What Keegan says...
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, and blessed with the right personality and presence to recruit well in his native state, new Kansas University football coach Turner Gill could take the school’s Texas recruiting finds to new heights.
But Gill can’t do it alone, and KU can’t fill a roster with players from Texas and Kansas alone. Gill will need plenty of help, and he’ll need to assemble a staff that includes at least one assistant coach rich with Texas contacts and one loaded with Midwest ties.
Enter Reggie Mitchell, University of Illinois assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator/running backs coach. An industry source’s whisper that Gill could hire Mitchell as his recruiting coordinator and put him in charge of running backs makes a lot of sense.
Since leaving KU, where he worked for Glen Mason from 1988-1996, Mitchell has worked at Minnesota (1997-98), Michigan State (1999-2004) and Illinois (2005-present).
Former Michigan State receiver Charles Rogers, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, is among the many standouts recruited by Mitchell over the years. A native of Flint, Mich., Mitchell has mined most of his talent from the Midwest.
Mitchell isn’t the only assistant coach in contention for a return trip to Lawrence. Darrell Wyatt, associate head coach/offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach for Southern Mississippi, has had success recruiting Texas while coaching at Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Call this “A Tale of Two Settlements.”
Unlike the Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” however, there are no worst of times, only best of times.
As you know, Kansas Athletics Inc. has agreed to play former football coach Mark Mangino a lump sum of $3 million on or before Thursday. I think you must agree that any seven-figure payout is considerably better at Christmas than a lump of coal.
It’s unlikely Lew Perkins wrote a check for the $3 million from his personal bank account, and you have to suspect the Kansas University Endowment Association is involved somehow.
But at least the KU-Mangino divorce is final. Not all schisms end that quickly or emphatically.
Take Chuck Long, for example. Long, new KU coach Turner Gill’s offensive coordinator, was involved in a much different scenario when he was fired as San Diego State’s head coach in 2008.
Long’s settlement, in fact, wasn’t completed until last month. When the Aztecs dumped him after three seasons, Long had two years remaining on his contract. In round figures, they owed him $1.4 million.
Long’s original pact, unlike Mangino’s, contained a clause stipulating that if he was terminated he had to be re-assigned within the athletic department. Thus the former standout quarterback at Iowa University spent practically all of this year doing “special projects” and analyzing how the Aztecs’ football program could be improved.
For that busy work, he was paid $715,000, or a heckuva lot more than your average think-tanker. Also, according to Long’s pact, if he left for another job, he wouldn’t be paid a nickel.
So why in the world would Long leave San Diego State for KU when he could sit around during 2010 pushing papers and collecting another $715,000?
Well, obviously, he had had enough of that Mickey Mouse work and wanted to return to coaching. Obviously, though, Long would have been nuts to forfeit the 700 grand, so lawyers and agents went to work and hammered out a revised deal in November that was more favorable to his departure.
For whatever reason — were they embarrassed to have him still hanging around? — San Diego State condescended to pay Long if he left. However, it was stipulated that what they owed him would be subtracted from his compensation at a new post.
If we are to assume Long will be paid in the $300,000 range at Kansas — predecessor Ed Warinner earned 306 grand — then San Diego State will have to pony up about $400,000.
So at $715,000 a year, even if it is coming from two sources, Long probably will be the highest-paid offensive coordinator in America. Unless Texas breaks the bank for its top aides as the Longhorns did when they made head coach Mack Brown into the Five-Million Dollar Man.
Will Mangino return to coaching eventually? Probably. But after eight years as a head coach, it may be difficult for him to step into an assistant’s role again.
On the flip side, Long and new KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush were both head coaches at one time and became aides again, so who knows what Mangino will do?