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Archive for Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Fam, now MU: KU looking at void

Former KU football coach Don Fambrough, was honored by former players in 2007 when they presented him with a memorial bench in his name, overlooking Memorial Stadium from near the Campanile. Nearby, the bench is a wreath with a blue ribbon saying "Beloved Coach." Fambrough — a noted hater of all things Missouri — died in September. Saturday could mark the end of the rivalry between his Jayhawks and the team he loved to hate, leaving KU fans two marked voids.

Former KU football coach Don Fambrough, was honored by former players in 2007 when they presented him with a memorial bench in his name, overlooking Memorial Stadium from near the Campanile. Nearby, the bench is a wreath with a blue ribbon saying "Beloved Coach." Fambrough — a noted hater of all things Missouri — died in September. Saturday could mark the end of the rivalry between his Jayhawks and the team he loved to hate, leaving KU fans two marked voids.

November 26, 2011

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Players ready for Border War

The Kansas football team is preparing to take on Missouri in what could be the last meeting between the rival schools, with the Tigers leaving the Big 12 Conference. Enlarge video

When Kansas University icon Don Fambrough passed away in September at the age of 88, it left a void in the hearts of thousands of people close to KU.

Later today, when the final gun sounds on the 120th playing of the Kansas-Missouri football rivalry at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., the Jayhawks, almost immediately, will have yet another pronounced void to fill.

For decades, few things have been as easy to count on as the intensity of the Border War and Fambrough’s raging hatred of the Tigers. With Fambrough no longer here to spit his anti-Mizzou venom and the Tigers ready to head off to the Southeastern Conference, perhaps as soon as next season, Kansas, and in particular Kansas football, will be forced to move forward without two of its most notable customs.

Known for years for delivering his fiery Civil War speech to the KU football team during Missouri Week, Fambrough’s star always shined brightest when the Tigers were in his crosshairs. As a player, from 1946-47, and again during two stints as KU’s head coach — from 1971-74 and 1979-82 — Fambrough was 6-4 against the Tigers — four losses too many, 4,000 wins too few.

“This is his week,” former Fambrough player and current Jayhawk broadcaster David Lawrence said. “That’s when he was called upon by fans and the team.”

For those who knew Fambrough, his absence tugs on their heart strings in ways beyond football. To some he was a father, to others a friend, and still to more a familiar face that brought comfort and a few laughs. That list includes several of KU’s current players. Not all of them were lucky enough to witness one of coach Fam’s Missouri Week speeches, but several did. And they won’t soon forget it.

“I remember all the years of him coming in before the Missouri game,” senior AJ Steward said. “He really educated me on the rivalry and put the passion into my heart. I’ve always known about the rivalry, especially growing up in St. Louis, but just to hear his perspective on it made me realize that this is bigger than just a game. It’ll be emotional for a lot of people not having coach Fambrough there, but that should put even more passion in our hearts to play. He really wants us to win this game, especially since it might be the last time we ever play Missouri.”

While this year’s game figures to be overflowing with Fambrough emotions, that will dwindle in time. There always will be those who knew him, or knew his stories, but as the years pass and the gap widens between present day and the last time Fambrough fired up a KU football team, a special part of KU’s rich tradition will be missing.

“Fam was the first to say that talk has never been responsible for a game,” Lawrence said. “But I do think that that message he brought did make a difference in some capacity. So, how big a void? It’s just hard for me to say. But it will be a void, there’s no question about that.”

Former KU great John Hadl, who starred at Kansas a decade after Fambrough finished playing, said the responsibility of carrying the torch for KU football, which Fambrough did so well, lands on the shoulders of several Jayhawks past and present.

“There’s nobody that’s gonna take Fambrough’s place,” Hadl said. “That’s a one-of-a-kind deal, and people understand that, I’m sure. I don’t know how we’re gonna handle that, but it’s just gonna be a natural happening. I don’t think you can plan that.”

While filling Fambrough’s shoes may take time, many Jayhawks said they’re not shedding any tears over what looks to be end of the Border War rivalry. Would they like it to continue? Sure. But will it ever really die?

“We’re still gonna be taught the history of what happened, because it’s history, it’s American history, and we’re gonna be talking about that,” senior offensive lineman Jeff Spikes said, referring to Kansas and Missouri’s ties to the Civil War. “But I think Missouri’s gonna miss out more than Kansas will because they chose to leave. They’re the ones that are gonna give up a big game and give up such a big part of history. To give that up and miss out on the No. 1 rivalry in the country, how can you be the guy that chooses to back out? That makes no sense. I want to continue the rivalry with my brother forever. It makes me upset.”

Added Lawrence: “We do need to do what’s best for us, and if it doesn’t include Missouri it’s not gonna hurt my feelings. But it’ll be different. And how we’ll feel about this in five years, I don’t know.”

Comments

Loki 2 years, 4 months ago

Hard pill to swallow KU fans when no power house division came courting your school!

