KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Danny Manning, the former Kansas basketball All-America and former Wake Forest head coach, is interested in becoming the Jayhawks’ next athletics director.
“I think my love and passion for KU is utmost,” Manning, 54, said in a phone interview with the Kansas City Star on Wednesday. “I know my experiences in the coaching profession, in student-athlete development, in ops (operations), and in relationship building have been (qualities) shown.
“I’ve always said I never wanted to be the smartest guy in the room, I wanted to be the best listener,” Manning added. “(As AD) you are CEO, but you need to delegate to people and do it well.”
Manning, a Greensboro, N.C., native and former Page High School star, was fired in April 2020 after six seasons at Wake Forest and after his teams compiled an overall record of 78-111. The Demon Deacons were 30-80 in the ACC and never finished better than 10th place in the ACC.
Kansas is in the market for an athletics director after Wednesday’s announcement that Jeff Long is out after barely making it halfway through his five-year contract that pays him $1.5 million annually.
“In this situation,” Manning said, “there needs to be, in my estimation, some KU ties that need to be incorporated through the mix. That’s my feeling in what I’ve seen and how I view it. That’s how I feel. I feel that it (his hiring) could bring about good will and uplifting times for Jayhawk nation.”
Manning, who has been working for ESPN since being fired at Wake Forest, said “absolutely” when asked whether he would be able to hire an outstanding football coach. Les Miles is also out after two seasons on the job.
“You use a search firm and things of that nature and go from there,” said Manning.
Manning, who played in the NBA 15 years, worked for current Kansas coach Bill Self, first as director of student-athlete development, then assistant coach. He has a 2008 NCAA title ring as a member of the coaching staff. As a player, he led Kansas to the 1988 NCAA title. He’s also been head men’s basketball coach at Tulsa.
“I talk to Coach all the time. We have conversations, absolutely,” said Manning, who lives in Lenexa, Kan.
Of the turmoil at Kansas of late, Manning said: “It’s tough. I do know Kansas will stand the test of time eventually.”
Manning said he “has had people reach out to me but not anything where I’m speaking with the chancellor, none of that. I have received calls about (his) interest.”
Manning concluded by saying: “I’ve been involved in athletics a long time. It’s unpredictable. Would I be interested in being the next AD at Kansas or next leadership group? Absolutely.”