Friday, September 10, 2010


Fambrough: KU football needs love


The vinegar back in his voice, Don Fambrough will be back in his seat at Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning, rooting on his alma mater, Kansas, which battles Georgia Tech and long odds.

Fambrough listened to the first game on the radio because, he said, the parking pass near the elevator entrance he had used for years had been taken away from him.

The day after Lew Perkins “resigned” as athletic director, Fambrough said, he received a call from somebody in the athletic department informing they had a parking pass for him.

“We had a falling out,” Fambrough said of Perkins. “I’m not sorry to see him go.”

Fambrough didn’t like anything about the way KU wasn’t ready to play in the season-opening loss to North Dakota State any better than anybody else did, but knows coaches can’t be judged on one game, no matter how ugly.

He remembers KU losing to Ohio University, 30-15, at home, an embarrassing setback that made Pepper Rodgers 0-3 in his first season, 1967. The very next week, Kansas upset No. 8 Nebraska, 10-0, and the same people who peppered Rodgers with venom would have carried him off the field. So it goes in sports.

“Pepper was a damn good football coach and one hell of a recruiter,” Fambrough said. “No. 1, that’s what you’ve got to be, a recruiter. You’ve got to be able to go out and get the football players. We’ve got to give Turner Gill a chance. It takes some time. He’s got to get established, find out where the players are and go get them. I certainly am one who thinks he can do it and he’ll get the job done. We need to get behind him, give him some help. You can’t do it overnight.”

KU’s loss, which Fambrough listened to on the radio, made Fambrough think of a bad loss Bear Bryant’s Texas A&M; team suffered at home.

“He went on the loudspeaker and said, ‘If you would remain in your seats we’re going to have a scrimmage and I guarantee you you’ll get your money’s worth,’ and they had a scrimmage for about two hours,” Fambrough said. “Every great coach I’ve known has a different way of doing it. Bear Bryant did it from hard work, fear and being mean. You have to be your own person.”

Rodgers, Fam said, spiced the air with four letters at a time. Gill has the cleanest tongue in the dirtiest game.

Rodgers, a graduate of Georgia Tech, will not be at Saturday’s game, Fambrough said, but at least one of the members of the 1968 Rodgers staff loaded with future head coaches will be on hand. Fambrough said former UCLA coach Terry Donahue will be in for the game and so will former KU quarterback great David Jaynes.

Gill’s staff is loaded with accomplished recruiters. So was Rodgers’. Other members of Pepper’s 1968 staff that went on to head-coaching jobs: John Cooper (Tulsa, Arizona State, Ohio State), Dave McClain (Ball State, Wisconsin), Dick Tomey (Hawaii, Arizona, San Jose State).

Donahue, a gentleman’s gentleman, as is Gill, was hugely successful at UCLA.

“Terry was a young stud, well-educated, smart,” Fambrough said. “Like our coach, he could go in the homes and the parents loved him.”

Love is what KU fans need to show this team Saturday, Coach Fam stressed.


Joe Ross 11 years, 1 month ago

Fambrough: "KU Football needs Love"

Joe Ross: "Love" better be spelled "N-E-W-C-O-A-C-H"

murph 11 years, 1 month ago

What a disgraceful, cheap stunt it was to take Coach Fambrough's pass away! It's bad on every front. It was disrespect to a great man who has given and continues to give so much heart and soul to the football team. It was petty, the act of a bully. AND it was a form of elder abuse and flying in the face of handicap accessibility.

Now let's fix the rest of it and name that field for him, like it should be. Kivisto is nobody - and he's not keeping up with his pledges that got his name on it anyway. It should have been Fambrough Field to begin with. Doesn't that have a great ring to it??

ku_foaf 11 years, 1 month ago

I enjoy Coach Fambrough. He was coach when I was there, his 2nd stint. We all enjoy his oral history of the Missouri rivalry. Still, it is hard to forget he got us into some serious NCAA violations in the Kerwin Bell - Frank Seurer era. So you might understand why they might not name a field after him.

