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.


Gootsie 3 years, 7 months 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.


4everahawk 3 years, 7 months 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.


Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months 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.


rastameta 3 years, 7 months 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.


Sean Rodger 3 years, 7 months 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.


bastet 3 years, 7 months 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.


ravenjayhawk 3 years, 7 months 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.


kubbjunkie 3 years, 7 months 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!


KSA_21_3503 3 years, 7 months ago

The last thing we need is Gill to be taking advice from that loser.

37-48 20-31



Steve Gantz 3 years, 7 months ago

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


ku_foaf 3 years, 7 months 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.


hawk316 3 years, 7 months 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.


jvinland 3 years, 7 months 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!


jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 7 months ago

I can't really comment on the things Perkins did for KU, as I don't have the information living up here in Lincoln. When I heard that Perkings hired Gill and that Osborne recommended him I could see that it was mainly being pushed by Osborne. I follow the things that go on up here and I knew Gill over all didn't have a great season at Buffalo. Of course the paper up here and the people all think that the sun raises and sits with Gill, no matter how bad it is. Osborne did recommend Solich which didn't work out if you remember. The article about Bohl's comments on Kansas not being a challenge and that NWI would be a better opponent, the paper up here printed an article which put a different spin on it say the Bohl and Gill are great friends they didn't say anything about really what was said. Last night on one of the ESPN stations an analyst was asked about Gill being on the hot seat, the analyst said Gill better win some games to prove that he is as good of a coach as he thinks he is but, I think KU made a big mistake in hiring him and that KU should have hired Bohl.


kureader 3 years, 7 months 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!


James Naismith 3 years, 7 months ago

Fam's support for Mangino was probably the straw for Lew. Every day, the more we hear, the more I am glad Lew took his retirement "immediately".


KUbsee69 3 years, 7 months 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."


hawksince51 3 years, 7 months 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.


jhwkfan162515 3 years, 7 months ago

What little respect I had for Perkins is gone, to treat Don Fambrough that way makes me sick. By the way, don't just rename the field for him: Rename the stadium "Fambrough Stadium". There are way too many "Memorial Stadiums" around here; we need something more original. Or better yet, "Fambrough-Mangino Stadium".


mondhawk 3 years, 7 months 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.


milehighhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

"peppered Rodgers"

Really, Tom?



phi4life940 3 years, 7 months ago

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


bradh 3 years, 7 months 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.


KU_FanSince75 3 years, 7 months 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!


HawkNVegas 3 years, 7 months 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.


pigballin 3 years, 7 months ago

Taking his parking place near the stadium was certainly, absolutely uncalled for.The donors that knew of this should have prevented this by withholding contributions.


murph 3 years, 7 months 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??


Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

Fambrough: "KU Football needs Love"

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


Commenting has been disabled for this item.