Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Opinion: Mark Mangino to UK makes sense

KU football coach Mark Mangino celebrates after the Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. Mangino went 50-48 from 2002-2009.

KU football coach Mark Mangino celebrates after the Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. Mangino went 50-48 from 2002-2009.


It hit me like a hot-air shot onto a cavity delivered through one of those guns dentists like to use to amuse themselves and get a rise out of their patients: Mark Mangino very well could return to coaching soon as an offensive coordinator at a school that has challenges in building a football program similar to those at Kansas University.

Think about it: Most head football coaches identify more with one side of the ball than the other.

Alabama’s Nick Saban played defensive back and worked on defense during his long apprenticeship as an assistant. Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly comes from defense as well. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Oregon’s Chip Kelly used their skills as offensive coordinators to land jobs as head coaches.

It’s imperative that an assistant coach hired to run his own program for the first time finds a strong coordinator on the opposite side of the ball from his area of expertise. Mangino hired one of the best defensive coordinators in the business in Bill Young, now working at Oklahoma State, when he took the Kansas job in 2002. KU went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl in Young’s final season in town.

Mark Stoops of the famous football-coaching family spent all of his 24 years as a college assistant on defense, most recently at Florida State.

Stoops takes on a new and different challenge as head coach at Kentucky. For his most important hire, he needs an OC with experience at making the transition to heading a program after a long tenure as an assistant. Preferably, his most important hire also will have a history that includes working at a powerhouse basketball school, someone who inherited a program that drew flies when he arrived and rocked with rabid capacity crowds when things started rolling. Stoops needs it to be someone he can trust as if he’s a family member, someone who will have his back 24/7.

Mangino fits every qualification and is ready to return to coaching now that his wife’s treatment for breast cancer has concluded, and she has encouraged him to get back to work.

On a Twitter account identified as Mangino’s (@keepsawinwood), a tweet went out last week saying he had taken his name out of consideration for the Colorado head-coaching vacancy.

Mangino goes back a long way with the Stoops family. They grew up on opposite sides of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, where black-and-blue football players smash mouths under gray skies.

Mark Stoops worked for Mike Stoops at Arizona, and Mike Stoops now works for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. They like the idea of family members joining hands and working into the wee hours together. If Mark Mangino ends up at Kentucky, it’s not a reach to believe his son, Tommy, former Lawrence High quarterback, might join him as an offensive assistant.


Jack Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

It's really good news to hear of Coach Mangino's possible return to the college football coaching ranks -either as an assistant, or preferably a Head Coaching job. He has more than proven himself to have the credentials to either continue to build on an already successful program, or for sure, to restore a football team, much like the University of Kansas was when he was hired for that challenge. And, it's especially good news to hear of his wife's improved health condition. Best wishes for the future to both.

Sae Thirtysix 7 years, 11 months ago

Move on already. When / if MM gets a job, great. Til then . . . spill ink elsewhere.

Sae Thirtysix 7 years, 11 months ago

Nice. F Bombing. Is this you Tommy? ". . . Tommy, former Lawrence High quarterback, might join him as an offensive assistant." need to defend Dad? Like Father, like Son.

Jack Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, 36 - try getting up on the other side of the bed tomorrow morning. What a Jerk!

Jack Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

36 - try getting up on the other side of the bed tomorrow morning. What a jerk!

Jack Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey 36,

Tomorrow morning try getting up on the other side of the bed..

Stan Unruh 7 years, 11 months ago

I hope the big man gets the job. Thanks for the update.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 11 months ago

I think MM proved he can restore a program to a very competitive level, but I think he also proved he is not the guy to maintain that program. He will eventually run it in the ditch as he did here.

His greatest failure here was to elevate recruiting commensurate with on field performance.

Jim Johnson 7 years, 11 months ago

Have you ever seen any program stay on top year-in-and-year-out? The answer is NO! Mangino is a good coach, was here and will be elsewhere, the reson he was run out was becuse he didn't fit some folks idea of what they wanted their coach to look like. Plain and simple. The university has paid for it ever since. Bad decision and the folks that made that decision are gone.

