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Lance Leipold extends contract with Kansas football to end Nebraska coaching speculation

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One of the football coaches long speculated to be a top contender for the Nebraska job is reportedly re-upping with his current school.

Kansas coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks have extended their pact two additional seasons through 2029 according to ESPN and other national outlets. This comes after he and KU added a year to his contract in September.

It’s unclear whether Leipold chose the restructured deal over potential overtures from the Huskers. What is clear is the man who built moribund Buffalo into a top-25 team is reshaping another longtime loser in Kansas which, at 6-5, is already headed for its first bowl game since 2008.

The traditional basketball school, which cracked the national football polls earlier in the season, is investing in its gridiron team through $300 million in facility changes announced in October. Leipold is a relative bargain in coaching salary, making $2.4 million this year in an escalating agreement that had him set to make $3.5 million at the end of his previous deal in 2027.

Leipold’s decision syncs with what he said at multiple points during the season. “We have no plans of going anywhere,” the 58-year-old said last month after saying in October that he and his wife, Kelly, “came to Lawrence, Kansas, not to move at this stage of our career.”

The Wisconsin native dominated the Division III ranks at Wisconsin-Whitewater, winning six championships in seven seasons and becoming the fastest coach in NCAA history to reach 100 career wins before making the jump to the FBS level in 2015. He also had strong ties to the state of Nebraska as an assistant at Nebraska-Omaha (1994-2000 and 2004-06) and as an administrative assistant with Frank Solich and the Huskers (2001-03).

Kansas plays Kansas State in both teams’ regular-season finale Saturday.

Leipold is the latest but not only potential Nebraska hire to recently earn a raise with his school. Kentucky’s Mark Stoops on Sunday landed an extension through 2031 and a boost in his base annual salary to $8.6 million plus incentives beginning in February.​

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Evan Bland covers Nebraska football, baseball and other sports for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @EvanBlandOWH.

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