Sunday, November 2, 2008


Keegan: Clock is ticking on Prince’s tenure


KU football defeats KSU

The 106th edition of the Sunflower State Showdown belongs to KU's kid from the Sunflower State. Salina native Jake Sharp rushed for four touchdowns, 181 yards and had 5 pass receptions.

Audio clips

2008 KU-KSU football

Reader poll

Who was KU's defensive MVP against Kansas State?

  • Daymond Patterson 2% 35 votes
  • James Holt 54% 823 votes
  • Darrell Stuckey 8% 125 votes
  • Jake Laptad 11% 178 votes
  • Russell Brorsen 14% 216 votes
  • Clint Bowen 6% 103 votes
  • Other 1% 26 votes

1506 total votes.

How fitting that the week started with a Kansas State player talking so tall and ended with the team walking so small. What a perfect way to capture the expiring Ron Prince era. All talk. So much style, so little substance.

Listen to the man talk, and you leave impressed with his intelligence. Watch the man coach football, and you wonder why he's so eager to prove how smart he is by forgoing the obvious, traditional way to achieve success and opting for something just a wee bit cuter, a touch smarter. He could have sold New Coke brilliantly, and you would have believed in it, at least until you tasted it. Round wheels? Fine for common thinkers, but wait until you see my square-wheeled Batmobile peel out of the bat cave.

It wasn't until the very first Kansas State player touched the ball Saturday that Prince had a chance to make Mark Mangino look by comparison like the caveman from the Geico commercials.

Deon Murphy, the player who earlier in the week guaranteed he would "take one to the crib," fielded the kickoff, but it wasn't enough to simply try to return it as far as he could to give K-State field position to make something happen. No, a reverse would get more style points. Murphy handed off to Brandon Banks, who ran sideways and in reverse and left K-State with the ball on the eight-yard line, no place to try to whittle away at a one-touchdown deficit.

An appropriate start to a virtual end of a blink-and-you-missed-it era. By the end of a game in which K-State twice in the third quarter went for it on fourth-and-long inside its 30, was penalized 98 yards and could neither block nor tackle, the scoreboard showed Kansas 52, Kansas State 21.

As expected, the game plan centered on Jake Sharp (181 rushing yards and four touchdowns, 76 receiving yards), and there was nothing the Wildcats could do to stop him.

Kansas needed to mend its wounded confidence and decaying defense and in the Wildcats found the tonic. This game shaped us as one that would save one team's season and seal the other's, but who knew it would be this definitive?

Prince's regime began with such optimism. In June of 2006, when he came to his first 'Catbacker event in Lawrence, a golf outing at Alvamar, he commented on the huge turnout: "Not surprised at all. Every single event we've had this summer, we've broken the attendance record. I haven't been surprised at all by the number of people that have come out."

Memo to Alvamar pro Randy Towner: Book a tee time for next June for Texas Christian University coach Gary Patterson, a former K-State strong safety and outside linebacker.

Kansas State hasn't made a coaching change yet, but don't kid yourself, Prince's purple reign ended Saturday. It won't become official until after the season, but this was his best shot to buy himself a fourth year. He shoved all his chips to the center of the table and put them on the dully named Sunflower Showdown.

The countdown clock in the K-State locker room that ticks down to the next week's game had been set on the Kansas game all summer. Little did Prince suspect at the time that it actually symbolized the days, hours, minutes and seconds left of his job security.


Karen Mansfield-Stewart 9 years, 6 months ago

All style and no substance.... he should get into politics too.

ajs10 9 years, 6 months ago

I hope that KSU keeps Prince around...its fun to watch him run them into the ground.

hawkman162 9 years, 6 months ago

Lets not forget how the great Bill Snyder left this program with no talent and 2 losing seasons! I seam to remember KU being laughed at when we hired our PHAT coach in Mangenius!! Who is laughing now.

Winnie 9 years, 6 months ago

Off topic, but can anyone say, "Barack Obama?"

