Archive for Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Former colleagues come to KU coach Mangino’s defense

Several former colleagues, including Bill Snyder, Mike Leach, Bob Stoops and Al Bohl, voiced their support of Mark Mangino, KU football's embattled coach, Monday.

Several former colleagues, including Bill Snyder, Mike Leach, Bob Stoops and Al Bohl, voiced their support of Mark Mangino, KU football's embattled coach, Monday.

November 24, 2009


When, in the winter of 2001, former Kansas University athletic director Al Bohl tapped a fiery Oklahoma assistant named Mark Mangino to help turn around a program coming off six consecutive losing seasons, he did so with the comfort that he’d picked the right man for the job.

Eight years later, with Mangino the subject of an ongoing university investigation concerning his treatment of players, Bohl’s feelings on the matter haven’t changed.

“I never tried to hire a coach because he was just a buddy of Al Bohl’s,” Bohl said. “I tried to hire people that were best for the university and that could really have an impact on the program. Mark Mangino was somebody who knew what the ingredients were to be successful at a place like the University of Kansas.”

Kansas University coach Mark Mangino, right, congratulates Texas Tech coach Mike Leach at midfield after the Red Raiders defeated the Jayhawks in 2004.

Kansas University coach Mark Mangino, right, congratulates Texas Tech coach Mike Leach at midfield after the Red Raiders defeated the Jayhawks in 2004.

In the days since current KU athletic director Lew Perkins made the investigation public — a move that set off a messy chain of events — Bohl is one several former colleagues who have voiced their support for the Jayhawks’ embattled coach, many of whom remain fiercely loyal to the man affectionately known as “Bear” to his longtime friends.

Among the allies are current Big 12 coaches Bill Snyder of Kansas State, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Mike Leach of Texas Tech, each of whom said Monday that the allegations raised in recent days — from the coach’s regular verbal abuse of players and assistants to his pressuring of players to play through injury — didn’t mesh with the man they’d coached with at various points during the past 20 years.

“He was very close with (players), appreciated them, did everything that was appropriate,” said Stoops, who worked with Mangino at both Kansas State and Oklahoma.

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops come together for a congratulatory meeting after the game Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops come together for a congratulatory meeting after the game Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.

Added Snyder, asked whether he witnessed Mangino cross any lines during their eight years together in Manhattan: “That didn’t happen to my knowledge, and not a whole lot slips under the radar from that respect. He handled the players well.”

Bohl, meanwhile, said he didn’t remember receiving any player complaints about Mangino during the time they were both at Kansas, adding that the job of head football coach requires a certain level of toughness and an ability to walk a tight rope.

“If you talk to other coaches, you realize that there are 100-and-something Div. I programs, let alone all the Div. II and IIIs, and those coaches are just one or two complaints away from the same thing probably happening to (them),” Bohl said. “That tough love and things that coaches deal with, every coach is only a heartbeat away from one or two players complaining.”

Those who know Mangino insist his approach hasn’t changed over the years. He always has worked a certain way, always prided himself on his toughness, discipline and attention to detail. Players looking for a hug and a pat on the back should go elsewhere.

Big 12 colleagues voice support for embattled KU coach

Various Big 12 Conference coaches supported KU coach Mark Mangino, who is being investigated for inappropriate behavior by KU. Enlarge video

But always, coaches say, he’s carried out the job the right way.

They remember a man who demanded everything from a player so long as he was standing on a football field. A man who, after a night shift driving an ambulance on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, would grab a couple hours of sleep on the floor of his Geneva College office before rising to begin preparations for practice. A man who, despite his rise to national prominence, still makes the time — even with the prospect of preparing for Texas gnawing at him — to keep in touch with old friends.

What they don’t remember, however, is the kind of person being portrayed by some former players — one who berated members of his team for the sole reason of breaking them down.

