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Archive for Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Jayhawks anticipated coaching change

May 21, 2002

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Back-to-back finishes at the bottom of the Big 12 Conference led to constant speculation about coach Bobby Randall's job security.

"With the way things have been going the last couple years," sophomore co-captain Ryan Baty said, "we anticipated something would happen, but we tried not to think about it too much."

Randall ended the rumors Monday, resigning after seven seasons.

Randall told his players of his decision after their dinner on the bus ride home Sunday from Manhattan where the Jayhawks dropped a season-ending twinbill.

"He most definitely wanted us to hear it from him," Baty said. "Things didn't go the way he planned and the way he worked for, but what really characterizes him as a coach and a person is how much he cares. He cares about the game and the people he works with and, most of all, he cares about his players."

Junior co-captain Casey Spanish started the season 4-for-48, but finished with a .291 average. He credits Randall for the turnaround.

"It's a tough one to swallow," Spanish said, "because for three years he's been my coach and he's taught me so many things and I've gotten to be a better player under him."

Oklahoma University coach Larry Cochell said he felt badly for Randall.

"He's a very close friend and I think an outstanding coach," Cochell said.

"I don't know why it didn't work there, but I can tell you about seven or eight years ago they asked five of us coaches who had been around for a long time the five coaches that you fear coaching against most. Bobby was at Iowa State, and I had him as one of those five."

Cochell, who has spent 11 years in the Big Eight and now the Big 12, said the addition of four Texas schools has made it tougher on the old Big Eight schools to succeed.

"I think it's a much more difficult league," he said. "We're competing against the four Texas schools that have better facilities and better weather, and kids are conscious of both."

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