Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ex-KU coach Mark Mangino building happy, healthy life at alma mater

Former Kansas University coach Mark Mangino says he’s “having more fun right now than I’ve had in a long, long time in coaching” during his first few months at Youngstown State, his alma mater. Mangino, seen here at YSU practice on Aug. 13, 2013, in Youngstown, Ohio, is the Penguins’ assistant head coach, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.

Former Kansas University coach Mark Mangino says he’s “having more fun right now than I’ve had in a long, long time in coaching” during his first few months at Youngstown State, his alma mater. Mangino, seen here at YSU practice on Aug. 13, 2013, in Youngstown, Ohio, is the Penguins’ assistant head coach, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.


— The horn has blown on the first of two football practices in one recent mid-week day at Youngstown State. The head coach has spoken and the players head for water bottles and a path home for rest. After a few minutes, just two men remain on the field, one a chatty linebacker, another the assistant head coach/tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator. The coach knows the role he needs to fill at the moment is to listen. So he listens.

The assistant head coach is known in this part of the country as “Bear,” his childhood nickname. Six seasons ago, he was known as the consensus national college football coach of the year, Mark Mangino, native of nearby New Castle, Pa.

Mangino, the last football coach to leave Kansas University with a winning record (50-48 in eight seasons) since Jack Mitchell in 1966, and the school’s only coach to appear in back-to-back bowl games, the only one to win three consecutive bowl appearances and the proud leader of a 2007 squad ranked seventh in the nation with a 12-1 record and Orange Bowl championship, heads to the bleachers to accommodate a reporter from Kansas.

From his seat, Mangino can see signs of the slow progress of a once-booming steel town’s recovery from the depths of its crash. Dormitories near the football stadium stand where crack houses and houses of ill repute sullied the landscape a few decades ago. The well-read Mangino cites a story he has read from an economist in a Washington, D.C., think tank, one that predicts Youngstown will be among the northeast Ohio cities that 10 years out will have much better economies than today. Foreign companies, aware of an eager and skilled labor force, are relocating in the area.

“It’s never going to be like it was, but there are definitely positive signs,” said Mangino, a 1987 graduate of Youngstown State who spent one season as a student assistant to Bill Narduzzi and one in a similar role on Jim Tressel’s staff.

Sensing positive vibes as to a rough town’s recovery in large part requires relying on intangibles. The only tools needed to recognize the football coach is in the midst of a comeback are a pair of eyes. Mangino is a shell of his former self in an all-good way. Eyes that haven’t seen him since his Kansas days required a second look to make sure it was in fact Mangino standing in the end zone fist-bumping a player. The ease with which he talked about his weight loss was nearly as shocking.

Mangino was forced to resign after the 2009 season with a negotiated $3 million parachute after athletic director Lew Perkins launched a late-season investigation into his alleged mistreatment of players. Mangino’s wife, Mary Jane, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She since has been declared cancer-free and goes in for six-month checkups.

Concerns over his wife’s health and lack of a job offer he felt was right for his career and family delayed Mangino’s return to coaching until, in advance of spring football, he accepted Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford’s offer to join his staff, a homecoming for Mangino.

Triple-digit weight loss

Mangino discussed his inspiration for losing weight.

“During the time I was off I got a chance to spend time with the grandkids,” Mangino said. “It was so much fun being around them, and I got to thinking about a year or so ago, ‘If I don’t do something, am I going to see them get their first Holy Communion, am I going to see them graduate high school, go to college? Am I going to be able to hang in there and see them get married?’ I thought about it and I said, ‘The chances are that I might not.’”


The Vindicator ( Youngstown)

Former Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino directs players at Youngstown State practice on Aug. 13, 2013, in Youngstown, Ohio. Mangino is the YSU assistant head coach, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.

He doesn’t sport the drooping-skin look of some who have lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time. He just looks like a mini-Mangino compared to his days as the Kansas coach.

“It’s hard for a guy like me, but I decided I was going to change my lifestyle, get more exercise, just change everything, make a drastic, drastic change in the way I looked at things,” he said. “And so far it’s been good. I’m getting my exercise. During two-a-days, it’s tough to exercise, but I get a little walk and I get my exercise out here (during practice).”

