Q&A: David Beaty on the plan for Kansas

David Beaty’s first daunting task as Kansas' coach? Answering all of his texts.

By the time Beaty was introduced as the new leader of the Jayhawks last Monday, his cell phone had more than 1,200 unread messages. How does he chip away at an inbox that big?

“This is kind of embarrassing,” Beaty said last week, “but what I do, starting around midnight or 1 a.m. when my night’s over with visits and everything, I lay down on that bed and go as long as I can. One night, it was 3:45. ... One night it was 4:15. Last night, I think I saw 4:45.”

The outpouring of support from coaches, former players, friends and family since he took over at KU has been overwhelming. Beaty is busy building a staff and a recruiting class, but not too busy to answer those messages.

“I just hate for those people I return those messages to late at night,” he said. “They get the message at 2:50 in the morning and I’m hoping I’m not waking them up.”

Between all those obligations, Beaty found time – during an afternoon, thankfully – to chat with ESPN.com about his rise and his vision for Kansas.

You were coaching high school ball in 2005. Did you think it would go this fast?

No. The way my wife and I have approached this career is, we’ve said we’re all-in. This is what we do. We knew that requires a lot of sacrifices on our family’s part, and our little girls sacrifice every day for our players and program. But we’ve always said we’re going to keep our head down and work as hard as we can where we’re at with what we’ve got. Anything that happens from there needs to be a byproduct of that. We believe God will open the right door at the right time. He’s always been loyal to us in that way. He’s always put us where he wanted us. We’re proud of the way we’ve done it.

Beyond your past relationship, why is Kansas the right job at the right time?

I think it was the right job at the right time for both sides for a lot of reasons. No. 1: For me, it was time. If there was a time in my career when I was ready to get in the head coaching business and have my own program, I felt like I’d done everything I needed to do to be prepared for the opportunity. I think KU for a lot of reasons.

The landscape of our region and the jobs that are changing hands right now – you’re talking about Tulsa, SMU, Houston, Kansas – are all very similar schools in a lot of ways for the type of kids they recruit. Quite honestly, if you look at who’s being hired at Tulsa, Philip Montgomery is a former Texas high school football coach with ties throughout the country. I ran into Chad Morris the other day, that’s a Texas high school football coach with ties. Those were, in my opinion, very good hires. People want to help them. They see themselves as high school coaches. Same thing with us. If we want to go into Texas and Oklahoma, we’ve got to have people on our staffs that are those people and came up that way. They want to help you and see you as people they can trust.

Speaking of people you trust, you retained Clint Bowen. How impressed were you by how he ran the program?

He’s one of the finest coaches in the country. It was a no-brainer when we got the job. Here’s the deal: Clint and I, we travel together in the summer on vacations with our families. We’re tight. He knows I have an enormous amount of respect for him and he has enormous respect for me. It was a foregone conclusion. He knew I wanted him to stay. I think if he got the job, he would’ve asked me to come. We’re comfortable with one another. We trust one another. We know that both of us love this game and are going to be tireless studiers and we’re going to work our tail off and do everything to make sure our kids are taken care of.

You’re going to hear this question a lot: How do you win at Kansas?

I think it’s real simple. ... You work hard and you earn everything. You earn playing time, we earn respect throughout the media, we earn respect throughout the state and in our own backyard, the city of Lawrence, the Kansas City area by making sure we take those great players and make sure they stay at home. Our players do it through hard work and earning everything. They’re going to work their tails off in that room we started our first meeting in, our weight room. That’s where championships are won. In weight rooms and practice fields, working your craft. We’re going to work, work, work and we’re going to expect nothing and earn everything.

You signed 5-stars at Texas A&M, yet some of your most successful receivers were underrated recruits. How can that pay off at KU?

The thing about it is, there’s so many good players out there and the media can only write about so many of them. That’s such a good deal nowadays for the player that doesn’t get all the accolades. Those guys play with a chip on their shoulder. When they come in, they’ve got something to prove and they work a little harder. Honestly, I think it’s an advantage. They have a hard edge about them and want to prove people wrong. They’re even easier to work with because they’re not entitled and don’t believe they should be given something. They go out there and flat-out take it. That’s what Josh Reynolds has done. Travis Labhart, Boone Niederhofer, Malcome Kennedy, those guys have done that.

I know you want to win right away, but do you get the sense KU’s administrators will be patient and give you time to build this up the right way?

I have no doubt. We understand that excellence is a process, not an event. You don’t wake up and be a nationally prominent program. It doesn’t work that way. National prominence, in my opinion, is done over time. ... It’s not just one year; we don’t want to be good one year. We want to be good every year and develop a program that literally takes over, stands for itself and is worth 10 wins a year. Now that’s a challenge. Trying to get there is hard. But when you have a plan and you believe in that plan, you’ve got a chance.