HawkNVegas 11 years, 1 month ago

Yep here we go again, is he too nice, we must get rid of him, oh and did you see what color his skin was? You Angry Whites need to take a chill pill, calm your heart down with all this "fire him crap". If this dude gets fired quicker than womangino then KU needa just hang up their football jerseys. This crybaby quitter attitude gets you booed on opening night at home while playing a D2 team. Suck it up suckers, you suck, Big 12 is for Big Boys, little intimidated tail tucking puppies need a pacifier and a nap. If you always say "Next year the recruiting will be better & the year after that the recruits will play but don't expect them to be good until their Junior year" then we'll never ever get consistent at anything let alone winning. Winning is part of what happens when players care about what they do. It looks as if these fools ain't practiced 1 down. They looked D2 the entire game, and everybody was shocked, why? When were we supposed to be good/competitive, not this year or next, probably 4-6 if we keep the coach. He has to have a full recruiting class go from Freshman to Senior to evaluate what he can do with these kids during this span. Blame the players for the attitude on the field & the crying and whining after every play they screw up, but blame the coaches for poor preparation, and the worst play calling I've seen since, well. . . last year. But when did we ever not do silly things like run on 2nd & 12 or Shotgun run on 1st down lose 4 yards then run again to catch em off guard. Throw the ball, we are not fast enough to run past D2 North Dakota State, we're gonna get Ashton Kucher Punk'd against the Big 12. Georgia Tech and Nesbit or whatever his name is, will come run and throw it down our throats this weekend don't be surprised IF we get spanked. Sorry, reality is where I live.

Lone_salina_kufan 11 years, 1 month ago

Are you a moron??? You just ripped KU fans for continually looking for 2 years down the road of recruiting, and then said yourself, we will probably be competitive in 4 to 6 years if we keep the coach. Make up your mind.

Kenneth Hillman 11 years, 1 month ago

Wow....stay in Vegas and don't wear any hawk gear please. That rant made no sense.

hawk316 11 years, 1 month ago

"You angry whites?" Wow. Where did that come from? Vegas, do you really think this is a racial issue? I think those who are opposed to Gill are doing so for other legitimate reasons. I may not agree with those reasons, but I certainly don't think it's a matter of race. Personally, I am very white, not angry at all and a huge fan of Coach Gill. I believe that his hire will be the best thing that Lew Perkins did for KU during his tenure.

Kyle Helmer 11 years, 1 month ago

Without a doubt, the worst post I have ever seen on this website. You need to calm down and go get educated sir.

kufanman88 11 years, 1 month ago

Dumb. This has nothing to do with race. Nothing. Coach Gill can't motivate, coach, or recruit at the BCS conference level. This isnt about one game, but the last game doesnt help. It indicated he grossly underestimated the level you have to play at to win a game in the Big 12. His recruiting class was sorry. It didnt even match half of what Mangino was doing before he was fired. He was supposed to be able to recruit, but his early signing period recruits were even sorrier. You can bet that KU will be lucky to win 2 games under Gill. 4 games is pushing it. Two wins or less will get him fired, especially with the grossly incompetent AD now having resigned. His expectations are high because he is getting paid the kind of salary a proven coach at the BCS conference level gets paid. One who has already one a BCS bowl game. If he doesnt perform up to expectations, it is his fault for accepting so much money.

Jayhawk1116 11 years, 1 month ago

You're the only one caught up with his skin color, Jack@ss. Carelessly playing the race card is Absolutely Unacceptable.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 1 month ago

When Fambrough speaks, I listen! I could hear him talk all day. To take his parking pass away-----OMG, how disrespectful. I was really upset with the loss to North Dakota State, as many folks of Jayhawk Nation were. When Fambrough says, "KU football needs love," that's what I'm going to do. I am going to stay positive and give him some time. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

bradh 11 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like someone is a bit angry, even if they aren't white ;-). Quite the ramble there Vegas. I think you're campaigning for giving Gill a chance to show what he can do over 4 years or so. I would agree.

phi4life940 11 years, 1 month ago

"You angry whites..." ????? Wow.......I expected better from KU fans.

