Kansas rewards Lance Leipold with a contract extension until 29

The University of Kansas and head football coach Lance Liebold have agreed to terms for a new contract that includes an extension through the 2029 season, sources tell ESPN.

Leipold, 58, revitalized the Jayhawks program in only his second season in Lawrence, leading Kansas to a 6-5 record and first bowl game since the 2008 season. This is Leipold’s second extension of the season. The school announced its extension through the 2027 season in September.

The commitment to Leipold, who was averaging $2.75 million annually in his initial six-year deal when hired in 2021, is an indication of Kansas increasing commitment to investing in football. In October, the school announced a project to repair the playground and other improvements to the facilities that is expected to cost more than $300 million.

The deal was also structured to keep Leibold in Lawrence for the long term. His name has been associated with open jobs in both Nebraska and Wisconsin.

The Kansas facility improvement announcement came before the Jayhawks hosted TCU for an appearance on ESPN’s “College GameDay” in October, the first time the show had visited Lawrence. Kansas started this season 5-0, with a star quarterback Gallon Daniels She emerged as an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy. The Jayhawks won road games against West Virginia and Houston and at home against Duke and Iowa State, resulting in the school’s first national ranking since 2009.

Leibold wasn’t hired by Kansas until late April of last season, inheriting the mess left by former head coach Les Miles, who went 3-18 in two seasons. In Leibold’s first year of 2021, he composed a feature victory with an overtime upset of Texas in Austin. Kansas was the 31-point underdog in that game, which snapped a 56-game conference road losing streak. Perhaps most importantly, the win gave a boost to a program that had long been entrenched in the Big 12 cellar and gave Leipold instant credibility to the program.

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Since reaching the Insight Bowl and Orange Bowl in back-to-back seasons, in 2007 and 2008, Kansas football has turned into one of the laughing stock of the sport. None of the four coaches since Mark Mangino’s dismissal in 2009—Turner Gill, Charlie Wess, David Petty, and Miles—have had a winning record or lasted more than four years.

Leipold emerged as an early candidate for Nationals Coach of the Year in 2022, though those expectations were dampened after Daniels was injured in the home loss to TCU and the Jayhawks lost three straight. Kansas then beat No. 18 Oklahoma State to clinch bowl eligibility.

Leipold won six Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater national titles, going 109-6 before taking over at Buffalo in 2015. He led the Bulls to three championship appearances and two bowl victories in six seasons.

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