Scott Fuchs: The Power of Relationships
When members of the media asked Andy Kotelnicki, Kansas’ new offensive coordinator, about the importance of the offensive line coach, he said: “The O-Line coach, in any system, is a critical part of [the football team], probably the most critical to be honest with you.”
Scott Fuchs, the new offensive line coach at Kansas, is the one who is now tasked with forging this ‘critical part’ into a game-winning unit.
Kansas is the 11th stop for Fuchs, making it his 9th stint as an offensive line coach. While KU is his first Power Five school, he has coached programs at the NAIA, Division III, Division II, Division I-FCS, and Group of Five levels.
From winning national titles at North Dakota State to being at the helm of a program’s final season, Fuchs has experienced it all.
These experiences have taught him many valuable lessons. One lesson he emphasizes a lot is “that in coaching, relationships really are the most important thing.”
Connecting with Lance Leipold
At every stop of his career, Coach Fuchs has developed meaningful relationships with coaches and players alike. “Your relationships with other coaches in the profession provide a lot of support because we all experience the same struggles, the same highs, and the same lows,” said Fuchs. “No matter where my career took me, I always focused on building strong relationships with the people there. It’s no surprise that I found a lot of my best friends through football. Just establishing these bonds over the years definitely turned me into a better coach.”
One relationship, in particular, that has had a significant impact on Fuchs’ journey started back in 2003 at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Coach Fuchs led the offensive line, and now KU head football coach, Lance Leipold, was the offensive coordinator. It was the first time the professional paths of Leipold and Fuchs have crossed—almost 13 years later, the two reunited at the University of Buffalo.
When Coach Fuchs found himself “itching” for an opportunity to grow and learn after ten seasons working for Craig Bohl at North Dakota State University and Wyoming, the relationship he had maintained with Coach Leipold made the decision to go to Buffalo extremely easy. “Lance and I stayed in touch throughout the years,” Fuchs said. “Knowing who he is and what he stands for obviously helped with the decision.”
While leaving Wyoming to join Leipold in Buffalo was an easy decision, it still required some soul-searching before eventually accepting. The move to follow Leipold to Kansas, however, was a “no-brainer”, according to Fuchs.
Reconnecting with the Midwest
Not only is he excited about rebuilding a program in the Big 12, as a family man, the location played an important role as well. “I don’t think there’s anything easier than getting back to the Midwest,” said Fuchs.
His wife Emily, and their three boys Hank, Jack, and Gus are all enthusiastic about the move. “My wife’s family is about four and a half hours from here. My family is still in North Dakota, so we’re closer that way also. For our boys, being closer to extended family is something that they’re pretty excited about, too.”
Beyond the proximity to his extended family and existing relationships, Fuchs points out the importance of just being in the Midwest. “The experience my wife and I had growing up in the Midwest was something special, and we’re grateful that we’ll get to share it with [our sons] now. It means a lot to us.”
As Coach Fuchs settles in his new office in Lawrence, he shares his thoughts on this new opportunity. “To be on the ground level of anything is always something special,” he said. “There’s going to be long, hard days, and the result of your work may not always be reflected on the scoreboard. But every opportunity is a learning opportunity. And you continue to move forward, and you continue to press the culture.”
Coach Fuchs is determined to help these young men do the right things on and off the field.
Now, it’s time to build the relationships with the ‘most critical part’ of a football team—the offensive line.
Read more on Jayhawks Extra: