Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Retiring Carl Torbush preaches patience



KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush retires

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KU defensive coordinator Carl Torbush announced his retirement Tuesday, May 31, 2011 after being recently diagnosed with low grade prostate cancer. Head coach Turner Gill named cornerbacks coach Vic Shealy as the new defensive coordinator. Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has been promoted to co-defensive coordinator.

A reporter approached retiring Kansas University defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, who seemingly sensed the young man’s unease over having to ask questions about the football coach’s cancer diagnosis.

“You need to smile,” Torbush told him Tuesday in Mrkonic Auditorium. “You look better when you show some teeth.”

It was the friendly ball coach’s way of cutting the tension and replacing sadness with some cheer. Torbush revealed he is retiring because he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery.

“You hear the word cancer, and all of us, including myself, think of death or dying, and that’s not true,” Torbush said. “This is a low-grade situation. If I do what I’m supposed to do and the doctor gets done what he’s supposed to get done, I ought to be free and completely ready to go again.”

By “go,” Torbush didn’t mean coach. He meant do more of the things he had to do less of when working.

“I love riding them WaveRunners,” said the Southern gentleman. “I like getting on a pontoon boat. I like getting on the lake and jumping in the water. I still love playing baseball. Somebody asked me how long I’ll play. I said I’ll probably play until the day I die or get hurt.”

Or until he gets cut.

“No,” he corrected. “If that happens, I’ll buy a team so I can play.”

A base-runner trying to steal on Torbush at this point of his baseball career has a better chance of getting thrown out by the umpire than the catcher, but that wasn’t always the case. Torbush, 59, earned NAIA first-team All-America honors in football and baseball at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. He played a year in the Kansas City Royals system and was a head baseball coach (Southeastern Louisiana) before he was a head football coach (Louisiana Tech, North Carolina).

On his way out of his year-and-a-half stay on Turner Gill’s staff, Torbush bemoaned the lack of patience in today’s world.

“I know people don’t want to hear it, but they need to hear it,” Torbush said. “I know boyfriends and girlfriends who don’t even talk to each other. They text to each other. I call it the MTV society. Everything is, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ and, ‘Make it work right now.’ The days of real, true patience are gone.”

Torbush said coaches used to be granted a three-year honeymoon, and then needed to show progress in the fourth and fifth years.

“I don’t think that happens anymore,” Torbush said. “In that third year, you need to start showing progress or sometimes you don’t get a fourth year.”

Patience levels have changed, but the time needed to establish a program hasn’t. It still takes five years.

“There are certain programs in the country, very few of them, you ought to show progress immediately,” he said. “Probably 95 percent of them, that’s not true.”

Torbush said the last two recruiting classes have upgraded the speed and athleticism of the team, and he added it takes four such classes in a row.

“You better be able to do that because the conference isn’t split anymore,” he said. “You’re getting ready to play them all. You know what that means.”

It means patience is in order.


Joe Baker 2 years, 6 months ago

Well win, lose or draw I'm representing Ol' KU. I'm bleeding Crimson and Blue here in OKC.

Let's go Hawks and at least give them a game.

Most of the OSU alumni and fans are pretty cool.

It's the OU fans that are stupid and obnoxious.


Kirk 2 years, 10 months ago

I'd buy the "patience" argument a LOT more if:

-- We'd had patience with Mangino ("7 losses in a row! Gasp!")

-- The conference weren't on the verge of falling apart and sending KU to die in a piddly group of nobodies (exit Bill Self, exit everything)


Randy Bombardier 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, five years minimum is needed. Probably more like 8. Over the long haul we would be wise to view 7 wins a year as a great improvement in our program which is historically obvious, just not very sexy. But, looking at Ohio State and Tressel, it is a great reminder that administrators love to remind coaches who is in charge no matter what the record.


hawkfan20 2 years, 10 months ago

All the people that are screaming about Gill already were probably tickled pink back in 02 when Snyder lit Mangino up 64-0. KU may have the dumbest football fans in America. Study the sport a little bit and get some perspective. Torbush is exactly right. Anyone that thinks Gill is going to compete in the Big XII with his top 2 classes not having a single NFL player in them is hopelessly naive. Guess what, he didn't recruit those guys so he has to have time to replenish and develop talent.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 10 months ago

Gill almost doubled our average margin of loss by 2 touchdowns from the previous year. And that is without ou and ut on the schedule!


FinalFinal 2 years, 10 months ago

The man made millions of dollars, MILLIONS, and was a losing coach. Patience is easier collecting $35,000 a game.

Maybe the "common" man would have more patience if these guys made typical wages with huge incentives for winning.

This staff did not earn their wage last year. Your average insurance salesman would starve with that performance.


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Does anybody remember when Bill Snyder took over at K-State (the first time)? I don't remember exactly what his first speech to the media was, but it was something about " in a few years " he felt that K-State could be as good or better than the Iowa Hawkeye team that he had just left. I LITERALLY LOL'd.

I'm sorry I haven't looked any of this up ( it's early, and I'm going to be late for work), but I know his first couple of years were just flat out terrible. KU is nowhere near as bad as KSU was then, not even close. Be patient. Maybe Gill ISN'T the guy - but it's just too early to tell. Give him a chance.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 10 months ago

For any of you that agree with the "patience" take, think back to the ksu game. Remember how that game felt? Remember how flat and under prepared we looked on the field? Who's fault is that? Patience is fine but without progress...


Funhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

An old saying was "patience is a virtue." Patience is dying in our society because people have greater expections of each other - employers of employees, employees of employers, taxpayers of the federal government, husbands of wives, wives of husbands, buyers of sellers, advertisers of consumers, fans of their football team .......

But, let Mr. Torbush say it. "Everything is, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ and, ‘Make it work right now.’ The days of real, true patience are gone.” May we have patience today and enjoy the team this fall. The players have a talent that 99% of us don't have.


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