Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Mangino makes rare public appearances


— Mark Mangino doesn't get out much.

For the last two days, however, Kansas University's first-year football coach has been out and about, shaking hands, greeting fans and making nice with the media.

It's hard, Mangino said, for him to say no when people ask him to make personal appearances, but he declines more often than not.

"I'd like to accommodate everyone, but it's not possible," said Mangino, who spoke to about 200 KU fans on Sunday night in Overland Park and met with about 60 media members Monday at an Associated Press sports editors meeting in Kansas City, Mo.

Mangino tries to limit his appearances to events related to KU donors and friends of the program and to events in prime recruiting areas.

"A lot of you probably think I'm a fairly anonymous person and I don't get out much, and you're right," he said Sunday. "I can't get our football team ready if I'm driving in my car every day. I can only prepare our players if I'm in my office, if I'm at the stadium, if I'm in the places I need to be to build a championship ballclub."

Kansas hasn't had a winning season since 1995 and Mangino wants to produce a winner as soon as possible.

"I'm doing what's best for our players, and what's best for our players is for their head coach to be in the office every day helping them get ready for the upcoming season," he said.

Old friends: In the Big 12 Conference, Mangino will have to coach against his old bosses, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Kansas State's Bill Snyder.

"I told Bob on my last day at Oklahoma, 'I'll see you in a couple years. Be ready.' He started laughing and said, 'Don't worry. We'll be ready.'"

KU won't play Oklahoma again until 2004, but the Jayhawks play in-state rival KSU every season.

Mangino said he learned a lot from both Snyder and Stoops and has good friends and both schools. That won't matter on game days.

"For three hours, I don't care who we're playing against," he said. "I'm going to try to win it."

That "other" team: Mangino isn't concerned about the perception Kansas is a basketball school.

"We don't compete against our basketball team," he said. "They're not on our schedule."

Mangino related how basketball coach Roy Williams invited a group of football recruits and their families into his office before a game last winter.

"We had a lot of kids commit to us that weekend, and in the future, out of that group," Mangino said. "I really appreciate coach Williams."

Summer report: Mangino's staff conducted a four-day camp this summer at KU, a one-day camp at Wichita and a seven-on-seven camp on campus. The camps exposed about 1,000 players many potential recruits to KU football. That number doubled his expectations, Mangino said.

Many of KU's coaches are on vacation this week. The staff will return July 29, working 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. most days. KU's freshmen will report Aug. 5, and the rest of the team on Aug. 8. Two-a-day practices will start Aug. 10.

Cyclones first: Mangino would prefer to open the season with a nonconference home game, but KU had already agreed to its Aug. 31 contest against Big 12 Conference rival Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, when he was hired in December.

Still, KU's coach sees one advantage to playing ISU, which will open its season a week earlier against perennial national power Florida State in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

"You know they're spending all summer working on Florida State," Mangino said.

Hawk Talk: Mangino won't do a weekly TV show, but he will do a weekly radio show. Former coach Terry Allen did his radio show on Monday nights, but Mangino has moved the show to Thursday nights because he wants more time early in the week to work on scouting and game plans.

New uniforms: KU unveiled its new dark blue uniforms they're similar to the New York Giants at the spring game. The Jayhawks' new helmets have "KU" in white letters with red trim, replacing the red letters on the previous helmets.

Mangino said the new lettering will be easier to see on television.

"When you're playing a game on television, that's a recruiting tool for you," he said. "Every time a camera is on a player's helmet, you want that KU to jump out at you on TV."

On the road: Mangino said the players' road dress code will be collared shirts, slacks and dress shoes.

"I'm not going to have them in suits and ties because that's not what college kids are comfortable in, and that's not them," he said. "We can still have responsible, courteous, polite young men and not have them in jackets and ties."

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