Mangino wins games, not friends

Mark Mangino

Mark Mangino

November 18, 2009


Related document

Mark Mangino's 2008 contract extension ( .PDF )

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Mark Mangino discusses investigation

Mark Mangino spent about 10 minutes discussing an investigation the athletic department is conducting, as well as the upcoming game against Texas.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Reesing discusses Mangino investigation

Senior quarterback Todd Reesing provided more information about the investigation that is underway of KU football coach Mark Mangino.

— When he coached his team to an Orange Bowl victory and a 12-1 record just two seasons ago, he was fiery, a western Pennsylvania, blue-collar underdog who made it big and never forgot his roots.

Now that he’s lost five in a row, he’s an abusive, obnoxious bully who doesn’t always play nice with his football players.

Such is the nature of today’s instant-gratification society. Everybody loves a winner, warts and all. Nobody loves a loser, even one who brings lunch-pail charm and an obsessive work ethic to his job.

Glad-handers tend to weather storms of season collapses better than dictators who motivate through fear and intimidation. Mark Mangino, similar to so many successful football coaches through the years, from Bear Bryant to Vince Lombardi, falls into the latter category. The original Bear and Lombardi sustained their winning all the way to legendary status.

When Mangino was 12-1, he was a throw-back, and gosh darn it, the world needs more throw-backs. Now that he’s 5-5 and hasn’t been able to get a feel for this team, he needs anger management, and Kansas needs a new football coach.

Nobody wants to hear anything negative, and nobody wants to speak up about a coach who sends the paying customers heading back to the parking lot with a winning strut, all smiles. But they remember, they store their thoughts, and they unleash them when the moment is right. Now that Lori Williams, KU associate athletic director/risk management, has been assigned to investigate, enough grudges will be aired to send Kansas University’s first winning football coach since the late Jack Mitchell on his way to his next job.

Listening on the radio while riding to St. Louis for the 2008 basketball national-title rematch, I wasn’t surprised to hear a serene Mangino addressing the media.

“I don’t really have much to say about it other than, you know, you lose a few games in a row, those type of issues come up,” Mangino said. “It’s not uncommon.”

If the investigation reveals the extent of the physical contact Mangino has had with players is uncommon — as far as what’s known by the public to be common for football coaches — that will be enough. It’s no secret the football coach has a hot temper. Imagine that, a man who coaches a sport that rewards unbridled aggression, violent hitting and percolating adrenaline has a nasty side when trying to bring out those qualities in others.

Mangino never has made winning friends a priority, just winning football games. There is no “F” column in the standings for “friends,” just a “W” and an “L.” Friends can help a coach prolong his stay, but the next regret Mangino has about his style will be the first.

At this point, with all the damage done to recruiting, it’s difficult to see Mangino coaching beyond this season. Meanwhile, athletic director Lew Perkins works behind the scenes to land a big-name coach. Perkins pays well and shouldn’t have trouble landing his man.

Also, look for plans for the Gridiron Club, which faced price resistance and general indifference from the start, to be put on hold. Even a less daunting financing plan recently offered won’t be enough to go ahead with breaking ground on the ambitious project.


yankeevet 8 years, 5 months ago

This article is written poorly ; Mangino does not compare too Bear Bryant; or Vince Lombardi..........maybe Huckleberry Finn; or Bugs Bunny..........

thomgreen 8 years, 5 months ago

This seems to be right on point. Todd Haley is going through the same fire with the Chiefs. His tirade on the sidelines Sunday was being picked apart Monday morning on talk radio. All the same complaints seem to be popping up about his personality since he's losing games. I wonder if anything would have come to light if we were 9-1 as we should be at this point (with the assumption and expectation that we should have only lost to Oklahoma so far).

newmedia 8 years, 5 months ago

Dollars talk. Losses walk. Hope and Change.

beagledog 8 years, 5 months ago

wonder if perkins will can mangino after the texas thrashing this saturday, or hope that the hawks will beat missouri and back their way into the Toilet Bowl.

kugrad 8 years, 5 months ago

Fine. But you still have to treat others with respect. You still have to treat the students you are coaching with dignity.

Angel Gillaspie 8 years, 5 months ago

"waaah, he poked me in the chest" get a grip! a big hulking player is whining because the coach poked him? more likely he's whining because he doesn't like riding the bench. seems to me someone is looking for an excuse for a firing, especially since this is the first complaint we've heard since Coach started in 2002. and it's not much of a complaint, if you ask me. Win games, be a hero. Lose a few, be a scapegoat. how many players are there on the team - 85? 90? and we see fit to blame one single person. I say leave Coach alone and let him coach.

oh, and Number_1_Grandma: I really don't want another Terry Allen-type here coaching. I'd rather win.

alm77 8 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Keegan, I appreciate this point of view. You make a great case and I think it balances out LJW coverage nicely.

justforfun 8 years, 5 months ago

Seriously Keegan? His record is 50 and 46 just over 50% throw out the 12-1 season ( that we didnt beat a ranked team till VA Tech I believe) and he's 36 and 45. Then put his big 12 record in there HHHMMMM not too many wins there either. Thank god for for non-conference to get people fired up.

HINULB45DAD 8 years, 5 months ago

YankeeVet, to/not too.. Huckleberry (Hound?)

The comparison to Bear Bryant and Vince was related to coaching style and is worth thinking about. What about Bo Pellini, would he fall into this category or is he in a category by himself?