Ryan Gerstner 9 years, 6 months ago

And just think, K-State just gave Prince that expensive new contract extension that makes it a lot more expensive to fire him. A bunch of geniuses out west I tell you.

speedy 9 years, 6 months ago

why is it the high and mighty sportswriters have taken it upon themselves to hire and fire coaches?? espn started this trend and now even the small time writers are doing it. let the fools at espn look like the jerks that they are.the other day they called for firing a coach after he lost the first game of the season. bill snyder is/was the problem. he let all of his good asst. coaches get away and k-st. did not keep any of them. its back to the bad ole days around there. KU has improved but they should have kept the defence coach that was here last year. KEEP THE GOOD COACHES and you won,t be always rebuilding. good game team!

Kyle Crenshaw 9 years, 6 months ago

i agree ajs10... ive actually enjoyed prince being at ksu!

Fred Davis 9 years, 6 months ago

I had the chance to interview Ron Prince before the season started, and like Keegan pointed out, the guy is tremendously well-spoken, and after listening to him, you do think the guy has what it takes to turn K-State back to what it once was...But it's amazing how this team just never gets it done on the field, and perhaps its just Prince trying to out-think the other side too much, when as Keegan pointed out, just stick with the basics... The mess at K-State goes beyond Prince, and it really engulfs the whole athletic department... Frank Martin is a joke, that program is headed nowhere fast and its clear that Prince has to make some wholesale changes himself if he's going to make it as a head coach... I believe Prince fundamentally has what it takes to become a successful head coach, but he's got to get a better handle on recruiting and retaining assistant coaches if he's going to make it happen...

rolo2383 9 years, 6 months ago

I hate the thought of Gary Patterson in Manhattan. He's a great coach.Ron Prince may be a smart guy but he instills absolutely no discipline into his program. He recruits and signs anyone who wants to come play on the team. He's started everyone on the roster. There is no chance for this team to ever develop any unity. I say he should be given a chance to finish out his contract to see if he can turn the program around. ;)

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

As many of you here know, I had a Games Attended Streak of 25 consecutive Kansas football contests. From the Tangerine to Fort Worth Bowls, plus the 2006 home opener.On Saturday, fabio attended his 26th consecutive Kansas football game ...CONGRATS on breaking my record, buddy!

eastcoasthawk 9 years, 6 months ago

FOUR MORE YEARS FOR PRINCE!Something we will not be chanting in 4 years no matter who is elected on Tuesday.

Rob Keeney 9 years, 6 months ago

rolo, K-SUck is a huge step down for Patterson at this point.

bpjhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

"Off topic, but can anyone say, 'Barack Obama?'"Off topic?!?! Try from several miles past left field.If we could please leave the political BS with the political BS stories, these pages will be far more enjoyable. There's a reason I only read the sports page after Columbus Day and that is to avoid the comments like the one by winnie.

yovoy 9 years, 6 months ago

it seems to me that prince is biding his time until freeman is gone. i don't know if prince is trying to "nurse" freeman to the league by not sitting him or if he really thinks this kid can do the job. either way, prince is not the one who goes onto the field w/ the coach's gameplan and then just ad-libs until the plan is completely destroyed; freeman does that. the mistakes this kid makes make it hard for a coach to do anything. i don't know anything about his assistants, but prince would surely feel better about his job if his qb quit trying to improvise. he's so over-convinced of his ability at qb, that his success is what creates his delusion that he can get away with the things he tries to do. i've never seen a "good" qb run right, then throw left across the field as much as i've seen freeman try to do it. he completes it just enough to make himself think he can do it all the time. i've honestly not ever seen a kid's success hinder his team like i have freeman.the fact that prince keeps this kid in makes me wonder if they even have a decent qb on the bench. freeman has the tools - so they say - but he uses them like barmann did, and that's to say poorly and to the detriment of his team.

Chad Dexter 9 years, 6 months ago

Just to play devil's advocate on the question of why Patterson would even think of going to KSU. How about a chance to play in a much better conference? A BCS conference? Plus, a chance to coach his alma mater. Not saying this is enough for him to make that move. Just saying this is reason enough to think it is possible.

9 years, 6 months ago

tmcats ~ How was KSU in football prior to Snyder arriving? Several years into his campaign, you guys were still the losingest Division I college football program of all time. Have you seen our all-time head-to-head record in football (65KU-36KSU-5)? And since you mention hoops, have you seen that record as well (175KU-90KSU)? Once you guys win a National Championship in ANY sport, then you can come mix it up with the big dogs. Until then, you may want to stay on the porch.

CheneyHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Where was Logan Dold on Saturday? A starter on the sideline for the entirety of the game?

nameer 9 years, 6 months ago

Actually, Prince's new contract was signed specifically because it contains a very explicit buyout clause in case this season doesn't meet expectations. They basically signed him to the new contract so as not to harm recruiting, but made sure that they were giving themselves a way out as well. Pretty smart if you ask me.

Chad Dexter 9 years, 6 months ago

speedy,KU let Bill Young go because he wanted to go finish out his career and probably retire in Florida. Plus, they had a young guy waiting in the wings. Bowen had the title of "co" defensive coordinator anyway. So, he was already a major influence on the defense as it was. It was just time to take off the training wheels and let the young guy blossom. That would have been impossible if Bill Young were still here. Was it a bad decision? I don't think so. But only time will tell.

Ryan Avery 9 years, 6 months ago

Keegan deserves some serious credit here - "Prince's purple reign ended Saturday". That is the funniest thing I've read in quite a while!

yovoy 9 years, 6 months ago

i can: "hussein".i'm scared, i'm scared. hold me. buncha idiots.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 6 months ago

Isn't Keegan a sports editor? If so, wouldn't that make this an editorial and not sports news? I think his job is to give his opinion.

9 years, 6 months ago

I am with senortilo, this is a brilliantly written article.

KU 9 years, 6 months ago

Why would Gary Patterson leave the state of Texas to coach at KSU? He's got all the talent and money he needs right under his nose down there. Why would ANYONE want to coach in the hell-hole known as Manhattan, KS? The only good thing about Manhattan is it's not in Missouri.

Scott Gardner 9 years, 6 months ago

Great article and very true. I live in Manhattan and I'm a KSU alum. I'm not hear to talk trash about KU people or Lawrence. I'll leave that to some of the KU posters on here.To the point - Prince must be fired! If not, I invite all of you KU fans to Manhattan next year to witness another beatdown. I'm embarrased of this coach and his staff. We're not even competitive. This is worse than the 80's....and I got my degree from KSU in '89 so I saw a LOT of baaaad football, folks. Prince is bad for KSU and bad for the Big 12.

Bob Strawn 9 years, 6 months ago

reminds me of terry allen and the guy before him who left under the foot of bill snyder. the worm has turned temporarily, yes. but the north is woefully weak. and unkansas is part of it. state is in good position to bounce back quickly under a decent coach. time for hoops.

Hawkish4bigM 9 years, 6 months ago

I agree with a number of the comments. Sportswriters should not be making news, urging news but reporting news. This is not news. It is editorializing. Most importantly, Prince's record is better than Snyder's first three years. Snyder did a great job but the program was not really dominant. So, to even talk about a drop-off is not really reasonable. It was a good program with up and down years, the best season being a two-loss season on several occassions. One Conference championship. So, to expect someone to come in and do their own thing (since Prince was not a Protege of Snyder's and perhaps that was THE mistake) and only give them three years is not making sense. Either you get someone who comes from a different coaching school and you give him the time Pinkel has had (7 or 8 years?) or you have Snyder groom the heir. One thing is certain, KSU will never be able to recruit like the tier one schools. They need a magician of a coach and discipline and the basics as the foundation...somebody like our coach.

JBurtin 9 years, 6 months ago

Barack Obama.There you go Winnie, happy to oblige. ;)"If we could please leave the political BS with the political BS stories, these pages will be far more enjoyable. There's a reason I only read the sports page after Columbus Day and that is to avoid the comments like the one by winnie."Somehow I doubt he would have made a comment like this if somebody had said something good about McCain.BTW, great article Keegan, chock full of enough ridiculous puns to keep it interesting. And seeing how this is an opinion column, I find it strangely appropriate that you went out on a limb and editorialized.Jesus Christ, how do these people tie their shoes every day. They continuously make fun of K-Staters for being dumb, but man do we have some winners.