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rutherfordvangleason 2 years, 4 months ago

The conference Kansas and Missouri joined together doesn't exist anymore. It hasn't since the Big 8 went for the money and allowed the Texas schools to join. I don't know what you people are talking about. This rivalry had nothing to do "conference" when it first began why are you all stuck on it now?

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anon1958 2 years, 4 months ago

The number of tickets reportedly sold to KU fans does not suggest that this rivalry is really all that important to Jayhawk nation. The number of student tickets sold is just shockingly small.

I dont doubt that the rivalry is a very big deal to some of the people posting here, but the number of tickets sold suggest that it is not really that big of a deal to many people.

Sure, KU sucks worse than normal this year but if the rivalry really had widespread significance then people would be going anyway. As reported by the JW there has been a continual decline in ticket sales since the game launched at Arrrowhead.

MU will play KU again whenever the administrators running the show calculate that it is to their financial advantage, the opinion of fans, coaches and players really just doesnt enter into the equation.

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey Denali, the Kitty from mizzou are just a bunch of wanta-be's, you have a Hawk rooting for you and your Vol's next season----

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denali 2 years, 4 months ago

Dear Missouri,

Welcome to the SEC, where you're going to taken to the woodshed and sent to your room on a weekly basis. Unfortunately for you, you don't have the tradition or even the talent of the lowest member of the SEC family. There is an old saying about "Where swims the sharks, swims the remora." Well, you just jumped into the shark tank.

No Love, Denali Rabid Tennessee Vol and SEC fan.

P.S.- Much love and luck to our friends over on the KU football team. Bury your cleats in Mizzou's rear one last time for Coach Fam, boys!

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 4 months ago

If I remember this right our present (((coach?????))) would not invite "COACH"" to fire up the gang, not like the present guy limp voice speach, this is last step before some turn pro, they are big boys, and have heard all the "words" that present fellow don't like used in the lockerroom ------goodbye ''''LITTL KITTYS"""

'

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greenworld 2 years, 4 months ago

Lets win this one for Coach Fam if anything. No better feeling than the last thing remembering is beating Mizzou on the last time we play them and not only that especially when they cant even figure out the stupid overall record of how many wins each team has.

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JustNoticed 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow, lots of reasons not to give a crap about sports.

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rtwngr 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey Mizzoufan,

MU started this whole mess 3 years ago when it decided to leak false information to the media that they were receiving an invitation to join the Big 10. As it turned out the information was erroneous (that means without fact or in error for those of you actually living in Missouri) and Mizzou was invited to shut up. Like throwing a cigarette out of a car window, it started a fire that sent Nebraska to the Big 10 and Colorado to the Pac 10, 12, or whatever the heck they are. Mizzou instigated all of this. That is why we say, good riddance. We don't need a troublemaker in the group and if you think you're big enough to play in the SEC, so be it. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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uglyrumor 2 years, 4 months ago

This is all on mu. Sometimes we are faced with hard decisions that show what kind of character we are made of. mu made their decision and KU is making one that I think shows integrity. mu left for selfish reasons, KU said good riddance. As a KU hater, I say great job KU!

Go Cyclones! (who let an instant sell-out w/ nu fall by the wayside, because some things are more important than money)

btw: there is no national news about this.

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KSchulz 2 years, 4 months ago

"forced to move forward without two of its most notable customs."

I understand Coach Fam is dead, but I thought Misery wants to still play this.

Call me an minority on this subject, but there's still only two games I circle on my calendar (KSU and MU). I see only one custom dying here (Coach Fam). With MU joining the other slavers, I think the civil war references write themselves.

Remove the game at Arrowhead and move it to back to campus where it belongs. . . Do you really think any other non-con opponent will generate this much buzz as against the slavers?

I'm not living in Lawrence or KC so I see mainly national news about this and it doesn't appear many are taking our administration's stance here guys.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

This is a good thing. Now KU plays all home games at home instead of Lawrence,Kansas losing more than a million dollars in revenue because the MU-KU home game is played in KCMO.

Bring it all back home!!!

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Larry 2 years, 4 months ago

Mizzoufan So you're saying that KU should buy out already signed contracts with other non-confs school (which are many times set years in advance) so we can continue playing the spoiled kid who constantly whines and wants to take his ball down the street for what he perceives as greener fields. Good grief....yes, the rivalry has been fun, but why on earth does Mizzou have such a high opinion of themselves? For Kansas, loyalty to our Big 12 family is more important than continuing to play a classless bunch of cry babies. There's a reason the Orange Bowl committee selected Kansas a few years ago and it starts with Mizzou taking a look in the mirror.

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fancy80 2 years, 4 months ago

it also would have been very easy for MU to remain loyal and stay in the conference, instead of trying to screw everyone in the big12 over twice...Lots of schools do it. Don't let the door hit your a$$ on the way out.

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Mizzoufan 2 years, 4 months ago

MU leaving for the SEC doesn't mean the rivalry has to stop being played. KU is the one refusing to play us. It would be very easy to schedule KU as a non conference opponent. Lots of schools do it.

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