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Thursday, November 26, 2009

At Fambrough’s urging, fans show support for KU football

Kansas University wide receiver Bradley McDougald greets fans who showed up after practice to show their support for the Jayhawks. About 150 fans turned out Wednesday.

Kansas University wide receiver Bradley McDougald greets fans who showed up after practice to show their support for the Jayhawks. About 150 fans turned out Wednesday.

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Fans gather to support football team

More than 100 KU football fans were on hand Wednesday night to support the team as it prepares for its matchup against Missouri. The Jayhawks will become bowl-eligible with a victory on Saturday.

Don Fambrough was not amused.

In the days leading up to the Kansas University football team’s loss to No. 3 Texas last week, the former KU coach had noticed the grim nature of the team’s practices — “I thought I was at a funeral or something,” he said — and, never one to mince words, developed a pretty good idea why that was.

“(Players have) been down in the dumps because of all this commotion going on about what they started up there on the hill,” said Fambrough, referring to athletic director Lew Perkins’ announcement last week that KU was launching an investigation into football coach Mark Mangino’s treatment of players. “That was the dumbest damn thing. Why the hell didn’t they wait until after the season? That’s what anybody with any damn knowledge of the game of football would do. If you got something to gripe about or something to be upset about, come see me after the season. Not with two games left. That’s the dumbest damn thing I ever heard of, and I don’t give a damn who hears me say that.”

In an effort to counteract the recent drama, Fambrough organized an impromptu pep rally following Wednesday evening’s practice at Memorial Stadium, inviting supporters of the program to show up and help provide players a pick-me-up prior to Saturday’s Border War matchup at Arrowhead Stadium.

As Fambrough spoke with reporters following the event, Mangino stood a few yards away, visiting with the last of the 150 or so fans who showed up to offer support.

The coach, who has been accused of — among other things — abusing his players orally and pressuring them to play injured, shook hands and smiled big and looked, for the first time in the past 10 days, truly at ease.

“I’m really speechless,” he said at one point, asked about the rally’s turnout.

The evening was not exactly destined to be a success. Temperatures dipped into the 30s, and Wednesday was, after all, the day before Thanksgiving.

But by 5:20 p.m., fans had lined the walkway between Memorial Stadium and the nearby football complex, cheering boisterously and offering kind words and handshakes as players and coaches trickled past.

The list of attendees, meanwhile, read like a who’s who of Kansas alumni. Curtis McClinton, the KU Ring of Honor inductee, was there. Same with former NFL quarterback John Hadl and über-booster Dana Anderson, in from Los Angeles.

“(Fambrough) showed up in my office on Sunday,” said Mangino, recounting the story of how the rally came about. “He hasn’t been in my office on a Sunday in eight years. He opened the door and peeked in, and he said, ‘I got to tell you something: I’m gonna have some fans out here. I think they’ll come out. You don’t mind if they’re looking at practice?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t mind at all, coach.’”

Then he smiled bigger.

The night, surely, provided a welcome reprieve from the controversy that has engulfed the program in the days since Perkins’ investigation went public, and uncertainty about Mangino’s future in Lawrence arose.

“It’s a great feeling, knowing our season is really not going the way we want it to, and just knowing we still have loyal fans,” junior receiver Dezmon Briscoe said. “It’s just a blessing.”

Anderson, whose name is attached to the recently constructed Anderson Family Football Complex in which the coach’s office is located, spoke highly of the things that have been accomplished under Mangino’s watch and said he felt for the players who had been affected by the recent drama.

“I’m sorry that this whole thing erupted,” said Anderson, who is in the Lawrence area for the week. “I don’t know the facts. But I wish it could be resolved and it would go away as soon as possible rather than interfere with the entire program.”

One of the last men to depart Wednesday night was McClinton, whose hair has grayed some but otherwise looks every bit the man who earned All-America honors as a KU halfback and won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

As the crowd dispersed, McClinton approached Mangino, and the two spent a few moments engaged in conversation — a couple of old-school football men smiling and chuckling and carrying on about who knows what.

“We all have bad days,” McClinton had told a reporter a few minutes earlier. “Give the man a break. Keep Mangino. He’s been good for the university, he’s been good in making our students graduate.

“Let’s get real.”

Comments

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 4 months ago

Coach Fambrough...Coach Mangino...McClinton...Kerry Meier...Darrell Stuckey. These are the kind of guys I love representing the University.

Lets get ticked off this Saturday and have a big day up at Arrowhead !!!!!

ROCK CHALK !!!!!

nejayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Wish I could of made the trip down from Lincoln. Would of loved to show my support for this team / coach. But I'll be at Arrowhead come Saturday!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Beat Mizzou!

meatsauce 10 years, 4 months ago

Pick up a rock. Throw it in ANY direction, you'll hit Mangino.