Mangino’s first major weight gain came when he left Bill Snyder’s staff at Kansas State for Bob Stoops’ staff at Oklahoma. He moved ahead of the family and missed home cooking, so it came as no surprise when he cited the person most responsible for supporting his conditioning efforts of the past year.

“Mary Jane’s been very good about preparing what I should eat and how much to eat,” Mangino said. “And I just decided I had to do something. I saw my wife sick, and I said, ‘Geez, if something happened to my wife and something happened to me, the grandkids wouldn’t have any grandparents.’ I decided I better get busy here. It’s time to stop putting my football team and my players ahead of myself. If I take better care of myself, then I’ll be able to take care of them better.”

Even without much hope of an answer, the question had to be asked: How much have you lost from your peak weight to now?

“I don’t know my peak weight, maybe it was because I didn’t want to face it,” Mangino said. “I started working out, watching what I was eating and doing different things probably six, eight weeks before I ever checked my weight. I can tell you that having weighed in the 28th or 29th of August, I was down 127 pounds (from about a year ago).”

Grudge? What grudge?

To listen to Mangino talk about his feelings about Kansas is to realize that he probably feels even lighter because he’s not carrying the weight of bitter feelings. Severance packages typically include clauses that prohibit the departing employee from trashing his previous employer, but Mangino seems motivated as much by maintaining a healthy state of mind as by fear of losing a healthy bank account.

“I hold the University of Kansas in high esteem,” Mangino said. “I mean, I had a great time there. I had eight great years there. I had a chance to coach great kids; my wife and I still have great friends all over the state of Kansas that we keep in touch with and come out and visit. I don’t have any reason to hold a grudge or anything.”

He knows what it’s like to carry around extra baggage. He didn’t like how it felt.

“Hey, grudges take work, they take energy,” he said. “They take up your thinking and who has time for that? I had eight great years there. One thing I’ll say, eight years, every single day, I gave the people at the University of Kansas my 100 percent. I gave everything I had to try to make that football program better and I’m proud of that.”

His thoughts remain trained on where he is, not where he has been, he said.

“Most people in Youngstown don’t even know my first name,” Mangino said. “It’s good to be here. I”m having fun. I’m about as thrilled as I could be. Youngstown State is the right place at the right time in my life. It is.”

It wouldn’t take more than a pop psychology degree from a fortune cookie or bubble-gum dispenser to draw the conclusion that feeling so supported from every angle has made Mangino feel good about himself and in turn aided his weight-loss efforts.

“My wife’s a big believer in everything happens for a reason, and she’s got me convinced that’s the truth,” Mangino said. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m having more fun right now than I’ve had in a long, long time in coaching. I’m with good coaches, good guys. I’ve got wonderful kids I’m coaching. They’ll run through a brick wall for you. They’re tough as nails. Everywhere I go, I run into friends or someone who has something positive to say, whether it’s about our football team, the season. Everybody’s upbeat. The city of Youngstown’s ready for football season. They’re dug in, ready for the first game. But I’m around good people, a lot of people that I know. They’ve always appreciated my effort and I’m thankful for that.”

That doesn’t mean Mangino, 56, has pitched a permanent tent at his alma mater. He said, “I don’t know how long I’ll be here,” and did not hesitate when asked if he felt up to the challenge of taking on another head-coaching job.

“There’s no question,” he said. “I’m prepared and I’m ready for it. I’ve got the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion for it. If the right situation came about that I thought it was a good decision to make for myself, my family, my future and it’s a place I want to be with good people who care about football, I’d do it again. But right now, I’m day to day. I’m enjoying the moment. I’m enjoying being here at Youngstown. It’s fun. It’s like being home. Everybody’s been so welcoming and everybody’s just so happy to have you. And here they don’t care who I am or what I am or whatever the heck labels are on me, have handed to me, other people have given me. I’m known around here by a name that’s not even my birth name.”

The “too-tough-on-the-players” label might shrink the pool of schools interested in pursuing a coach with a winning record at a place with a long tradition of losing football.

“I’m not worried about the things I can’t control and I can’t control what other people say about me,” Mangino said. “I think it’s best if you’ve watched me coach, if you’ve seen me prepare, if you’ve seen my relationship with players, you’ll understand me and you’ll know what I do is in the best interest of the program I’m in, and I enjoy teaching and coaching.