Phoghorn 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, there are programs in Norman and Manhattan that are doing a decent job of that...

Sam Constance 7 years, 11 months ago

It's true that he was run out for petty reasons.

However, it's also true that there were other, more valid reasons to remove him as well.

My biggest problem with the Mangino situation is that Perkins was single-minded in his focus: get Mangino out and then we'll figure out the rest. The reason we ended up with such a terrible replacement was because Perkins didn't have a plan--he saw an opportunity to possibly fire Mangino "with cause" and be clever about saving the university money while being able to hire a guy of his choosing and acted with zero forethought.

Perkins problem was that he didn't want Mangino to somehow turn the season around and make it harder to make a case for firing him. Personally, I don't think he would have turned that season around--but we'll never know, and now there's this big controversy amongst some KU fans about the one-of-a-kind, best-ever coach he was for Kansas, even though an objective look at his resume says "mediocre-to-decent coach in the right circumstances".

Good luck to him at his next opportunity, but I don't think he has the DNA to maintain a program's success, even though he might be good at raising a program from bottom-feeder to some respectability.

Ian Ballinger 7 years, 11 months ago

He WAS a good coach, I completely agree with you... and I wish he would've been able to stick around for awhile longer... but MAN! I absolutely love Charlie Weis as KU's coach. I think Weis belongs at Kansas, and I think he'll turn the program around, and keep it consistent.

jhox 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm wondering how much Mangino missed Dave Doeren after he left the program? He certainly missed Bill Young. Someone listed the recruits Doeren helped land and it was a like a who's who from the 2007 team. You have to appreciate the overall job Mangino did at KU and certainly he deserves much of credit, but you also have to question why the wheels fell off so fast. Did he just get lazy, thinking a bigger, better job was going to fall in his lap? Did losses of key assistants do him in? In reality it was probably a combo of many things. The one thing that is certain is that, talent wise, he left the program in a horrible mess when he was fired.

Let's just hope the current staff identifies recruits who can compete at the D1 level. I'm sure we're all sick of being the Big 12 runt in football.

Sam Constance 7 years, 11 months ago

While I don't think the way he was ousted was fair, I think a reasonable question to ask is whether his personal demeanor and method of dealing with others drove some of those star assistants away...

I've spoken to multiple people who didn't like the way in which Mangino interacted with people on a personal level. In fact, it's ironic that he had a similar reputation in terms of personal demeanor as Perkins did--a "my way or the high way" attitude, and willingness to use his imposing size as an advantage in one-on-one interactions (not implying any physical abuse, just a more general sense of intimidation).

jhox 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't think there is any question that he was a person who managed by intimidation, and it probably isn't unreasonable to assume that his assistants were in the direct line of fire. The same thought has occurred to me (as to why he may have lost key assistants.)

Eliott Reeder 7 years, 11 months ago

Didn't I just read this same article a couple weeks ago?!?

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 11 months ago

we all know that Mangino was an offensive coordinator for Bob Stoops at OU, but it's quite a glaring omission in this column.

Lance Hobson 7 years, 11 months ago

Stoops and co. were done with him at OU, that's why they encouraged him to go for the KU job. Worked well for us until Perkins blew it by firing our winningest coach.

MoralVictory 7 years, 11 months ago

Saw Mangino in the Fort Myers, FL airport on Sunday...getting off a flight from Dallas. Let the speculation begin.....

vd 7 years, 11 months ago

KU money is probably running out. Time to find a job. Would be a good fit.

notjustbread 7 years, 11 months ago

Buying stock in donut shops near UK campus right now. I will be rich.

Mark Winter 7 years, 11 months ago

Mangino and Bob Stoops were both assistants at Kstate in 1991-1995 under Snyder, then were together at Oklahoma and won a National championship there. These are where the real ties should be noted.

VaJay 7 years, 11 months ago

I get the - I'm a defensive coach & I need a strong offensive mind - part.

What I don't get is - preferably the OC has experience at a bball powerhouse school

That's got to be so far down the list of necessary attributes as to be inconsequential. Come on, yes it's a coincidence, but how's that going to score more touchdowns.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 11 months ago

Come back.

