The Athletic names KU's Lance Leipold top-3 head coach in the country

Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV
Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Lance Leipold has made an impact at Kansas like no one could have predicted in a short amount of time. But although the quick turnaround was unexpected, it is not going unrecognized.

Two well-respected college football writers from The Athletic recently named Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold as a top-3 head coach in the country.

Bruce Feldman listed Leipold as his No. 3 head coach behind only Kirby Smart (Georgia) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).

“The guy is a wizard,” Feldman said. “He’s turned Kansas into a Top 25 football program after several horrific years … The biggest winner in this year’s coaching carousel may be Kansas because Leipold is still coaching there and just signed a new deal.”

Leipold was previously listed as the No. 10 head coach in the country according to Feldman’s 2023 rankings.

The Athletic’s editor-in-chief Stewart Mandel went a step further and ranked Leipold as the No. 2 head coach in the country following an impressive third season.

“Kansas was the nation’s worst Power 5 program for more than a decade,” Mandel said. “Then Leipold arrived … It’s one of the sport’s all-time great rebuilding jobs, by a man who previously led Buffalo to the only 10-win season in school history. He won six Division III national titles before that.”

Mandel previously had Leipold ranked as the No. 11 head coach in the country in his 2023 rankings.

In just three short seasons, Leipold has led the program to its first bowl victory since 2008. He’s led the Jayhawks to back-to-back bowl appearances, which has only happened once before in school history. He’s guided the program to its first-ever win over Texas in Austin, its first-ever win over West Virginia in Morgantown, and the first win against Oklahoma since 1997.

He’s also helped KU earn a top-25 ranking for the first time in more than a decade and is a big reason why the school was able to host ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time in 2022.

The list of his accomplishments goes on, but it’s clear that Leipold is not only making his mark in Lawrence, but across all of college football.

He and this Kansas football program are on the rise like never before.