Kansas football coach Glen Mason wants to set the record straight.
"I'm very happy here," Mason stressed on Friday. "I'm very optimistic and enthusiastic about next season. I think we've made great strides. And I'm very happy working for Bob Frederick and Gene Budig."
Mason was responding to rumors this week linking him to the Purdue head coaching vacancy. Several Indiana media outlets mentioned the Kansas coach as a possible successor to Fred Akers.
"I don't know how these things start," Mason said. "One day they're saying I'll be interviewed on Thursday, and they name the new coach the same day."
Purdue named Ohio State aide Jim Colletto to the post on Thursday morning.
NO ONE at Purdue ever contacted Mason or KU athletic director Bob Frederick, but Mason's name surfaced nonetheless.
"I think it's meaningless," Mason said about the Purdue rumors. "I also think the perception that Glen Mason is looking to leave the University of Kansas is harmful."
Mainly harmful in recruiting, he said.
"They've been saying I'm leaving for the last couple of years, ridiculous as that sounds," Mason stated. "They've been saying that because they say that's what everybody does at Kansas."
Actually, only two Kansas head coaches in the last 20 years Pepper Rodgers and Mike Gottfried have used the KU job as a springboard to another job. The others were fired.
Mason also bristles at the notion it's a feather in any coach's cap to be mentioned for another job.
"I don't want that kind of compliment," Mason said. "I don't want my name in the rumor mill."
MASON HAS won only eight games in his three years on Mount Oread, but he's rebuilt the program to the point where he was able to red-shirt 17 freshmen last season.
One of those freshman red-shirts, offensive lineman Khristopher Booth, was shot and wounded in an off-campus incident early Friday morning. Booth wasn't seriously injured after he intervened in an altercation at a local nightspot.
"I've got 100 guys to worry about," Mason said. "That's what makes my job unique at the university level. I have a close relationship with all those kids. I worry about 'em as much as my own kids."
Booth, a 6-4, 297-pounder from Detroit, figures in the Jayhawks' plans next season.
"We think he's a good football player," Mason said. "We think he can be a darned good offensive lineman."
KU FOOTBALL NOTES
Eight recruits are scheduled to visit the campus this weekend. Mason says he'll award 22 or 23 scholarships, holding two or three back for walk-ons. One walk-on likely to receive a grant is freshman tight end Pete Vang. . .
Tight end Chad Fette, who missed the last three games with a heart defect, is scheduled to undergo a corrective surgical procedure later this month in Oklahoma City. "That's good news," Mason said. . .
Jim Hilles, Mason's defensive co-ordinator for the last three years, has left the staff. Hilles, a former head coach at Wisconsin, was also Mason's defensive co-ordinator at Kent State in 1987. . .