I thought the article was good, but then I'm prejudiced. I've been a KU/Mark Mangino fan for 4 yrs and those 4 yrs, have been special in KU history.

Mark Mangino has guided a program that could not compete into a competitor in the Big 12.

I do second guess him but I love Mark Mangino and his big fat self and all his faults. I wish he would lose weight and stay at KU years. There would be titles.

Are we talking about a poke in the chest area usually covered by shoulder pads? I've seen in time and time again. If so, Arist Wright ought to be benched the next two games for being a big baby.

My thoughts and prayers are with Mark Mangino.

Mike Barnhart 8 years, 5 months ago

For the most part, Bobby Knight, Bear Bryant and Bill Parcels always demanded the best for the sake of the team and the player. I think MM gives everyone the impression that he is a "selfish" A.H. who demands the best because that's what is best for MM.

calvin 8 years, 5 months ago

The LJ World has done a wondeful job of trashing Coach Mangino and finding all the dirt they can. If KU were not on a 5 game skid none of this would have ever come up, but Creepy Lew wants a new coach that he can hire, so he cooks this bs up and the LJ World helps him.

gogoplata 8 years, 5 months ago

If you want to fire the guy because he lost 5 games in a row do it. Have the balls to say it. Don't be a coward and make up something like this to fire him for.

yankeevet 8 years, 5 months ago

Mangino wins games? A Bear Bryant; a Vince Lombardi? Who wrote this fantasy??? perhaps compare him too Daffy Duck............

camper 8 years, 5 months ago

I think Mangino has a very good overall record because a lot of the losses came when he 1st took over the program. And the last two or three years have provided excitement for fans of the program. Of course there is a great group of players who accomplished this. Last year's win at Arrowhead was one of the most exciting games I ever watched.

If this is merely an isolated incident, Mangino should not be thrown under the bus. Football coaches need to be tough, and by the nature of the business, it is not uncommon that they come off as being mean (or bully like). I also think Lew Perkins is a good man, and he will do the right thing once he receives all the information.

2002 8 years, 5 months ago

Fire the slob. This is not isolated, his history of self control is well documented and he should not be the face of KU football. There are many other good coaches that will do a great job.

kugrad 8 years, 5 months ago

If Mangino was winning games he could degrade the players in any way he chose and Perkins would keep him.

FlintHawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Wondering what it is about us that we're so wiling to believe random rumors or allegations or whispers from Twitter, Facebook, message boards. I wonder how this would have played out, pre-Internet? We all know, from firsthand experience, that some people intentionally distort the facts and, perhaps more important, that each of us perceives the same incident differently. There's a reason eyewitness testimony is the least reliable "evidence" in a court of law.

The man's career has been ruined by this rush to judgment, whatever the outcome of the "internal investigation."

For those of you who are looking forward to Lew's "first-class" replacement for Mangino: What winning coach would want to coach at a school where the football program is run by parents and disgruntled players?

yankeevet 8 years, 5 months ago

One incident involved a player reporting to a team meeting two hours after surgery because he was afraid of losing his scholarship.

Complaints of verbal abuse and personal attacks are common among the parents Kornacki spoke with. Many players were told to play better or go back to the ghetto where they were found.

Assistant coaches were threatened with their jobs in front of the team and as a result, a dozen have left the staff in the last four years.

Parents have also said that Mangino has bad-mouthed his own players to scouts, affecting their future chances in the NFL. For that reason, the parents wish to stay anonymous for the time being.

Overall, they said the coach has created a hostile and negative environment, and these parents and players are making sure the school is well aware of these actions, so that future players don't have to experience the same abuse.

channel 9 news comment

dmpousson 8 years, 5 months ago

Lew has his favorites.......does he not?

camper 8 years, 5 months ago

The players who play for KU are expected to represent KU and KU athletics in a positive light. Scholarship athletes are given a great opportunity to achieve an education, experience great accomplishment, and possibly (though rare) go on to a professional career in sports.

However, I think that athletes should be paid atleast minimum wage for the hours that they put on the practice field. No different than a scholarship student who works at the library. If athletes must carry out their end, they should not be subjected to any type of abuse from the coaching peers (be it physical or mental). This goes totally against inter-collegiate ethics. These coaches are hired to be disciplinary and tough, but if they cross the line (this line could be hard to define) they are not upholding the Mission Statement that KU Athletics is all about. Coaches who are well paid, should uphold the same standard to this mission as are the student athletes. It is a two-way street. I read the 2007 KU Athletics annual report and it is quite clear that excellence and representation are benchmarks of this mission statement.

If coaches have the ability to cut or suspend players, it is certainly within the right of these players to bring forth any type of malconduct brought forth by the coaching staff. I read through the mission statement and I truly believe that Lew Perkins is a good man and that he is intent on uphoalding these objectives regardless of the nature and size of the sport in question (ie swimming, football, tennis, and basketball). I really like Lew Perkins and think he is the best AD in the country. I also like Mark Mangino, and I also like the players on this KU football team. They have the right to address things that counter the KU Athletic Statement of excellence. It is a two-way street.

steelerfan75 8 years, 5 months ago

mangino is a great coach no wonder you football progam is a joke i hope you do fire him get him away from morons like you and by the way who are you going to hire a good coach will not go there the way you treated mangino i know maybe weiss or mike gottifried good luck you are not going to beat texas okla or the cornhuskers your progam sucks

TopJayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

After all Mangino has done for this program, if you fire him I will not renew my season-tickets. I thought all football coaches yelled and swore. Wahh wahhh.

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