“I’m like every other human being. There are people who like me and people who don’t. And there a lot of people who don’t know me and have drawn a conclusion that I’m this or that and I can’t control that. I certainly can’t send 300 million mailings out. What am I going to do?”

He is going to keep sawing wood and occasionally tweet at “KeepSawinWood.”

‘A players’ coach’

Penguins junior tight end Nate Adams remembered learning the news about his new position coach.

“When we first hired him just hearing the name was pretty cool,” Adams said. “He’s been national coach of the year and now he’s a position coach here. He obviously knows a lot about the game and about offense. He’s really helped me a learn a lot about offense as a whole, not just from the tight end position.”

Adams laughed when asked if he found Mangino’s coaching style abusive.

“I think he’s definitely a players’ coach,” Adams said. “When we first met him in the spring, we had individual meetings with him and didn’t even talk about football. We talked about family and then he got our parents’ phone numbers and contacted our families. I think he got a bad rep up there at Kansas and I don’t see any of that side of him here at Youngstown. It’s definitely great to have him on staff.”

His tough reputation wasn’t a concern for his current employers.

From pupil to boss

Youngstown State head coach Eric Wolford, 42, played for Bill Snyder at Kansas State as an offensive lineman when Mangino was his position coach. They also were members of Snyder’s staff at the same time. Before becoming head coach at Youngstown State, Wolford also worked on the staffs of head coaches Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook, Mike Stoops, Darrell Dickey, Dana Dimel, Jim Leavitt and Snyder. He was recruited to K-State by Bob Stoops.

Wolford said that after he took the head-coaching position at YSU in 2010, Mangino was among the first he called for advice and he called him often.

“There are a lot of us out of that (Snyder) Kansas State coaching tree,” Wolford said. “Out of all of us, he got the most out of the least. It was a slam dunk for Youngstown State to hire him. He’s been great for staff chemistry. The players have really taken a liking to him. So it’s exciting to have him here.”

Without mentioning Lew Perkins by name or the specifics of the conditions under which he left KU — a ticket scandal not tied to Perkins but happening during his watch in which four people pocketed money for tickets and were sent to prison — Wolford expressed the opinion that Mangino’s relationship with his athletic director was the reason for his ouster.

“The thing is is this: The media perception of Mark Mangino is not Mark Mangino,” Wolford said. “Here’s a guy who was under tremendous pressure basically because the athletic director wanted him out of there. Quite frankly, there’s proof now they got rid of the wrong guy. Know what I mean? My opinion is they got rid of the wrong guy first. That guy was definitely out to get him and as a head coach you probably feel that or sense that. It was obviously putting a negative spin on Mark Mangino that was way off base. It’s not him.”

Youngstown State’s colors are red and white, but Wolford’s purple roots show often.

“There is no one gladder that Mark Mangino is gone from Kansas than us K-State fans,” he said. “We’re the happiest people in the world. Youngstown State fans are happy he’s here and Kansas State fans are happy that Mark Mangino’s not coaching at Kansas.”

Happy. The word hasn’t always been the first to roll off the lips of those describing Mangino, but now it seems to fit Mangino as well as those pants that have been taken out of the recesses of his closet after a long, sometimes stormy stay.


Andy Tweedy 6 years, 7 months ago

Good luck, coach! You certainly look like you've lost a ton of weight. 2007 seems so long ago...

Dee Shaw 6 years, 7 months ago

Never seems to fail that someone has to mention weight when Coach Mangino is mentioned. Why is that?

Adam McEwen 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't understand why there is this idea that Mangino is the bad guy or should be seen in a negative light. As I see it, 99% of KU supporters loved the guy and were sad to see him go. Lew Perkins is another story...if Lew has any concern for his physical well being, he will never set foot in Kansas again. Mark will be back at the top soon. I knew he was something special when I saw the intensity that his players who weren't the best or biggest athletes played with, Gabe Toomey in particular comes to mind. I remember thinking early on in the Mangino days that if he could get this undersized guy to sacrifice himself like that, and make plays he shouldn't have been capable of making, that we were going to be good. He's a hell of a coach, I don't care what anyone says.