9 years, 6 months ago

dagger108 ~ It wasn't that Snyder wasn't successful his first few years, the program was the all-time losingest (percentage-wise) prior to him arriving, and it took five or six years of him at the helm before they got rid of that unsightly stat. When he got there, KSU's all time record for football was 299-510 (.370). He actually had a 5-3 record against Mason, and was 5-0 against Terry Allen.

actorman 9 years, 6 months ago

"If that punt return reverse last Saturday would have been "taken to the house" this entire article would be entirely different."A couple of details: (1) it was a kickoff return, not a punt return; and (2) I doubt seriously that it would have made the slightest difference. It wouldn't have magically given KSUck a defense that had the slightest chance of stopping KU.OH, BTW, if you take out Snyder's years KSUck is the losingest program of all time, not the "losingness" program.

actorman 9 years, 6 months ago

That being said, you make some good points about the hopelessness that is KSUck.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

The little bit of support for Prince that I can offer is that I believe half the points scored by KSU in their upset of Texas last year came on those fancy trick plays. Sometimes it works. The more appropriate point of the article may have been that after enough repetition, unconventional/trick plays become conventional/expected, but remain unreliable/risky. I'll hate to see him go, but trust that we will remain the dominant force in the state. If we can recruit more than Texas & Oklahoma, there is the possibility of becoming a ranked program (vs. team), but if we only sign the players that OU, UT, aTm, TT(?) don't want, we are destine to be a program that only ocassionally makes appearances in the rankings. Didn't Snyder's success strongly correlate with the Terry Allen years? Hadn't heard the bit about Snyder not being successful the first few years, but that would make sense, since I think those years coincided with Mason's @ KU. Much as Mason was disappointing for running away (not being able to convince the school to commit to FB), he did have a decent program and at least recruited D1 players. Part of the reason Snyder improved KSU was b/c Allen didn't recruit even the in-state D1 players.

100 9 years, 6 months ago

Pardon the following if some of this has been said already:Prince has beaten UT twice. Once in Austin by 21 points. If that punt return reverse last Saturday would have been "taken to the house" this entire article would be entirely different. Thank goodness KU's special team was ready for that one at least. And thank goodness our punter is a great open field tackler. Let's be real (I'm not going to go over again the ENTIRE history of what Snyder did at KSU) its impossible to duplicate what Snyder did back then. A list of 3 important aspects of how he achieved his "unbelievable" success at the "all time losingness school in college football":1. In his hayday, he coached in a weaker big 8. Decent yearly top 10'ers OU and NU to compete with, occassionally CU, but beyond that, not much else. Additionally he would play huge creampuffs to start the season. Also keep in mind, he rarely actually won the big12/ big8. Once? Maybe twice...2. Big one here: He used a recruiting loophole to get nearly all of his stars, grabbing great juco athletes many other programs couldn't take, academically. They owned this loophole and were very fun to watch, on the field, and in the police report section of the paper because of this loophole.. 3. The big 12, as soon as it formed, closed that loophole as did the NCAA. And KSU, coached by Snyder, lost to KU. And Snyder retired, not happy about that loss, however his legacy relatively still intact.All that said, take away Snyder's years of success and KSU is still the losingness team in college football. They used to count on 2-9 seasons before he came along. The fact that Prince has won 4 games this year is already 2 more than expected in the old days. And he's well spoken. And a good coach (when he's not going on 4th down on his own 30 early in the 2nd half) and decent recruiter. KSU will probably drop Prince -- but they shouldn't, it would send their program back into the dark ages. He's doing the best he can with the type of players he can legally acquire. Snyder just happened to jump to KSU at the right time and the KSU fanbase still doesn't seem to understand "how he did it". The truth is: It wasn't that Snyder was (necessarilly) great -- he just knew how to grab GREAT juco kids other programs couldn't take -- and look at the graduation rates during the Snyder years with those kids -- the KSU program would take severe losses to recruiting (sanctioned by the new NCAA rules) with those numbers. All that said, KSU should stick with Prince or they're going to lose a lot more of their slightly agitated fanbase for another decade or more. It will take a couple more years to see that "the Snyder way of doing things" is not (ever) returning, and in fact, it is not possible to repeat what he did. Be happy with 4 wins, a decently full stadium, cheerleaders and a blue plus red equals purple mascot.

KU 9 years, 6 months ago

Damn it, Keegan! Do you have to be prescient? What are we going to do without "Bold and Unemployed""Bold and Daring" to kick around??

Commenting has been disabled for this item.