Please. We're sorry, and we'll never accuse you of player abuse again. I promise.

wildjayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Looks like the KU fans are regretting letting Mark Mangino get away. What we have seen the past three years shows us that he should have stayed. Ku burned its own bridge.

gorilla10 7 years, 11 months ago

LEW PERKINS IS AN IDIOT!!!!!! The best thing to EVER happen to KU football in years was thrown away by a dumb athletic director that had no clue what he was doing. If KU still had Mangino we would have a consistent offense that can put up decent numbers and an average defense that would allow us to sit at 5-7, 6-6, 7-5 and 8-4 from time to time. Instead, coach Weis has to try and dig us out of this mess left by the Mangino firing/Gill hiring! Best thing to do is to stick by coach Weis through it all and show your support!!!

jhox 7 years, 11 months ago

He would not have been 5-7 (in what was Gill's first year) with that group of players he left for his successor. Todd Reesing had graduated, and I believe that's what he won his last year even with Reesing. He may have rebuilt faster, but he left a giant talent deficit when he exited the program. He was staring at a 2 or 3 win season, at most. KU probably did him a favor by firing him. He got to leave the program with memories of recent success, and only mild failure at the end. Had he been fired a year later, his image as a good coach would have undoubtedly suffered. (For the record, I didn't think he deserved to get fired when he did either, but if it hadn't happened that year, it would have happened the next.)

kugrad93 7 years, 11 months ago

Gill hiring was a huge mistake. Firing Mangino was not.

kay_you 7 years, 11 months ago

Didn't Mark say he would never coach at a basketball school again?

texashawk10 7 years, 11 months ago

Firing Mangino was the right move at the time. Doing the way Perkins did was not the right way to get rid of Mangino though. Mangino's personality was causing massive turnovers on his coaching staff over the last couple of years and that was going to cause KU massive issues going forward because changing half a coaching staff every year is one of the surest ways to cripple recruiting. Assistant coaches are the ones who build the relationships with the HS athletes and are the ones selling the kid on a program. When you have inconsistency with who's on your staff, you have inconsistency in recruiting as well. This is the biggest reason why Mangino needed to go. Had Perkins been able to land someone like Harbaugh, as was rumored to be headed to Lawrence had Perkins let him coach Stanford's bowl game, then KU likely doesn't have the drop off they had under Gill. Firing Mangino was the right decision, but the reasons for firing Mangino were flawed and Perkins should've been shown the door right after Mangino was.

Kirk 7 years, 11 months ago

First of all, KU didn't fire Mangino. Rather, Perkins declared open season on Mangino in the middle of the season, undermining the whole job. Then forced him to retire.

How'd that work out? Three years of really neato improvement, and more to come!

Second, Mangino's final recruiting class was ranked 4th in the Big 12.

So much for "firing" him being the "right move."

Sam Constance 7 years, 11 months ago

Gill's two years of disaster don't prove that firing Mangino was the wrong move. It merely proves that hiring Gill was the wrong move.

And having a 4th ranked recruiting class or not, he was having a ton of turnover on his staff, mostly due to attitude/demeanor issues.

Here's the thing--if I, as a fan, am going to tolerate my program's head coach being a jerk and kind of a bully, then he better be REALLY friggin' good--not "one year of success when the schedule and talent broke just right but otherwise middle-of-the-road" good.

jhox 7 years, 11 months ago

Mangino's 4th rated recruiting class was the upper class "leaders" of the last couple of KU teams. Pretty good legacy he left, I'd say, if I wanted to be sarcastic.

texashawk10 7 years, 11 months ago

Perkins fired Mangino and claimed it was "with cause" so he wouldn't have to pay the remainder of Mangino's contract. Mangino then proceeded to sue the school claiming he was fired without cause. It was determined Mangino was fired without cause and he was awarded the remaining cash owed him which was then negotiated down. If Mangino had retired, he would not have been able to sue KU because legally, he would've left on his own terms.