Brad Avery 10 years, 4 months ago

Well, Lew, you've lost the PR battle. When Fambrough and Anderson line up behind Mangino, you might as well wave the white flag and beg for forgiveness.

lance1jhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I just finished watching the game from last year again :) I wish Lew would have held off on all this til the last game, but it is what it is at this point. Lets go in to Arrowhead with an attitude and kick some tiger butt.

Maracas 10 years, 4 months ago

"Well, Lew, you've lost the PR battle. When Fambrough and Anderson line up behind Mangino, you might as well wave the white flag and beg for forgiveness."

As a manager, if certain kinds of allegations are brought to your attention you have to deal with them immediately. Waiting until later can be seen to be tacitly condoning the behavior. You may get fired if there is someone above or sued if there isn't. Either way you can't always just sit on it until it's convenient for you.

Steve Brown 10 years, 4 months ago

Meatsauce your mom wears army boots & they need a polishing.

NH_JHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

lance1jhawk -

Last year's border war was one of the best games I've ever seen. I was literally shouting "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" from my rooftop (after the game I was putting up my Christmas lights). My neighbors thought I was nuts.

ryanm1988 10 years, 4 months ago

I was at the gathering. maybe (100 people, not more than 150) It was not a show of support for Mangino. It was a show of support for the players. Reesing, Meier, Sharp and Mangino made special efforts to reach out to every person in attendance. It was a nice tribute, but a relatively insignificant event in the big picture. i.e. Mangino's future

hawksince51 10 years, 4 months ago

I have always loved Fambrough and his dedication to KU football over many decades. I would have driven over from Vail, CO had I known about this--no snow yet anyway. I was a classmate of Curtis McClinton and his being there brought back memories of my 2nd favorite KU football game ever--when we went into Columbia in 1960. MU was undefeated, ranked number 1 and we killed them. Curtis, along with many others, had a great game that day. It was always my favorite game ever until last year's win in Arrowhead. NOTHING is better than beating MU especailly when they think they are good. I agree with Don--what genius would investigate these flakey allegations in the middle of the season especially when we still have MU to play. Lew has a lot of cred with me for hiring Self but his handling of this is not impressive.

John Brown 10 years, 4 months ago

I am glad to see Mangino getting the support from the football community. I have gained a lot of respect for Coach Leach at TT. I am thankful for Coach Fambrough's spirited support of Mangino and KU Football. Lew Perkins maybe showing that he is in over his head with this publicity screw up. It is sad to read about recruits second guessing their decisions to commit to KU because of Perkin's lack of a football IQ.

thmdmph 10 years, 4 months ago

you know you've done something wrong when Coach Fambrough goes out of his way to line up one the other side of your fence. Lew.

on top of that, you look out over the fence and also see the likes of other Big 12 coaches, Curtis McClinton, John Hadl, and Dana Anderson. Oooops.

woodhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

..."abusing his players orally."

C'mon Duggie. Really? I believe the word you're looking for is "verbally." "Abusing his players verbally." Orally sounds awful and you know some MU jackass is going to get a hold of that.

55jayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

As I said in an earlier comment, playing under Don Fambrough who was our line coach in the early 60's; he was a bear as you can see in his use of his language and love of KU and KU Football! He loved his players and were all treated the same. We never thought twice about it as that is the way coaches have to be and Curtis hit the nail on the spot with his comments. Like the Marine Corps, you have to take 78 swinging D--ks and make them one oiled machine! Football has so many divergent player backgrounds (especially in their family lives), this has to be how the coaches have to coach. Sometimes there has to be some tough love to make them better men (including women athletes), a better player, personally, and in the classroom. There may be smoke where MM is concerned but it is not something that cannot be worked out if Lew wants it to. You cannot make a championship team each year after many years of so so teams in 8 years. We are just getting to where we will become competitive each year & I would like to see one more year with MM to prove the point. We always had some good players, but not the dedication by KU to make the program great year after year like other schools. There will always be bad years & good years....that's just Football. I support this team and coach because this should not have become a public fiasco at this time of the season which has now affected the team. If any of you players and especially the seniors are reading this comment, you are winners and you will win this game this weekend because you have the pride and determination to do so. Kick MU's Ass! Sorry I could not be there last night to support you Coach Fam, Coach Mangino, & especially the team itself!

wolfy 10 years, 4 months ago

Amazing! Lew has many faults, but I never thought one of them was amateurism. Note to AD.: If you are going to conduct a witch hunt -- which this clearly is -- you had better have all the high priests on board. Someone is going to get burned at the stake, and it's not clear now whether it will be the coach or his boss.

troutsee 10 years, 4 months ago

As always, this is a big, big game. Let's hope we have the fan support. I think the team is going to be up for this one. I will be there along with 15 members of my family. We've got to yell down the tiger creeps with Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!!! God I hate that MIZ-ZOU yell.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 4 months ago

Woodhawk---that's pretty hillarious. Got a good laugh at that one :)

Let's go fighting manginos / fambroughs !!!

