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Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Manning bumped into vacancy

March 21, 2007

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— It didn't take Kansas University coach Bill Self long to fill the upcoming vacancy on his basketball staff.

Self, who Monday afternoon gave his blessing to Illinois State's hiring of Tim Jankovich as coach, on Tuesday night named Danny Manning the full-time assistant to replace Jankovich at the conclusion of this season.

Manning, who led KU to the 1988 NCAA title, has served as director of student-athlete development the past four seasons.

"When I first accepted the position at the University of Kansas, one of the first things I wanted to do was to convince Danny Manning to be part of our staff," Self said Tuesday night.

"Upon his retirement from the NBA, we visited with him on becoming a recruiting coach. At that time, he felt it was not timely for him to be away from home and his family.

"He has sacrificed by doing many jobs within the office and has primarily been a great role model for all of our student-athletes and our program. It's not often you can have one of the greatest college players in NCAA college basketball history on your staff and be just as interested in helping our student-athletes as he was in scoring baskets."

Self said he hates to see "a good coach and friend" in Jankovich leave.

At the same time, "It's certainly been a blessing to have a guy on staff that is ready to step into that role. Although Danny's responsibilities will not change until after the season, this is something we knew would take place once one of our three recruiting coaches moved on."

Manning, KU's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, said he's ready to tackle on-court coaching duties and to hit the road recruiting.

"This is the place I want to be and I'm looking forward to expanding my role as a teacher on and off the court to the student-athletes here at KU," Manning said.

"The last four years have been a great learning experience for me. Being a part of and helping to run the day-to-day operations of the office - from the handling of gear to academics to making road trip arrangements - I've gained much-need experience and knowledge."

He said he's learned a lot from the current staff, as well as former KU assistant Norm Roberts, now head coach at St. John's.

"They have been very enlightening with their knowledge of coaching, recruiting and overall knowledge of the business," Manning said. "I will continue to lean on these outstanding individuals as I find my way around the coaching profession. Lew Perkins (KU athletic director) and his administrative staff have also been very accommodating with an open-door policy to come in and share any thoughts, concerns and questions."

Manning, who wanted to "thank all the coaches and friends in the profession who have reached out to me and offered advice and also Jayhawk nation for their continued support," said he feels "prepared for the challenge ahead.

"I look forward to being an assistant coach at the University of Kansas," he said.

Manning, 40, and his wife, Julie, are both graduates of KU. They have two children - daughter Taylor and son Evan.

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