Kirk 7 years, 11 months ago

Actually Mangino was forced to resign. He THREATENED to sue, which led to an agreement.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 11 months ago

Mark Mangino to UK makes sense .. yea, to the University of Kansas.

Mangino is the only coach to bring this program to the pinnacle since, well, a hell of a long time ago. Proof is in the pudding.

Gill's hiring was proof of the administration's incompetence -- incompetence in mindset. Proof is in the pudding.

Guys like Mangino don't make friends along the way. When they win, they are left alone. When the lose, the sharks start to circle. The sharks are the liberal, ivory tower, politically correct types that don't have the spine to confront what they claim to be inappropriate conduct when he's winning. It's only "inappropriate" when he's losing.

Mangino was the best thing to happen to KU football since the 60s. Wish we had him back.

Emery 7 years, 11 months ago

Mangino did a great job resurrecting the KU football program. I loved the way his teams played with heart and guts. We actually defeated NU and KSU a few times. I was happy.

ffletch 7 years, 11 months ago

I wish we had him back. I wish he had never left. The man could coach.

MoralVictory 7 years, 11 months ago

One more time with gusto..... 2002 Kansas 2–10 0–8 6th (North)
2003 Kansas 6–7 3–5 T–4th (North) L Tangerine
2004 Kansas 4–7 2–6 T–5th (North)
2005 Kansas 7–5 3–5 5th (North) W Fort Worth
2006 Kansas 6–6 3–5 4th (North)
2007 Kansas 12–1 7–1 T–1stπ (North) W Orange† 7 7 2008 Kansas 8–5 4–4 3rd (North) W Insight
2009 Kansas 5–7 1–7 6th (North)
Kansas: 50–48 23–41
Total: 50–48

Notice our placement in the conference during his 8th year on the job. Two years out of 8 where he finished in the top-half, not in the league, but in the weaker of two 6-team divisions.

So let's do what they do in figure skating - take out the highest and lowest scores - and what do you get? One third place finish in the division in six years.

He was really no more successful than Mason, who probably would have been fired in a season or two had he not left for Minnesota.

Bottom line, he wasn't horrible but he was by no means great....especially without number 5.

Kirk 7 years, 11 months ago

You mean Mangino averaged more wins per season than our TOTAL number of wins in the 3 years since?

And he had a winning record. You're LIKING 1-11, huh?

MoralVictory 7 years, 11 months ago

I read over my comments and didn't see anything referring to our current coaching situation. As Parcells said: you are what your record says that you are. Mangino, in eight years, was 23-11 in conference with two upper division finishes in eight tries. Facts suck, don't they.

Kirk 7 years, 11 months ago

Not horrible, not great. That removes the straw men.

WAY out on a limb there.

I'd say Mangino was about as good as it gets at KU. Mason less so, but he was okay. He was not horrible or great either.

I mean I liked Mason's 10-2 season, except for the two huge blowout losses, one of them against KSU. Otherwise, yeah. Mason not so much.

Jeffery Barrett 7 years, 11 months ago

Thank you, MoralVictory, for answering the mangino lovers.

pepper_bar 7 years, 11 months ago

Raise your hand if you think KU would have been 1-11 under Mangino playing against the 2012 schedule.

I see no hands.

kureader 7 years, 11 months ago

I reread the article a couple times ... I'm looking for some reason that Keegan thinks Mangino might be a candidate for the Kentucky job. I'm guess I'm missing something. What does one have to do with the other?

Kent Kossoy 7 years, 11 months ago

If you are going to speak on legacy and coaching families, I agree both Mangino and Stoop family came from Bill Snyder. But, Snyder didn't start the legacy. He learned his talent under a former Iowa coch in the 80's, Hayden Fry.

Yolanda Gay 7 years, 11 months ago

In 2009 (5-7, 1-7), I think if Mangino had went with another QB, we would have had a winning season. It was obvious that Reesing wasn't getting it done due to his injury. He should have put Pick at QB. KU had good receivers that year. If Pick had got it the pass close to the receivers, Briscoe, Meier, etc would have been able to catch the ball.

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