Mark Mangino had to assure Bill Whittemore, his beloved former quarterback, one thing when Whittemore set off to start a coaching career.
"Bill had me promise him when the offensive-grad-assistant position did open, he could have the first crack at it," the Kansas University football coach said. "I kept my word."
Now, Whittemore is on Mangino's staff, serving that promised role after former GA Jake Parten chose to go into physical therapy.
Whittemore comes to KU after a brief stay as defensive GA at Louisiana-Monroe. His duties at KU will be determined by offensive coordinator Nick Quartaro, though it's likely to include a lot of film breakdown, both of opponents and of the Jayhawks.
Beyond that, Whittemore will serve as a helping hand with KU's offense - a facet that flourished when Whittemore was quarterback in 2002 and 2003, but has struggled since.
Mangino anticipates Whittemore helping assistant Tim Beck with wide receivers. And, of course, he could lend a hand in maturing KU's young quarterbacks, including Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing, two slingers who have similar styles to Whittemore's.
"I don't want to put a whole lot of pressure on Bill to help develop our quarterbacks," Mangino said. "That's Nick's job, and Nick does it well. But (Whittemore) can be a good supporting role to those kids."
KU's four-man quarterback fleet has just one - Adam Barmann - who was around when Whittemore played. But Whittemore's success isn't lost on any of them.
"The young quarterbacks in the program know that he has competed at a high level and achieved a great deal of success here," Mangino said. "He can be a person that can help build their confidence, help them deal with situations."
¢ Looking ahead: Though the 2006 season still is months away, KU's 2007 football schedule tentatively is complete.
The Jayhawks are scheduled to play eight home games in '07, and all four nonconference matchups will be at Memorial Stadium. Those four games will be against Division I-AA foe Southeastern Louisiana and I-A opponents Central Michigan, Toledo and Florida International.
Big 12 Conference foes will be the same teams as next season, but at opposite locations: Missouri, Baylor, Nebraska and Iowa State at home, and Kansas State, Colorado, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State on the road.
¢ Still waiting: Mangino said the athletic department still hadn't heard a final ruling regarding Eric Butler's eligibility.
"We haven't," Mangino said. "We've been told it'll be a few more weeks."
Butler, a defensive tackle, was ruled out of eligibility because his clock started ticking when he attended DeVry in 2001. Though he has played only two seasons of football, five years have passed since he started college.
KU appealed the decision with new information this spring.
¢ All accounted for: Summer conditioning under strength coach Chris Dawson begins June 5. As has been the trend in recent years, Mangino has been informed that perfect attendance was anticipated.
"There's a misnomer about college football players that the summer is a lot of hard work," Mangino said. "It is a lot of hard work, but the players want to get better. If we said we're going to lock the weight room doors and not let anyone in this summer, they'd knock the doors down."