kufanman88 11 years, 1 month ago

How dumb can you be? Ad hominem attacks are a weak way to marginalize those that oppose a coach that has no record to stand on. Defend him. Defend his one and half recruiting classes. Have you seen how they have ranked in comparison to other programs in the Big 12? He might as well be recruiting with Buffalo's facilities. You cant defend his recruiting because it is weak. Defend his one game he coached against a D2 program. Defend the lofty expectations of his salary. Defend the lofty expectations of his offense. You cant defend any of it can you "dumb for life940"?

milehighhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

"peppered Rodgers"

Really, Tom?


kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

"peppered Rodgers" ... I liked it! But, I did have to double check the author to see if this clever comment really came from Keegan (just kiddin' Keegan)

mondhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

you angry whites WOW, when you went there it just shows how stupid your opinion is.We want quality football thats all. The people wanting him fired did not want him here in the first place. If people like you want this kind of talk to go away the staff needs to put a well prepared team on the field. MM did not leave the team with no talent. maybe he needs to show he is capable to adapt to the personal he has until he gets the style of players he needs. Good coaches do it everyday. I like so far what he has done on the recruiting trail if he continues to fill this class out with stud defensive players. and the team shows MAJOR improvement then this talk will go away.

Jeffery Barrett 11 years, 1 month ago

Wow! You really are (insert insult here)! One good year because of an easy schedule and they should name the stadium after him?!?! So I guess they should rename the university, The University of Bill Self....or maybe even rename the WHOLE state after him!

kufanman88 11 years, 1 month ago

Dont forget that Mangino could recruit to a level unseen before or after Mangino departed. Gill will have a difficult time matching Mangino's accomplishments with recruiting based on his performance so far.

DevilHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Recruiting is first and foremost about personal connections, no matter what type of recruiting it is.

After that are the questions: Will I get to the NFL if I go to that school? Will I play in the __ bowl/championship game?

Gill needs to get the team back on track, but if they improve consistently throughout the season, then I don't doubt that he will surpass Mangino when it comes to recruiting talent.

hawksince51 11 years, 1 month ago

Sure we can question the wisdom of hiring Gill based on his record at a lower level Division college (I can't keep up with what they call it now.) But, he is now the coach and deserves a decent shot. So, let's listen to the Fam and give Gill a chance to get organized and show what he can do with his own recruits. If you look at the poor season last year along with the loss of Reesing, Meier, Briscoe, etc. it does not seem to me that Mangino left him a lot to work with. And if Lew was behind taking away Fam's parking pass, that raises serious character issues which thankfully no longer matter. Maybe he wasn't our most successful head coach, but there has never been a stronger, more loyal supporter of KU football than Fambrough.

jaymar74 11 years, 1 month ago

For the last time, Gill was head coach at a Division I school, just the same as KU.

DevilHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Buffalo is a D-1 school, but they are not in a BCS conference.

KUbsee69 11 years, 1 month ago

I've tried to appreciate some of what Perkins did, particularly the fund raising for the new facilities and retaining Coach Self when T. Boone came shopping. However, much of the rest was hard to take. The ticket point system took long-term seats away from many solid fans, including the Allen family (which was unbelievable). Our family had the same seats since the 60's and lost them just like the Allens and many others. And you couldn't find fans any more loyal than my late parents. The vedetta against Coach Mangino was just wrong. The other follow-on scandals have tainted the KU image via the negative nation-wide publicity.

I was trying my best to take Coach Self's views and believe that KUAD is much better than eight years ago. Hopefully, overall, it is. In Self we trust.

But now I hear this from Coach Fam and it pretty much blows any appreciation away. There may be no Crimson & Bluer person than Coach Fam. I also trust in Fambrough.

"The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones ... So let it be with Perkins."

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

Mangino treated Fam with respect, Lew did not. Fam didn't agree with everything Mangino did, but Fam too was a tough minded football coach. Mangino let Fambrough attend practices and even talk to the players before a Missouri game. He also pulled Fambrough aside one cold day after practice ... Fambrough was wearing a 30 year old KU coat and cap. Mangino smiled and made a wise crack about Fam's old clothing. He then summoned the equipment manager and told him to fix Fam up with a new coat and hat to match that worn by the other coaches. Say what you want about Mangino ... but that was class. It's no wonder that Fambrough maintained his support for Mangino.