Bryan Swan 10 years, 4 months ago

If KU beats Missouri Saturday then this season will be all right by me...ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

jhokfan 10 years, 4 months ago

meatsauce:

You may be classless, witless and clueless but I give you credit for having the cohunes to post a picture of your significant other. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

You go girl!

Debbie Mangen 10 years, 4 months ago

I support MM completely. Many of the nay-sayers weren't around when you could fit the entire attendance of a game on the bleachers at the south end. I was lucky enough to attend 2 games at KU this year and the stadium was full. What a marvel. I'm old enough to remember the glory years of Gale Sayers, John and Jr. Riggins, John Hadl, Bobby Douglas and my favorite player of all time, Curtis McClinton. I was at that Orange Bowl game in 1968 and watched KU win the game except for the last play when we had 12 men on the field. But even KU's elite didn't accomplish what MM and his teams have. We went to an Orange Bowl and won it! I agree with the writer who said this is a witch-hunt on Lew's part. If he wants to build his little tower in the sky, he'll have a better chance of doing that with a program who can fill the stands. We had some injured players this year who were important to the team. That's not their fault, nor is it MM's. Oklahoma was suppose to win it all and have the HT winner again. That didn't happen, but I don't see anyone saying to fire Stoops because he didn't live up to their expectations. Lew, you basically sabatoged this teams final 2 games. It kind of makes a person wonder where your loyalties lie.

jayhawker97 10 years, 4 months ago

Bless you all coach Mangino, coach Fambrough, and all KU football sportive players and thank you for your love of the game and the university. Football is not really my favorite sport, but i'm still a Jayhawks. Your dignities and unity made me proud as an alumnus. It's a shame on Lew & those who have opened an empty can on this supposed-to-be-exciting program. perhaps Lew is the one that needs to be investigated..

jhokfan 10 years, 4 months ago

Seems unlikely but I hope to see Mark and Lew at their respective jobs next year. I think they have both been good for KU.

A win on Saturday and I'll be happy.

shelleysue 10 years, 4 months ago

I haven't been keeping up on the recruiting end of things but just read a story in the Eagle. Coaches are recruiting a QB from a JC in California - little brother to Packers QB. He said KU is still at the top of his list, that he still plans to come to Lawrence early next month and that he will listen to the coaches not former players. That all the scandal has not given him any reservations at all about coming to KU. However, he did say if Mangino is fired he will definitley re-evaluate.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Steve Brown 10 years, 4 months ago

jhokfan, thanks for making me take a 2nd look at meatsauce pix & hey, those are the same two guys I saw ice fishing last winter in upper wisconsin and funny thing is they never drilled an ice hole, didn't have rods or bait yet never came out of their ice hut for days. I must be missing something as the fish were biting that week. guess I'm slow.

jaygirl193 10 years, 4 months ago

I went to the rally. I went to support the team. I did so specifically because Coach Fam said this was a rally for the PLAYERS. Everyone went out of their way to voice their support for the players. The majority of the people there said nothing to Coach Mangino, as if he wasn't there. A few people had some nice things to say to Mangino, and so he stayed to thank them. I think it's unfortunate that yet again the LJW is distorting the truth instead of reporting facts. Leave the editorializing in the Opinion section, please! This was a rally for the players, not for the coach. It had nothing to do with taking sides for Mangino or against Lew Perkins.

jhokfan 10 years, 4 months ago

I think they did some drilling but it wasn't in the ice.

nicholasu 10 years, 4 months ago

This is what makes me proud to be a Jayhawk every day!!!!! Beat Mizzou! Get us bowl eligible, then maybe Perkins can focus his attention for the good of the KU football program and do some persuading to get us into a bowl game. How bout that Lew, get us a bowl game then maybe you will get some money for your construction project.

Pacer 10 years, 4 months ago

The problem goes far beyond winning a football game against a purported archrival (outside of Kansas and Missouri, I'm not sure fans who aren't affiliated with these universities care much, if anything, about this game). The crux of the problem is that both Mangino and Perkins have cut corners and manipulated the system to serve their own ends. They have both bent the rules to try and get ahead while squeezing every last hard-earned dollar out of an overzealous fan base. With people like Mangino and Perkins in leadership positions, it was just a matter of time before a scandal of this nature arrived at KU's doorstep. Chancellor Hemingway and others at KU are now left with the unenviable task of cleaning up their mess. Chancellor Hemingway is a person of the utmost integrity who always represents the best of KU. With all of the pressures he has tugging at him, Chancellor Hemingway has always put the welfare of the students (and the university at large) first. Can anyone honestly say the same about Mangino and Perkins? About the only thing unresolved is what will be Mangino's buy out package so KU can get out from under it's colossal mistake. It's unclear if Perkins will be able to survive this purge or if the higher ups have also tired of his act. This situation bears watching.

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