“We’re maybe old-school, where you see a kid with some talent and they’re not maximizing it,” said Geneva College head coach Geno DeMarco, who served alongside Mangino when both were assistants at the school in the late 1980s. “Maybe for us not blessed with NFL talent, we’re just not going to let that go. If you came to some of my practices, you’d probably think, ‘Wow, this guy’s at a Christian school, and he’s pretty animated and fired up.’ It’s just part of the way he was coached, the way we were all coached.

“Let’s take a poll with the 750 or so college football coaches, and we’ll see how many of them coach with their hands behind their backs and their mouths closed,” he added.

They also point to his success.

Not just the on-field accomplishments — four straight seasons of bowl-eligibility, consecutive bowl victories for the first time in school history in ’07 and ’08 and an unprecedented Orange Bowl trophy — but to the behind-the-scenes achievements as well.

YouTube Jayhawk Flashback: Mark Mangino introduced as new KU football coach

Mark Mangino is introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Kansas in two separate events in 2001. The beginning of the video shows the attendance from KU's last football game in 2001 against Wyoming.

Mangino’s first recruiting class, for instance, tallied a significant increase in graduation success rate, while the program also posted its highest team grade-point average in history (2.69) during the spring semester of 2007.

“When you have 130 guys on a team, you can find some disgruntled players,” said John Latina, who assisted Mangino in getting his first Div. I coaching job as a graduate assistant at K-State. “On every team in America. Things I’ve read and things that I’ve heard, I think it’s somewhat unfair. What I know is (Kansas) wasn’t very good for quite a few years before he got there, and he took a program that was down — in a tough area of the country that doesn’t maybe have the most recruits in the geographical area — and he’s done a phenomenal job with it.”

Asked whether he would feel comfortable sending his own children to play for Mangino, Latina said, “Tomorrow.”

As the saga has played out across newspapers and television sets across the country in recent days, some ex-colleagues are trying to understand what, exactly, the motives are behind the airing of the university’s dirty laundry in a public setting.

Mostly, they seem confused as to how an alleged poke in the chest has resulted in a former national coach of the year fighting for his coaching life as rumors concerning his future in Lawrence swirl.

“This guy could have run for governor last year in Kansas and won,” DeMarco said. “And now, all of a sudden, his coaching techniques are questioned because they’ve lost some games?

“Just call it what it is,” he added. “This isn’t about football. This is about something else.”


danemary 6 years ago

I think some people dislike Mark because he is obese

John Hamm 6 years ago

"Just call it what it is,” he added. “This isn’t about football. This is about something else." Oh yea. You betcha. Now what is the "something else" that Lew has up his sleeve? And the Chancellor's supporting with her early spin on how she supports Lew?

Scott Bonnet 6 years ago

I find it ironic that the LJ World sports writers that were like a shark feeding frenzy attacking Mangino, a week later are finally looking at evidence for the other side of things. A coach has had some unhappy players over the years. How unique.

Jim Williamson 6 years ago

The problem is, now, Mangino could win the Nobel Peace Prize, cure cancer and marry Marie Osmond and it wouldn't matter when it comes to recruiting. He's hamstrung now. You'll find very few high school coaches who are comfortable sending kids to Mark Mangino now.

bigbird11 6 years ago

"Bohl is one several former colleagues who have voiced their support"

Proofread much?

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

With all due respect how can anyone including the LJW expect the new Chancellor to have a grip on the situation after being in office for only 100 days?

I'm with todays letter writer:

Mike Cohen 6 years ago

edjayhawk wrote: The last time I checked he is innocent until proven guilty…

That's a perfect world. However Lew Perkins has managed to make sure that this gets decided in the court of public opinion. The media has chased after the most damning stories they can find, and outright misreported some facts.
Who is being held accountable for reporting that Mangino choked Ariste Wright when we later learn it was only a 'poke in the chest'? I have to think that anything we hear through the news is taken out of context or twisted for the best effect to sensationalize it.
Yes, Mangino yells, and he has a temper...but if there was a change needing to be made...I don't think Lew needed to destroy the school's reputation to do it.

newmedia 6 years ago

All you need to do is take a look at his record against Big 12 teams and make your own decision..

zettapixel 6 years ago

So I'm on my honeymoon in Vegas and what's the first thing I hear about when I catch a glimpse of ESPN in the sports book area? Mangino and KU!

