Archive for Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mangino not living on his knees

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino looks up to the booth during the second quarter, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas head coach Mark Mangino looks up to the booth during the second quarter, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, at Arrowhead Stadium.

November 29, 2009


KU vs. Missouri

Highlights from the Saturday contest between Kansas and Missouri.

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— He didn’t win the thrilling football game Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium, and for that he felt genuinely bad for his players, especially a senior class that won 20 games in the middle two seasons of their careers.

But if someone thinks a seventh loss in a row, this one by a 41-39 margin to chief rival Missouri, means Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino will go away quietly on somebody else’s terms, well, that someone must not ever have encountered a wounded Bear.

Barring the biggest upset in sports history, Mangino has coached his final game at Kansas. Any day now, he’ll reach the end of the plank he has walked for two weeks. He supplied after Saturday’s loss the words that will be carved into the tombstone of his KU tenure: “A friend of mine told me something one time that I think is a very, very good way to go about life, and that is, ‘I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.’”

He did it his way. He coached using fear and intimidation to establish the two words — “structure” and “discipline” — he said were his marching orders when he took the job he performed for eight seasons. Some of his former players came out with disturbing allegations about the way the coach berated them with a mean-spirited tongue after it became public that the athletic department was investigating Mangino for the way he handled players. After that, players lined up to support him. More of them backed him after Saturday’s loss.

Cut through the words of Mangino and the silence of athletic director Lew Perkins — two smart, hard-headed men accustomed to getting their way — and what remains is a stare-down. Mangino sits at one corner of the playground, Perkins at the other. Smack-dab in the middle sits an estimated $6.6 million. Somewhere in that playground, lawyers will try to find a middle ground, a means of divvying up that money.

Charges leveled by former players through the media already have damaged Mangino’s chances of recruiting football talent. Lori Williams, associate athletic director/risk management, hired by Perkins in September and assigned two weeks ago by him to investigate the football coach, has been interviewing current players and assistant coaches to find out more about Mangino’s approach with players.

Regrets? Mangino has fewer than Frank Sinatra did, and his were too few to mention.

A reporter asked Mangino what he would do if his bosses told him he could keep his job as long as he changed his approached, toned it down.

“You’re coming with the assumption it needs to be toned down,” Mangino said. “I’m going to tell you how I coach is how I coach. Ninety-nine percent of the kids here appreciate it. They appreciate the way I care for them. I make sure they get the best health care, that they’re doing their academics, are working toward a degree. We spend a lot of time counseling players.”

If Mangino’s math is correct about how many of his players appreciate his style, Williams won’t have much of a file. The file, those in the know say, is thick and pre-dates Williams’ report. It didn’t bite the coach until now, in the midst of a losing streak marred with the sort of shaky defense and odd play-calling that undid Kansas in its final possession Saturday, one that ended in a safety.

A reference to unflattering reports of the coach’s treatment of others — such as a student parking-lot attendant — Mangino again defended himself.

“Let me tell you something,” he said, “everybody has a different perception of people, especially when you have a profile such as a college football coach, and I will tell you that I may be one of the more pleasant people to deal with in college football. Trust me.”

And those were the last words he spoke from a game-day podium as Kansas coach, on the losing side for the 48th time against 50 victories. He started with a 12-24 record in three seasons and finished with a seven-game losing streak. In between, he went 38-17, including a 3-0 record in bowl games during that stretch.

Throughout the two-week investigation, senior receiver Kerry Meier was Mangino’s most vocal supporter. Jake Sharp, ever the football player with entire focus trained on the next game, said little until Saturday.

“I’ve got to thank coach for giving me the opportunity to come here to the University of Kansas, and I feel very blessed to have him as my coach,” Sharp said. “With all this stuff going on, he never wavered. He never came to practice halfway. He was all-in. He had us focused in, and we didn’t even worry about it. That’s why earlier in the week I was asked to comment on it, I didn’t even want to talk about it because that was my coach. I have the utmost respect for him and what he’s done for this program. I think everybody else on the outside should, too. ... Coach coaches hard. You can’t fault him for that.”

