Sophomore Ben Kautz applies for football head coach job
Since the recent relieving of Kyle Flood as head coach of the Rutgers football team, the University has been on the search to find someone to fill the position.
A couple of names have been thrown around, including former coach Greg Schiano, or Western Michigan University coach P.J. Fleck, but today a new name was heard — Ben Kautz.
Ben Kautz, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, hopes to transfer into the Rutgers Business School. Kautz applied to fill Flood’s spot on a whim.
“Honestly, I thought it would be funny at the time,” he said. “I never thought it would get the traction it did. I just thought I would get a response and it would be funny, and that’s it.”
Kautz sent in his application to Senior Associate Athletic Director Geoff Brown, who “passed it along.” Brown said Kautz has his support, according to a screenshot of his email posted on Kautz’s Twitter page.
“Me and my agent are ready to negotiate the contract,” Kautz said.
After Flood’s 26-23 cumulative record since 2012, he was fired from his job. His coaching was not the caliber needed, Kautz said.
“(Flood is a) great guy, extremely nice and does good charitable work,” he said. “(He) struggled with recruiting, and struggled against the big schools. He would be a great assistant coach though, you can’t take anything away from him.”
There are “plenty of good reasons” that he would be the best person to fill Flood’s spot, most notably for his 58-11 record as a youth basketball coach and his skill in video games related to football, he said.
He claims to have a “great Chip Kelly-esque offensive scheme,” and has “declined job offers from places like Alabama during (his) tenure at Rutgers” in the Madden video game, according to a screenshot of Kautz's resume posted on Twitter.
Kautz also believes his youth comes very much into play, and as a 19-year-old coach, he would be able to relate to players and recruits easily.
“I think my assistant coaches will bring some age and experience which will help to close the age-gap,” he said.
Although Kautz has an extensive resume, some say it may not be feasible for him to be a head coach.
“I think he’s just passionate about his school. Obviously, you can’t have someone head coaching a Power Five conference at the age of 19," said Scooter Mullin, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. "Although, I believe if he gets the opportunity to help at a graduate assistant level position, I don’t see why not — he has a lot to learn."
Kautz has already started thinking about what he would do as Rutgers’ next head coach, and he wants to get things started right away.
“I will go visit top recruits and get them to commit to Rutgers, starting with Rashan Gary and Kareem Walker,” he said.
He also believes that a major difference between Rutgers and other major universities is the investment put into the athletic department. Rutgers has difficulties with this, but by spending the money on a great head coach, such as himself, he would turn the program around, he said.
“(Other schools) all spend money and invest in the athletic department, and as a result their athletics make large profits. With the New York media here, we have a great opportunity,” he said.
As the #Kautz4Coach campaign picks up, he already has several endorsements, including Matt Panconi, a Rutgers Business School senior and president of the Rutgers University Student Assembly.
After speaking with Kautz on the phone, Panconi was impressed by his leadership, particularly impressed by his success in Madden.
“In all seriousness, I just hope this (has) given Rutgers football some good publicity,” Kautz said. “An interview for the job with the new (athletic director) would be pretty cool. While I would certainly prefer to be the head coach, any position with this team would be a dream come true. I love this school, and would love to represent it on the Rutgers coaching staff."