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 6 years ago

It's pretty clear that Perkins is trying to lynch Mangino so he can bring in one of his UConnn pals. Maybe we're investigating the wrong person. Ask the fans in Allen Fieldhouse who they think the villain is. Fire Perkins, keep Mangino.

oldvet 6 years ago

“This isn’t about football. This is about something else.”

Some whiny-assed punk without discipline in his life cries to the AD and the witch-hunt begins... Dump the Bear and we might as well see if Terry Allen is ready to come back, since the program will revert to that level...

spiff 6 years ago

He looks so happy talking to his coach friends... tear

LawrenceKSHomeBoy 6 years ago

Big 12 Record 23-40. If i was an apposing coach I'd support him staying at KU.

ldawg 6 years ago

"Lew Perkins is full of hate and vindictiveness and is holding me in his hand like a dove. He has the choice to either crush me with his power of influence or let me fly with my visions for a better total program. He is choosing to crush me." -- Mark Mangino from his driveway this morning.

John Pearson 6 years ago

So a majority of coaches agree that abusing players is part of the job? Come on. As for lynching, there isn't a tree or lamp post in town strong enough to do the job.

roggy 6 years ago

I think the media made this into a circus not Lew. The legal counsel for KU athletics is one of the most careful rule followers that I have ever known. She is extremely bright and will make sure that everything is done by the book. None of us will ever know the outcome of the investigation just like we don't know what has happened so far. I have heard some of the most bizarre info. The saddest part for me is reading other school's (Big 12) papers and reading the vicious comments attacking Mangino that have nothing to due with his coaching. Yes, we all know that he is overweight but the name calling shouldn't be allowed. This paper does monitor but some of the others don't seem to. The Longhorn fans were the worst. I think it is very unfortunate that papers allow people to write comments without signing their names.

Steve Bunch 6 years ago

Just amazing--all these little gossips jabbering back and forth over their fences and twitterphones. The fact is that very few people know the whole story, the history, the terms and conditions that may have been laid down during that history, the motivations of the parties involved, what really happened day in and day out with players over the years, not to mention what the coach weighs, the state of his health, and what he likes for breakfast. So shut up already. Thank you.

zazy 6 years ago

"LawrenceKSHomeBoy (Anonymous) says…

Big 12 Record 23-40. If i was an apposing coach I'd support him staying at KU."

I would like to point out that KU's record in the Big XII prior to Mangino arriving was 12-36 (25% winning pct). So, even with what everyone will agree has been a bad season, his winning pct in the Big XII is still more than 10 pct points higher than it was prior to his arrival.

Calling for his dismissal over what has been stated so far is ludicrous.

Perkinator 6 years ago

Idawg, you just quoted an interview with Al Bohl from about 5 years ago and tried to pass it off as Mangino's.

straightforward 6 years ago

zazy, I was just about to make the same point. Thank you for beating me to it.

Look, Lew Perkins only sees dollar signs and he doesn't think Mangino's chubby face is going to bring in the dough to build the new gridiron club. KU fans should put their donations and season tickets where their mouths are. If you want Mangino to stay, stop donating and inform the Athletics Department you will not be renewing your season tickets for a team coached by anyone else.

ldawg 6 years ago

Good job Perkinator. you got the joke.