Junior receiver Dezmon Briscoe, a mega-talent who sometimes does a better job of getting out of the way of tacklers than out of his own way, was emotional in his backing of his coach.

“It’s been hard,” Briscoe said. “He’s taken a lot of criticism, but to me he’s a great guy and a great coach. I go to him sometimes and talk to him about my personal problems. He’s really a helpful guy, and I really hope he returns next year. My high school coach was very tough, and I sometimes tend to put myself in tough situations. I think I need a tough coach.”

He had a tough coach, a little too tough in the eyes of some, and of late not successful enough to survive his flaws.


yankeevet 8 years, 5 months ago

A wounded bear? die on his feet? and he did it his way? how about once upon a time????

Bobo Fleming 8 years, 5 months ago

Watched KU football for 60 years. Saw the worst coaching performance Ive seen during that time period. Was he trying to blow the game? Crazy idea but how else would he call those last few plays?

rabbit 8 years, 5 months ago

Coaches don't win football games Players win football game!

ksharddem 8 years, 5 months ago

If I was Mangino, I would be now worried about where I might end up. If this report comes out and states that he is assaulting players, what major University is going to put him in charge? Now Mangino and his lawyers need to protect his potential future. Cut a deal with the University to not release the findings take a little cash and move on. The only party that can suffer here in this situation is Mangino.

nowthetruth 8 years, 5 months ago

I was a college athlete, it is a hard road. You work hard, take a lot of grief from your coaches, and come out at the end with an education and a tolerance for a tough personalities. Coaches are not paid to be "loving and kind hearted". They are paid to win games, be it football, basketball, baseball or soccer. When teams are winning; the style is applauded. When teams are losing; the style is criticized. End of story......

Jerry Collins 8 years, 5 months ago

If it had worked, commentators would of called it genius. If you make the 1st down, you cinch the game. If not you give MU the ball on a short field with a defense that has not been able to stop them all day, needing only a few yards to set up one of the best field goal kickers around. Hammer Mangino all you want, but I have enjoyed the wide open offense that he brought here. Was tired of the old 3 yards and a cloud of astro turf. Good luck in finding a new coach that will provide us with such an exciting offense.

Matt Bowers 8 years, 5 months ago

GOCAWO couldn't be more correct. It is hard to dismiss the timing of all of this and without Lew talking, this smacks of Duke Lacrosse all over again. Let's not rush to judgement about these allegations. Hopefully justice will be served and blindly.

I hate this loss for our seniors that have sacrificed so much for Kansas Football, I wish all of you success in the future, and thank you for all the great memories.

Rock Chalk

beagledog 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree with nowthetruth; how really true it is. I have been anti-mangino since the allegations of both player and (possibly) domestic problems have arisen. KU had a chance to win the game yesterday; all they had to do was run some clock, force mizzou to use their time outs, and get a first down or two. Instead, mangenius decides to throw the ball, and on third down reesing dies in the end zone. worst play calling I have ever seen. Even the commentators were wondering why KU didn't run the ball. Personally I enjoyed the high scoring game, all the great plays, and watching briscoe and reesing pile up the numbers on the way towards a possible victory. They say it isn't over till the fat lady sings, but I can hear someone warming up right now. I think we know where the blame lies for this loss.

Bobo Fleming 8 years, 5 months ago

fat lady is on stage singing Wagner "Twlight of the Gods."

greenworld 8 years, 5 months ago

Hey-Overall I believe that game was probably the most entertaining to watch of all. You guys calling out the coach for bad play calling on one possission. So the other 39 points we scored was bad play calling also. Huh, a bunch of hypocrits. Typical to always try and break a game down by one poss. I remember quite a few turnover's we had and also if you look at the score our offense didnt give up 41 points. The defense gave up some huge plays/runs and came back strong at the end when we needed them but in the end we werent the one that had the ball last. The thing I did notice is we rushed 4 defensive lineman the whole game and only sacked their QB once I think. The tx game we blitzed and got to Mccoy more than once and seemed way more effective on defense.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 5 months ago

What a strange season. At first, I had trouble accepting some of the charges against Mgo, but in the past few days, these problems seemed to have dried up. I had thin skin as an athlete, to my detriment. I didn't understand that coaches had to use psychology and emotion to win and sometimes that can get ugly.

