegations of inappropriate behavior toward female students while coaching at LSU. He was also really bad at coaching, which was probably most of the reason the arrangement failed.
Rutledge is a Kansas State alum, but he said that wouldn’t be an issue as he approached his new team. “I went to Mission Valley and had no issues switching to our rival Wabaunsee.”
While hiring a high school coach may seem like an odd move for a division 1 football program, Rutledge’s record clearly qualifies him to lead the Jayhawks. Rutledge is coming off a season where Wabaunsee had its first playoff win in 36 years, while KU’s last bowl game was in 2008. Rutledge had more wins last season (4) than Les Miles (3) had during his entire run at KU. In his three seasons at Wabaunsee, Rutledge is 6-22. Miles was 3-18 in two seasons at KU. Rutledge and Wabaunsee’s 4 wins would have been KU’s best season since 2009.
With Rutledge having Mid-East League ties, recruiting in the state of Kansas will be easy. Rutledge has a plan to stop K-State from getting all the recruits from Kansas. “I think we can really create a Wabaunsee to KU pipeline. We have a lot of extra scholarships and I have to give them to someone,” Rutledge said.
Since Rutledge is a high school coach, KU won’t have to spend much money on him. This will help KU continue to pay recruits in basketball. Due to the low salary, Rutledge will continue coaching at WHS. “We play on Fridays, KU plays on Saturdays. I don’t think there will be any conflict.”
Rutledge has been a successful assistant as well, helping Wabaunsee’s boys basketball to a State Runner-up title. Rutledge said he will probably be the leading candidate for KU basketball when Bill Self is fired because of illegal activity as well.
Happy April Fools! The Charger will return next week with real news.