Fruity22 6 years ago

What is Snyder, Leach and Stoop's combined record against Mangino. Something like 12-1 I can see why they like having Mangino at KU. So Zazy you are perfectly satisfied with a .300 winning percentage in the big 12 and being repeatedly run off the field by big 12 powers? I'm glad you are not the AD.

zazy 6 years ago

I'm not happy with a .350 winning pct, but understand that it takes time to turn a program around, especially one that was as down as KU's was prior to Mangino's arrival, and he definitely has us going in the right direction. Our athletes on the field are better than they have been in quite some time and I think the improvement in the program will continue.

evilwoman 6 years ago

anybody who knows the sheep that is crying wolf knows that he is disrespectful.

yankeevet 6 years ago

how bout those Chiefs!!!! yee haww...........

BigAl 6 years ago

Some people think that 6 losses in a row is "headed in the right direction" ...

ToriFreak13 6 years ago

So because the other teams in the North got back on their's our coaches fault we can't beat them? How long did anyone expect KU to be competitive in the Big XII? We have to build tradition and history here on the football field before you can expect to contend with other programs that have a much deeper history of winning than us. Look at basketball...the roots of a winning tradition are so deep it hurts when we don't. Mangino has done his job...and a good one. Lew and Co. have to protect their investment and their paychecks. This is their way of saving face...calling an investigation. As someone above stated they have a thorough legal team. lol Yeah so it's ok to screw a guy and his family..and a whole community over. As long as they do it legally. lol So waste money sending out the dogs to find any breach of contract they can find to drop Mangino on his bum, and wash their hands of any wrong doing. Smoke and mirrors...bait and it what you want. You have to be alice in wonderland if you expect KU to be a contender in the Big XII every year...let alone the BCS.

Bud Stagg 6 years ago

In football you have to look at THIS season. He had a team that was supposed to win the big 12 north. He is going to end up last. That is not meeting goals or expectations of your fans or employers. Lew is trying to sell Gridiron club seats, that won't happen when you lose 6 in a row.

It would piss my sales manager off if my production manager was missing his goal by 50%. We should be 8-3 not 5-6. The colorado, KSU, TT, and Neb games were all winable for us.

BigAl 6 years ago

Torifreak says: "We have to build tradition and history here on the football field before you can expect to contend with other programs that have a much deeper history of winning than us."

I expect to contend with at least, KSU, MU and ISU in the North. Actually I expect to beat them. Those programs do not have any more history than KU does. All time, we are way ahead of KSU and at least even with MU.

KU has just lost 6 games in a row. We could have, probably should have won at least 4 of them.

BigAl 6 years ago

Torifreak also says: "You have to be alice in wonderland if you expect KU to be a contender in the Big XII every year…let alone the BCS."

Actually, I would like to win the North just ONCE. You can call it "smoke and mirrors" or whatever you want but it is not unreasonable to expect to win the North at least once in 8 years.

rgh 6 years ago

After one championship and two other championship appearances, I don't hear people calling for Bob Stoops' head.

Mangino has taken KU where they had never been before. 12 wins, and Orange Bowl victory (BCS), back to back bowls in quite a few years, and some outstanding quality kids.

I think Lew has found his way to get rid of Mangino and bring in his own person. Al Bohl didn't do near as much for KU athletics as Lew has done, but he did make a great hire in Mangino. Of course, Lew is also nothing but money hungry and cut ties with a lot of the "true" KU fans and just kept those who have the cash flow for the best seats, etc.

I'm guessing it would be tough for Mangino to survive this simply from a recruiting stand point if nothing else. It has been a truly disappointing season from going 5-0 to losing 6 and possibly 7 in a row. If nothing else, let's show up Saturday and support the kids against Misery. I really like Coach Fambrough's idea of showing up for the start of practice tomorrow too.

MizzouDominates 6 years ago

Typical. Ku fans showing their dillusion once again. This has nothing to do with disciplining players. Yelling at players to motivate them is fine. This is Mangino's total disregard for human beings feelings. He told a kid that he would "send him back to STL to get shot with his homies" after the kids brother was murdered. And you people are defending him!! Screw Mike Leach as well if he stands behind that.

