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If this is the end, how will Mangino be remembered?
Saturday's conclusion to the Border War was a microcosm of the Kansas University football season in 2009.
Promising in the beginning. Horrifying in the end.
Kansas dropped its seventh straight game, 41-39, on Saturday against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium. The Jayhawks, who began the season 5-0, finished the season a catastrophic 5-7.
No Big 12 North title. Hell, no bowl game. And more than likely, no coach, before too long.
If Saturday was Mark Mangino's last game coaching on the KU sidelines, here's guessing the 2009 Border War gets mentioned in casual Lawrence community sports conversation before the 2008 Orange Bowl.
Richard Gwin/Journal-World Photo
Mangino's image could have been partially saved had Kansas defeated Missouri. I'm not saying his job could have been saved. But let's be real: Beating Missouri would have gone a long way into winning over some KU fans that were on the fence about their embattled coach. That's just how the bitter rivalry goes.
Instead, I notice a KU fan base that's so fed up with Mangino's clock management that it just wants the coach gone already.
In a sense, I can't blame the livid KU fan. The Jayhawks had no reason to lose to Missouri, based on how the first three quarters played out. Had Kansas taken better care of the ball with 2:59 left, protecting a three-point lead, the outcome would have been different. I'm no offensive mastermind, but two consecutive passes — both of which fell incomplete — doesn't do a whole lot to drain the clock on a Missouri team that only had one timeout left.
Furthermore, a designed quarterback draw on third down that had Todd Reesing drop back as far as he did, as to flirt with a large portion of the end zone, was dangerous. The result: a Mizzou safety and a silver-platter formula to beat Kansas in the closing seconds with a field goal.
Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo
The Border War loss, coupled with the KU athletic department's investigation into Mangino's treatment of players, will be how the coach is remembered on a basic level. Whether that's right or not, I'm not entirely sure. But it's reality.
The 12-1 Orange Bowl season won't be remembered at the forefront of people's minds when they reflect on the Mangino era. Neither will the numerous football facility upgrades during his tenure. The first back-to-back bowl games in KU history. Mangino's coach of the year award. His unique ability to take two- and three-star recruits and turn them into above-average gems on the football field. Some even made the NFL.
In the dreaded depths of a seven-game losing streak, the negative will always outweigh the positive.
With a 50-48 record in eight seasons, Mangino missed being the winningest coach in KU history by two games. A.R. Kennedy holds that record with 52 victories from 1904-1910.
So, is Mangino the best coach in KU history?
As always, discuss.
KU's coaching timeline
- E.M. Hopkins (1891): 7-0-1, .938
- A.W. Shepard (1892-1893): 9-6, .600
- Hector Cowan (1894-1896): 15-7-1, .674
- Wylle G. Woodruff (1897-1898): 15-3, .833
- Fielding H. Yost (1899): 10-0, 1.000
- Charles Boynton (1900): 2-5-2, .333
- John Outland (1901): 3-5-2, .400
- Arthur Curtis (1902): 6-4, .600
- Harrison S. Weeks (1903): 6-3, .667
- A.R. Kennedy (1904-1910): 52-9-4, .831
- Ralph W. Sherwin (1911): 4-2-2, .625
- Arthur Mosse (1912-1913): 9-7, .563
- H.M. Wheaton (1914): 5-2-1, .688
- Herman Olcott (1915-1917): 16-7-1, .688
- Jay Bond (1918): 2-2, .500
- Leon McCarty (1919): 3-2-3, .563
- Forrest G. Allen (1920): 5-2-1, .688
- Potsy Clark (1921-1925): 16-17-6, .487
- Franklin Cappon (1926-1927): 5-10-1, .344
- Bill Hargiss (1928-1932): 22-18-2, .538
- Ad Lindsey (1933-1938): 23-30-8, .443
- Gwinn Henry (1939-1942): 9-27, .252
- Henry Shenk (1943-1945): 11-16-3, .417
- George Sauer (1946-1947): 15-3-3, .786
- J.V. Sikes (1948-1953): 35-25, .583
- Chuck Mather (1954-1957): 11-26-3, .313
- Jack Mitchell (1958-1966): 44-42-5, .511
- Pepper Rodgers (1967-1970): 20-22, .476
- Don Fambrough (1971-1974): 19-25-1, .433
- Bud Moore (1975-1978): 17-27-1, .389
- Don Fambrough (1979-1982): 17-24-4, .422
- Mike Gottfried (1983-1985): 15-18-1, .456
- Bob Valesente (1986-1987): 4-17-1, .205
- Glen Mason (1988-1996): 47-54-1, .466
- Terry Allen (1997-2001): 20-33, .379
- Mark Mangino (2002-present): 50-48, .510