Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Keegan: Mangino deserves a hand

December 15, 2005


The loss to Texas Tech wasn't bad at all. The same couldn't be said for the horrendous debacle at Kansas State. Then there was Brian Luke's Oklahoma meltdown. The bully job Colorado pinned on Kansas University's football team in Boulder made it an 0-4 start to the Big 12 season.

If you feel bad about what you were saying about KU coach Mark Mangino then and would like to show support for the coach the players never quit on now that the Jayhawks are going to a bowl game, here's your chance.

The KU Quarterback Club's final meeting takes place today from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Alvamar Country Club. It's open to the public. For $20, you'll be treated to a highlight film at 11:30, lunch at noon. Mangino speaks at 12:30.

To reserve a spot, call Louise Ecord at 864-3991 or e-mail her at Unless your boss is a fan of Missouri, which has lost three in a row to Mangino, blowing off work for 90 minutes shouldn't be a problem.

QB Club president Pat Henderson, former Jayhawks player and assistant coach, will be there, even though he's hobbling around town on crutches after undergoing knee-replacement surgery. (Can you believe someone actually was dumb enough to ask him if the new knee came from a cadaver?)

"People forget now, but there was a time there when this team looked like it was going south quick, and they never quit," Henderson said. "Going back to the summer, when they were in the weight room, I saw the work ethic these players had, and I knew there wasn't going to be any quit in them at any time. It's like Mark always says, 'Just keep sawing wood.'"

The about-face was best captured in Luke's reversal from the beaten man who limped off the field in the middle of the Colorado game to the hot-hand Luke who was on fire after subbing for Jason Swanson when he was injured against Iowa State. The team didn't quit after getting blown out by Colorado. If Gary Barnett could say the same of his players, he'd still have a job, instead of a $3 million parachute.

Mangino has the support of the football brains around KU. John Hadl calls him the best football coach the school has ever had, and Don Fambrough calls himself "a Mangino backer, 100 percent."

"He's smart, he's super-organized, nobody works harder than him, and the players like him," Fambrough said. "And he's a good recruiter. He was taking players three years ago that he wouldn't take now."

I want to believe Coach Fam on the recruiting upgrade, but is it true? KU football beat writer Ryan Wood says it is. (For Wood's explanation, go to and click on The Spodcasters to listen.) reports that Jake Sharp, the No. 2-ranked player in the state, remains "100 percent sold on being a Jayhawk." That didn't stop new K- State coach Ron Prince from visiting Sharp at Salina Central High on Tuesday.

"Coach Prince told me that he wished that he would have been able to recruit me a little sooner, but I am definitely going to Kansas," Sharp, an all-purpose speedster, told "My official visit last week really sealed the deal."

Chalk up another victory for Mangino. And stop by Alvamar today to give him a hand.


Densmore 12 years ago

I'll make two posts here, as I've evidently exceeded the 3,000 word limit. First part:

I've followed Jayhawk football since I was a student in the mid-1970s. Before I say anything else, I will tell you that in my opinion, Mangino has done a tremendous job and I hope that he is around for a long time to come. I shook hands with him at half-time of the basketball game where he was introduced as our new head coach and I could see a special twinkle in his eye. He gave me an immediate sense of confidence in his selection. That being said, I thought that Glen Mason did the best job of any coach during my time and in my long-winded way I will try to explain to you below why I believe that our experience with Mason is relevant here.

Mason took over a terrible team and program and had them ranked in the top ten before he was done. Mason, however, was kind of arrogant. Before he left, I had the chance to visit with him at the gym and elsewhere. (By the way, the guy had terrible weightlifting form. I was amazed, given his many years around football.) He was almost impossible to talk with and many of the Mason-era players that I spoke with had the same opinion. He did not appear to have the complete support of many of the KU football icons. His conservative style of offense was a disappointment to many fans. I'd sit in the stands and hear folks complain about Mason's "Marty Ball" approach and so forth. It was amazing. We had a proven winner, but we were still complaining.

As much as Mason was at fault for not having earned the complete support of the AD and the KU football family (For the sake of discussion, I'll pin that all on Mason's arrogance and leave the AD's office out of it), we has fans were responsible for losing Mason. Our long history of football difficulty notwithstanding, Mason could see that without the strong support of the fans, he could go no further. KU football fans are the worst in the league.

It may appear that I have digressed from Mangino to a discussion of Mason and KU football fans, but here is where I am going with this:

Densmore 12 years ago

Second part:

While Mangino has the strong support of Fam, Hadl and many of the KU football icons, he still does not have the strong support of many KU fans, as evidenced by the grousing that took place during our tough stretch in the middle of the season. Why? Because we are sorry excuses for football fans and sometimes can't see progress when it lands on the tip of our noses. We don't even know HOW to be good fans. Case in point: the psychological edge of a stadium filled with fans wearing the school colors. We show up at games wearing brown or green, or tweed jackets with a Jayhawk lapel pin, rather than blue. We might wear a white shirt with a Jayhawk on the front or back, or a tan "Kansas" hat. (Great, you've identified yourselves as a KU fan for purposes of a tailgate in Lawrence. Outstanding effort. Not.)

It gets worse. At the ISU game, I saw several wearing their yellow Jayhawk hats and their red Kansas sweatshirts. Hey, I have a yellow Kansas hat. It is great for fishing or wearing to the pub, but to an ISU game? Likewise with the red attire. Sure, we are Crimson and Blue, but please save the Crimson part for visits by schools other than NU and ISU, for Pete's sake. The idea is not how you look individually, but how we look collectively. This is basic stuff, people. Call it "Being a Football Fan 101."

Some may say that I am being too tough on the fans. After all, they've paid for their ticket and they are entitled to wear whatever they want. True enough and we appreciate the monetary support. But if you can't figure out how to dress in a manner that supports the kids on the field, you are merely an attendee and not a fan. And that goes double for all of you that sit in the stadium and gaze at the clouds, or come to visit with the nice folks sitting next to you, your conversation occasionally interrupted by cheers from the fans, at which time you look at the field and see that it is time to politely clap. Thanks for the ticket purchase, but otherwise you are only using up the air that should be reserved for people who can make some noise. You are a waste of oxygen.

To get to the top is going to be tough. As fans, we will likely have to accept several more 6-5, 7-4, and maybe even occasional 5-6 seasons before we get to the top. Mangino can get us there and truly become the greatest KU football coach, but only if we do our part as fans. And that is precisely why I worry.

Raider 12 years ago

Densmore: Great post. I couldn't agree with you more about MM, and I hope he sticks around for a long time as well.

KU Fans will have to accept 6-5, 7-4 seasons for several yrs to get to the perverbial "next level" but I promise you the time will come. My school (TX Tech) was one of those teams that just "got by" for years. 6-5 and 7-4 consistently will turn into 7-4 and 8-3, where it will be for a couple of yrs, then all of a sudden it will be 9-2 and 10-1. Hang in there Hawk fans, your time is coming. You just have to be a little more patient. You're about to go on a fun ride.

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