This is about Mangino's problems (yes he has had many)

To name a few:

1) Academic Fraud

2) Probation

3) Mangino cheating on his own entrance exam which he confessed to

4) Letting players that had failed drug test go ahead and play.

5) Getting banned from all Kansas State High School Athletic events for berating officials

What else do you people need? This is a sad human being. He has received chance after chance after chance and still goes on with these types of actions. I don't know which is worse, Mangino, or you people that are defending him. This is a pattern. The guy is a scumbag and he is splashing more mud on the face of KU, than there already has been in recent months. This is laughable that you all are defending him. As an MU fan I love it. Gets us the better end on recruits that we are going head to head vs. KU with. If this was Pinkle, he would have been called to resign immediately after the first or second infraction. Not allowed to finish the year. But KU has never been accused of having any type of integrity anyways.

MizzouDominates 6 years ago

Mangino didn't take KU to the Orange Bowl. They had the easiest schedule one could imagine and Lew Perkins bought the Orange Bowl bid. Everyone outside of Low-rents knows this. Perkins should have been investigated the moment he was shown on live tv alongside the director of the Orange Bowl before the selection process took place. Any denial of this is pure ignorance and hypocracy.

Snoop 6 years ago

Lots of interesting reading and insight…

but let me just say....Turner Gill

"Mangino didn't take KU to the Orange Bowl. They had the easiest schedule one could imagine.... "

"Lew Perkins bought the Orange Bowl bid"

I hate to agree with a Missouri fan but….

Central Michigan SE Louisiana Toledo Florida International @Kansas State W: 30-24 Baylor @Colorado W: 19-14 @Texas A&M - W: 19-11 Nebraska Oklahoma State Iowa State Missouri Virginia Tech

Don’t get me wrong, I support KU all the way, I want desperately to have a solid football program that is not only competitive but one that has championship aspirations. I think the adulation over Mangino’s “success” is laughable. Do you want an “ok” program that wins a few games, entertains the bandwagon folks, and provides some general excitement on game day? Or do you want to see a true winning program that shoots for more than just being “somewhat competitive”.

Mangino makes KU decent, but who can take the program to the next level.

Celebrating Mangino’s “successes” is like rewarding a child for not smearing poop on the walls. I don’t get how people are so enamored by mediocrity these days. People who would never say to their child “I’m glad you are doing ok in school, great job” are saying that about Mangino and his so-called coaching success. I just think it tis funny.

It is an interesting discussion...

New direction... Turner Gill!

Ace_Ventura 6 years ago

FIRE LEW PERKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lew is an A-hole to bring all this up during the season. He should be fired for doing so. We will be just as good in Football and Basketball without him.

ravenjayhawk 6 years ago

Turner Gill is not the answer. At any sign of success and a problem in Husker nation he would leave KU in a heartbeat. Lew has an agenda. Why did we also get a chancellor with only a few years left probably as an educator who lived & loved North Carolina for 35 years. The people in the know are working toward an objective. Big monies are on the move. Watch out.

beagledog 6 years ago

of course mangino's colleagues are going to get behind him, that is, if they don't get lost. they won't say anything bad about him. Look at nixon's friends; they never bad-mouthed him, even tho they knew he was guilty as hell. LJW should go to police department if they want to get some dirt on the fat man. Check out the (allegged at this time) reports on domestic violence that could have been swept under the rug. Because he would not move his show up a day early, he is forcing workers at buffalo wild wings to have to work. I'm sure most of them would rather be with their families than catering to a selfish, egotistical, manical person who cares about no one except himself.

beagledog 6 years ago

they are closed 2 days a year, thanksgiving being one of them. there are more important things than football

beagledog 6 years ago

no, i am a regular there and have been going there for quite some time. the staff takes care of me and I take care of them. There is always a place for me, no matter how busy they are.

budwhysir 6 years ago

I love how the debate over this has taken us so far away from the misuse of corporate funds that allow KU to have a sports program in the first place.

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