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

Lew's resentment and sometimes disrespectful treatment of Fambrough has been going on for years. But, taking Fam's parking pass sets a new low. Fam had knee problems for several years and could barely walk. Despite Lew's fund raising successes, he ever convinced Fam and many others that he genuinely valued KU football and KU's traditions and alumni. Strangely, Lew still seemed like an "outsider" to many. He abandoned the midwest style that many of us value, and so did many on his staff. Stories about Lew's abrupt and sometimes disrespectful treatment of long time, faithful KU alumni would take forever to tell ... and they go beyond way beyond the introduction of KU's point system that kept long-time KU supporters, including Phog Allen's family, from being able to afford their seats. I, for one, wasn't really opposed to the system, even though I lost my seats too. But Lew's bedside manner certainly left something to be desired.
Keegan, this was a nice article about Fambough's comments ... and, as usual, his comments make alot of sense. Maybe we need to take Fambrough's advice and give Gill some time. Certainly, there's never been a finer Jayhawk than Coach Fambrough! Go Jayhawks!

jvinland 11 years, 1 month ago

Coach Fambrough is my hero! He has been my hero ever since I played football for him. He expected his players to be tough & disciplined. However Coach is also one of the kindest most loving men I have ever known! If he were to "chew you out" you felt bad not because of what he said but, because you had let him down. I don't know of anyone who loves KU more. He has devoted his life to KU. When he speaks please listen he is after all a living legend. Now I find out that Lew Perkins insulted & abused him. That is unconscionable! I previously could see some good in Perkins now I see absolutely none. What a greedy self-serving jerk!

Linda Aikins 11 years, 1 month ago

Hey jvinland, what years did you play? I bet we have lots of friends in common - most with new knees and hips! :)

hawk316 11 years, 1 month ago

“Pepper was a damn good football coach and one hell of a recruiter,” Fambrough said. “No. 1, that’s what you’ve got to be, a recruiter. You’ve got to be able to go out and get the football players. We’ve got to give Turner Gill a chance. It takes some time. He’s got to get established, find out where the players are and go get them. I certainly am one who thinks he can do it and he’ll get the job done. We need to get behind him, give him some help. You can’t do it overnight.”

Well said, Coach Fambrough, and you should know. Let's hope some of our hyper-critical KU fans will see the wisdom of your words and get behind this coach.

ku_foaf 11 years, 1 month ago

Georgia Tech fans used to tell how Pepper Rodgers would come out on the field and do cartwheels and maybe even backflips while coach there. I never heard of anything like that at KU.

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

foaf, I'm not sure what your point was. Pepper was a colorful, fun-loving guy though ... and a pretty good football coach.

jvinland 11 years, 1 month ago

There was nothing fun when Pepper Rogers was coaching. It was all hard work with very little play.

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, jvinland ... maybe just colorful. We share our point of view about Fam ... played for him too.

ku_foaf 11 years, 1 month ago

It was just a bit of Pepper Rodgers trivia. That's what he is remembered for at Georgia Tech. I lived in Atlanta and his name would come up when I said I went to KU. It must have been something he started there.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 1 month ago

Um Keegan, I wasn't a Jayhawk until 85, so who is Fambrough?

DevilHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

I doubt it. Perhaps some of you would like to expand the Wikipedia article about him...

Steve Gantz 11 years, 1 month ago

Why would I be kidding? It's bad journalism, again, on Keegan's part. The guy, I learned was a coach back in the 70's, I grew up in New Jersey in the 70's how would I know who he was? Maybe you could have just given me the answer.

kufanman88 11 years, 1 month ago


0-1 (loss to division 2 team)

How many losses did Fam have to division 2 teams?

Gill's 2010 recruiting rank: 54th in the nation.

Gill's total points for 2010-2011 season: 3

It looks like Gill could use some advice on all fronts from somebody.

