Archive for Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Departures of Mangino, Fambrough comparable

December 8, 2009


If you think Mark Mangino resigned willingly as Kansas University’s football coach, I have some oceanfront property near Oskaloosa I’ll sell you, and I’ll throw the Tonganoxie Split in free.

It’s not unusual for a KU football coach to resign. Pepper Rodgers did it to go to UCLA, Mike Gottfried to take the Pittsburgh job and Glen Mason to assume control at Minnesota.

But you have to go back 35 years to find the last KU football coach who was forced to resign. Who was it? Don Fambrough. And, interestingly, Fambrough and Mangino “quit” because of similar occurrences.

In 1974, Fam’s Jayhawks were considered a Big Eight title favorite and, after they won four of their first five games, were ranked No. 14 nationally. Then No. 13-ranked Nebraska came to town.

What happened wasn’t pretty. The Cornhuskers scored just before halftime to take a 14-0 lead, then plundered the Jayhawks in the second half. Final score: Nebraska 56, Kansas 0. That ’74 club never won again, dropping six in a row.

Sound familiar? This fall’s KU team was considered a Big 12 North title contender, won its first five games, then couldn’t stop a mediocre Colorado squad and ended the season on a seven-game losing streak.

As mentioned, both Fambrough and Mangino resigned, yet their settlements were distinctly different.

Fam had a year left on his contract, and athletic director Clyde Walker refused to give him an extension, prompting the former KU player and long-time aide to call a press conference.

“In view of the fact I have only one year remaining on my contract,” Fambrough said at the time, “and realizing this situation can be detrimental to recruiting, I am reluctantly resigning.”

Mangino’s resignation was obviously reluctant, too, but we haven’t heard a peep out of him since Kansas Athletics Inc. issued a release saying he had walked and that a settlement had been reached to resolve the three years remaining on his pact.

Nor do we expect to hear anything from Mangino because it’s likely the settlement contained a zipped-lip clause. It’s doubtful Mangino will receive the full $6 million or so he’s owed, but he’ll definitely be collecting more than Fambrough did in ’74.

KU owed Fam a whopping $28,500, and instead of pouring that pile of money down the drain, Walker re-hired him to become the department’s promotions director.

Later, Fambrough became assistant director of the Williams Fund and, in a stunning and still unprecedented move, was rehired as KU’s football coach just four years after he was forced to resign.

Odds are a man will land on Jupiter or the South Lawrence Trafficway will be completed before current KU athletic director Lew Perkins offers Mangino another job in the department. Or that Mangino would accept.

Fambrough, as you know, has evolved at age 87 into a living legend, the face of Kansas University football, if you will. But he’s an anomaly. Most of his predecessors and successors have simply faded away.

Both Fambrough and Mangino coached the Jayhawks for eight seasons. And, sad to say, that’s about the shelf life of a Kansas University football coach.


Steve Miller 8 years ago

Thanks for the history class , alot of useless info... WGAS, march on, don't ponder over spilt milk.

jvinland 8 years ago

I respected Mangino as a coach. However Mangino’s persona and style of coaching were very different from Coach Fambrough‘s. Don Fambrough was a tremendously compassionate coach both on and off the field! His interaction with “all” his players was beyond reproach. The players he coached loved him and would have laid down their lives for him. Mr. Woodling is right, Coach is a living legend. If you get a chance thank him for dedicating his life to KU.

anon1958 8 years ago

I remember that Chucky Cheese insulted Mangino's weight before he even arrived on campus. Woodling has a very long history of making nasty little comments about the people he writes about. Woodling made so many disparaging remarks and snide comments about women's coach Washington that I am really surprised that someone did not serve him a knuckle sandwich to match his knuckle head attitude.

I do not follow any sports as a fan and have never watched a single KU game but I do love to scan the sports page because nearly everything about American sports from 5th grade upward is so screwed up you cant help but get a good laugh.

The Journal World columnists are especially entertaining because they are definitely the bottom of the journalistic barrel.

hesshawk 8 years ago

Hey I've got an idea.

If KSUck can hire back Buck-tooth Bil and prop him up on the sidelines, why couldn't we bring back Coach Fambrough? Unlike Snydie, Coach Fambrough at least will look like he's alive on the sidelines.........and he'll light a fire under some players. Uncle Fester wouldn't dare mess with him either.

Just thinkin'

jayhawks71 8 years ago

You mean Mangino didn't resign because he was tired of coaching KU? I can't believe it! I thought he just decided that he didn't want to coach anymore.

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