Archive for Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Kansas staff braces for changes

December 5, 2001


One of the themes early in the Mark Mangino era is new beginnings.

"We will work hard. We will roll up our sleeves," Mangino said Tuesday during a press conference to introduce him as Kansas University's new football coach. "There will be some bumps in the road, but we're going to stay the course. We're going to find young people that want to be a part of this program, make a commitment to it and the young people in this program right now are going to be excited about a new opportunity.

"The beauty of taking over a new program is that everybody gets a fresh start. I get a fresh start and each and every player on this team gets a fresh start."

The question is how many coaches will get a fresh start?

Mangino said Tuesday he's already begun assembling his staff and hopes to have some coaches in place by this weekend. He also said his staff could include coaches from his past as well as current KU aides.

"I'm glad it's worked out," KU defensive line coach Travis Jones said of the coaching search. "It's been a long process and it's very critical for our players that we secured this position. It's good for them. I believe our players will be receptive and I think they're just ready to have a head coach."

They weren't the only ones.

"I'm excited the search is over with," special teams coach Clint Bowen said, "and Kansas football can move forward, get back on track with recruiting and start building for the future."

Jones and Bowen both are completing their first seasons with the Jayhawks, as are linebackers coach Johnny Barr, defensive coordinator/secondary coach Tom Hayes, wide receivers coach Clarence James, offensive line coach Sam Pittman and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer.

Jones, for one, would love to remain with the Jayhawks.

"Lawrence is a nice place," Jones said. "KU is a really good school. This can be a really good program and I feel coach Mangino can get that done."

Mangino, who spent eight seasons up the road at Kansas State, also appreciates the allure of the area.

"I can't tell you how excited I am and what a privilege it is to be the head football coach at the University of Kansas," Mangino said. "As you all know, I've spent a lot of time in the Big 12 Conference and for me coming back to the state of Kansas is like coming back home."

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