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't know if Gill needs advice or not, but I do know that Fambrough couldn't have lost games to Division 2 schools because he didn't play them.
He didn't schedule anyone outside the Pac 10, Big 10, SEC or SW Conference. Though his Win/Loss record may not look as good as more recent teams, his "cream puff" games were against Florida State, Minnesota, Oregon State, Washington State, Texas A&M and Tennessee.

kubbjunkie 11 years, 1 month ago

Love Coach Fam. Taking away his parking pass is mild to what Lew did to others. Some of whom are All- Americans and in the Ring of Honor. Mind you, these are both men in their mid 80's! He moved seats, cut the number of tickets they could purchase, and told them to park at the field house and take a bus! They built the KU tradition and held tickets for 60 years. These people sat in the stands every game, from the band pre-game to the final gun. Even in the snow at 10 below when Nebraska was kicking our b**** by 80 points, because "Those fellas on the field were workin' their tails off for the crimson and blue and by gosh, they deserve to have someone clap for them at the end of the game". Lew did more to damage the University of Kansas than he did good. I watched the Orange Bowl game and I didn't see him play a single down, and all he did during the BB national championship of '08 was spill his drink on the floor! Glad he is gone, Lew, "don't let the door hit ya, where the good Lord split ya!" Williams Fund, my check in on the way!

ravenjayhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

The real problem is the board which has allowed our AD to roam with their approval. I would like to know who has been on this committee which was headed up by our AD. If anyone knows please reply.

bastet 11 years, 1 month ago

Coach Fam may not be everyone's favorite guy, but he's a class act. There isn't a more loyal Jayhawk anywhere. Winning coaching record or not, he's known KU football inside and out from the ground up for over 60 years. (He was a player on the team also.) And he knows a darn sight more than the armchair quarterbacks on these forums. Mangino bashers out there should know that Mangino treated Coach Fam with great respect, something Perkins obviously didn't do. The Coach says give Gill a chance. Let's give him a chance. Gill will prove himself or not, and if he goes, we'll still have Fambrough in the stands (I hope for some time to come) to see his team through thick and thin.

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

For anyone who points to Fambrough's record and says he may have been a great motivator, but he was a "so-so" coach, something should be understood. There wasn't a single opponent on Fam's schedule that wasn't in one of today's BCS conferences. Had he scheduled Division II and non-BCS schools, he wouldn't just be known today as one of KU's most loyal supporters, he'd also be generally recognized as one of KU's finest football coaches. To those of us who know him, he'll always be one of KU's finest coaches, regardless of what others say about his record.

Sean Rodger 11 years, 1 month ago

Gotta love it when someone throws in a race card for no particular reason! I've been reading a lot of articles/board posts, and I haven't seen one post that had anything about the color of his skin.

Absolutely ridiculous!

Get your facts straight Vegas.

rastameta 11 years, 1 month ago

Coach Fam was fired TWICE and got KU into a lot of trouble with the NCAA. He doesn't deserve crap from the KUAD. He tells a good Missouri story and that is the only reason he is so beloved. Otherwise, he hasn't done squat to deserve the praise he is getting.

Joe Ross 11 years, 1 month ago

To: HawkNVegas Re: "You Angry Whites"

I was the only one who said anything derisive of Turner Gill in these comments prior to your prejudiced outburst.


Get a clue. Get a life.

4everahawk 11 years, 1 month ago

kureader: good posts...

Lew treated a LOT of valued people disrespectfully. Fam is considered a legend and I believe Lew resented and was jealous of anyone who was so obviously adored and respected. Sure, he caused some problems with the NCAA, but he didn't hang his head and disappear. No one or nothing could take away his love for his Jayhawks. I wish some of the others he treated in an equally despicable fashion would come forward, but doubt that will happen.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 1 month ago

I love me some Coach Fam! He is a big growly bear with the softest insides. We were so glad to hear that he got his pass back. He so loves the game and truly loves the Jayhawks. I think 90% of his clothes have a Jayhawk on it. That is good because it means he can never move away.

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