If Mgo is forced out, I do not want to see a "player friendly" coach who carries on like he's a twenty-something. But pendulums swing in one direction.

At any rate, I agree with Mgo when he said that this team (seniors) will be remembered by all the other accomplishments that they achieved. They certainly will for me! Thanks, Seniors! You made the last four years of KU football worth watching, even this year, and that hasn't happened around here in a long, long time.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

Increasing the Mangino wage to 3 million says his coaching style was acceptable. ESPN noted Mangino was one of highest paid in the nation so is Mr. Perkins a reckless spender?

The trouble is at the top. Messy messy messy.

It wiil require more than a new coach to fill the empty high dollar suites and improve creative Grid Iron club finances.

Other than millions of dollars why would any coach want to come here after watching the top level irresponsible knife in the back management style?

SoupBone 8 years, 5 months ago

"Other than millions of dollars..."???

SWJayhawk13 8 years, 5 months ago

Mangino has already been offered an assistant coaching job for a university in Texas. He was offered the position for the offensive line coach (I'm dead serious, no pun intended). So yeah, we'll probably be losing him here soon.

Have to say, this headline caught my attention, haha.

greenworld 8 years, 5 months ago

Mangino is a good coach. The problem isnt the coach it is the players. TO many coming up these days have been spoonfed and dont like people either disciplining them or telling them what to do. I dont believe getting rid of Mangino solves very much. No matter who we bring in, if the coach and AD arent on the same page then it will just be another witchhunt and losing football program.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

I think that Lew is smart enough to know that he needs to keep HCMM on the job. We can win with Mark (this season, in my mind, was a fluke). We have won with Mark. We've made many good decisions about effective recruiting. Firing HCMM would be a step backward from a program-building and recruitment standpoint.

I fully believe that he will stay.

Larry Bauerle Jr. 8 years, 5 months ago

It's ironic that Arist Wright was offended by a finger in the chest. I have been offended all season watching Arist Wright play "linebacker."

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

I have a little inside info. This is not something I heard from a guy who used to date the janitor at Allen Fieldhouse: this is straight from the top.

This is not a sham of an investigation. This is a bona-fide investigation that will take some time. They are not doing this to go through the motions so they can justify firing him.

RiverCityConservative 8 years, 5 months ago

This guy turned the football program around. That Orange Bowl was great. It's been a rough patch this season, but it would be short-sighted to fire him right now. It sounds like there has been some tough talk but certainly no physical abuse or anything like that. This dispute has been handled well by Mangino and the current players, and not well by the athletic director. Come out and shake hands and get on with things. It's time to enjoy basketball season now anyway.

phoggyjay 8 years, 4 months ago

Is there any way to stop the k-state clothing banner at the bottom of the page? I've seen it for weeks...getting sick of it.

budwhysir 8 years, 4 months ago

I would say this article is just a good way to make fun of a coach. However, I believe the play calls made during the game where ones done under pressure. Lets face it, he is under investigation for things no one has mentioned, he has had no conversations with Perkins about where the investigation is leading, and he was about to loose his last game as coach of the Jayhawks. Wouldnt you be nervous??? On to bigger news, didnt we loose a bid to get a wind generator business here in town??? Wouldnt this be a bigger loss than a football coach??

TopJayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Coaches don't win football games payers do. That is right, but bad coaching loses football games. I was in Mangino's corner, but after he intentionally gave that game away. I've never seen such bad play calling.
I say "Out with him."

TopJayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

budwhyser Under pressure? Thatis what big-time coaching is.
If you can't handle presure, go get a regular job for regular wages. No, the play calling was atrocious. Unforgivable.

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