Emmett Jones to Serve as Kansas Interim Football Coach After Les Miles' Firing

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 11, 2021

TCU and Kansas play during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Lawrence, Kan. TCU won the game 20-6. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The University of Kansas announced wide receivers coach Emmett Jones will serve as interim head coach of the football team following the firings of Les Miles and athletic director Jeff Long earlier this week. 

Kansas Football @KU_Football

Ready to work 💪 Emmett Jones will serve as our interim head coach. More | https://t.co/WnyMFcGI2X #RockChalk x #kufball https://t.co/vvb74OJzMw

Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod announced booster Kurt Watson would serve as interim AD while Girod searches for a full-time replacement. The chancellor further expressed his desire for the next athletic director to hire a new full-time football coach in a statement released Thursday. 

“I am incredibly grateful to Chancellor Girod and Mr. Watson for the opportunity to lead this program during a critical time of change,” Jones said in a statement. “Since arriving here, I have developed a deep love of this program and university, and it is an honor to be named interim head coach. I will rely on our talented assistant coaches, as well as Ben Iannacchione and the strength and conditioning staff to guide our student-athletes and be there for them on and off the field.”

Jones, 46, is entering his fourth year at KU after serving as the head of player development and wideouts coach at Texas Tech from 2015-18. 

The move follows a public campaign by multiple KU football players to install Jones as head coach for the time being. 

Luke Grimm @lukegrimm25

Y’all know what to do✍️📃 #HC https://t.co/5Alfr1kCKw

De’Kedrick Sterns @DekedrickSterns

As a player at KU we need a coach in office right now that knows the players and has a relationship with the players‼️‼️ @KU_EJones

KJ @kwamie_lassiter

Put Jones in that spot and LETS GET TO IT!

JB1🌐 @jacobeebryant33


The new coach certainly has his work cut out for him this offseason. Kansas is coming off an 0-9 season and  lost multiple assistant coaches to other schools in the weeks leading up to Miles' firing. However, Jones was considered as important a member of KU's coaching staff as anyone else even before then.

The Dallas native took the lead on recruiting four-star wideout Quaydarius Davis, helping the Jayhawks ink their highest-rated recruit in program history despite competing offers from Texas, Alabama and Arkansas.

Davis played for the same Skyline High School team Jones served as offensive coordinator for from 2006-2013, and his ties to the area have already paid dividends. 

Said Watson:

“Chancellor Girod and I discussed what was in the best interest of our student-athletes, and we came to the conclusion that Emmett Jones is the best man to fill the role of interim head coach. This afternoon, I met with the four individuals we considered for this role including Emmett, D.J. Eliot, Joshua Eargle and Mike DeBord, as well as our entire coaching staff and team to inform them of this decision. Emmett’s relationship with our football student-athletes is vital as we venture through this time of transition within our football program and athletics department. I am confident in his abilities to ensure this program functions at a high level in preparation for the 2021 season.”

This will be just the second time in Jones' career he's served as head coach and his first time doing so in the college ranks. Jones was head coach at South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas from 2012-2014 before joining the Red Raiders.