Max Falkenstien, the legendary Kansas University basketball and football announcer, has written a new book, "A Good Place to Stop, 60 Seasons with Max and the Jayhawks." Today the Journal-World is running another excerpt from the book, published by Power House. "A Good Place to Stop" is available today in the Journal-World lobby and on our Web site (www.store.ljworld.com), as well as at Barnes & Noble, Dillons, KU Union Bookstore, Jayhawk Bookstore, Walgreens, The Raven and Kansas Sampler.
From Chapter 12
Glen Mason - Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way
As fall rolled around to start the 1995 football season, I didn't feel much excitement. Like a lot of the fans and media, I was apprehensive about the Jayhawks' talent level. Mark Williams was untested at quarterback, and the Jayhawks would have a completely rebuilt defensive line.
Things got worse before the season even started. Linebacker Ronnie Ward, the team's top defender, reinjured a shoulder playing pickup basketball in the spring and was knocked out for the year. Defensive back Tony Blevins had not fully recovered from a knee injury the previous year and decided to redshirt.
Mason had made wholesale changes on his staff before the season. He fired defensive coordinator Bob Fello, a truly unique coach whom I had learned to appreciate, and secondary coach Mark Dantonio. Mike Hankwitz arrived from Colorado to be the Jayhawks' defensive coordinator, and David Gibbs, also a CU assistant, was hired to coach the KU secondary.
No one gave KU much hope for being anything more than a second-division Big Eight team. The Jayhawks were picked to finish fifth in the preseason writers' poll.
But Mason was quietly building a team.
The first couple of games didn't change anyone's feelings. The young Jayhawks, with 15 new starters in the lineup, were unimpressive in a 23-18 victory over Cincinnati in the season opener. KU moved its record to 2-0 with a 27-10 win over North Texas in Week Two.
People started believing a little the next week when the Jayhawks played inspired from the start in a nationally televised game at Memorial Stadium against TCU. KU raced to a 21-0 lead and held off a late rally for a 38-20 victory.