Taking a short break on a table in the shade during the Kansas Relays on Saturday afternoon, Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins uttered his most supportive recent words about football coach Mark Mangino, with whom he has been discussing a contract extension.
"Why would I not want Mark back?" Perkins said. "Nobody's trying to run Mark out. He's an excellent coach, and he's a good guy. Mark's done a great job."
Mangino, who coached the Jayhawks to a 7-5 record and a Fort Worth Bowl victory over Houston in his fourth season in charge of a program he inherited from fired Terry Allen, has three years left on his contract. Perkins, who has a policy of not discussing contract extensions, said he parted from that Saturday to quell speculation that the NCAA investigation of violations could impede discussions on a Mangino extension.
"We're having ongoing discussions with Mark ranging from salary to an extension," Perkins said. "The only reason I'm even talking about it is to make it clear there is no correlation with that (investigation). I just want to make it clear that is not an issue."
Perkins said at Friday's news conference about the NCAA's notice of allegations that he was satisfied Mangino had no knowledge the infractions were taking place. Mangino has a 19-29 record at KU and has taken the Jayhawks to a bowl game in two of the past three seasons.
Sharp ready: After winning the long jump - needing only one jump to do it - and finishing second in the high school 100-meter dash Saturday, Kansas-bound running back Jake Sharp, of Salina, talked about what he foresaw in his freshman season under Mangino.
"I'll be here for the summer, and classes start June 6," Sharp said. "As far as whether I red-shirt my first year, that will be a mutual decision between me and the coaches. We'll see how that goes. I would rather not, but that will be partly up to the coaches' discretion, too."
As a freshman, Sharp said he expected to be used as a kick returner and punt returner and, he said, "I'll see if I can work in as a slot back, tailback and even wide receiver. I could even see helping out as a defensive back, if that's where I'm needed. It all depends on where I'm needed."
During track season, the 5-foot-11 Sharp loses some weight. He said his football weight was 193 pounds.
"But I'll be heavier than that by the time the season starts," he said.