TheBoHawk 6 years, 7 months ago

...Kevin Kane would have been a better undersized example...also, his fellow LB's

mahkmood 6 years, 7 months ago

The idea is out there that Mangino is a bad guy because Lew Perkins created a witch-hunt and drummed up disgruntled players (and went so far as to find upset parking attendants) to accuse Mangino of physical and verbal abuse - mostly to reduce the cost of firing Mangino. Mangino was slaughtered in the press, and during those days most posts from "fans" were in agreement to fire him (sorry, I disagree that "99% of KU supporters loved the guy"). There was almost no Lawrence media support for Mangino's side of the case. Many fans were chomping at the bit for a new coach that would "take the program to the next level". I completely agree that he was a great coach. He should never have been fired; it was a total injustice.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

Mangino should've been fired, but not for the reasons Perkins did. KU was in a crucial time where they could've established themselves as a perennial contender in the North (this was all before realignment talk started), but KU's performance was slipping back towards being a team that would struggle to get to 6-6 on a yearly basis because Mangino slacked off in recruiting after the Orange Bowl season. I've always agreed with the firing (not the official reason for it), and at the time I thought the Gill hiring was a good hire because he took the absolute worst FBS team in Buffalo and made them a respectable team and obviously I was wrong about Gill and have no problem admitting that. Make no mistake about though, Perkins wanted Mangino gone and Mangino gave Perkins a very easy way to try and fire him with cause because of Mangino's anger issues that were well documented while he was head coach. Those anger issues are also why media members didn't defend him very much because he treated a lot of media members like crap.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

99% were sad to see him go?!?!?!?

Seriously, where can I get drugs as good as the ones that you're clearly on???

It sounds like maybe he's changed his ways, and that's good for him and his players. Maybe it has something to do with the weight loss and feeling good about himself. Or maybe he's more comfortable with being an assistant coach and not having the pressure of being in charge.

Whatever the reason, perhaps he's truly not abusive at YSU; but he was DEFINITELY abusive at KU, and there are plenty of KU fans who believe the way I do.

Sae Thirtysix 6 years, 7 months ago

No worries there ahpFlipper, as long as there is a Keegan . . . There will be the q8month Mangino update

Phil Leister 6 years, 7 months ago

Dude looks good, and this was a great article. It's interesting to daydream about what this program would look like had Mangino never been ousted. He did lose 7 in a row to end things, but based on his previous few years, those 7 losses are an enigma and not something I expect would have continued. Oh well!

MinnesotaJay 6 years, 7 months ago

I'll never stop believing that if Perkins hadn't been dogging him, Coach wouldn't have had those 7 losses on his record. Perkins poisoned the well.

Brad Farha 6 years, 7 months ago

Todd Reesing was playing hurt. He got hurt (his groin?) in the 5th game, and never looked the same. Couldn't scramble like he used to, couldn't plant his feet and throw the long ball, etc.

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 7 months ago

I believe all the allegations began to surface about the time the tanking started. I was at the CU game in Boulder...great comeback by KU that fell short. Had we pulled it off, things may have been different the rest of the way.

KGphoto 6 years, 7 months ago

At that game too. That's the game he was injured if I remember correctly, and that's why the comeback failed. I could be wrong on that.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

The comeback wouldn't have been necessary if KU didn't keep giving Colorado the ball on the goal line in the first half.

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. I will never forget the ball going just over Briscoe's hands in the end zone on one of the last plays.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure he learned from the KU experience. If he's a better person now then there you go. You learn from the past so you can get better, and it sounds like he's doing just that. Good luck MM, and one day he'll be a head coach again.

hawk316 6 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. I'm glad he's not bitter (in the brilliant words of St. Augustine, "Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies") and that he has taken off some weight. Good for him.

Like you suggested, baldjedi, it appears that MM has learned from past mistakes. I wish him well.

JayHawkFanToo 6 years, 7 months ago

Keep sawing wood Coach Mangino; most KU fans remember you fondly.

Cmill1221 6 years, 7 months ago

As a Vegas local and witness of probably the only program worse than KU the last 3 years I would love to see him as the Head Coach at UNLV next year!

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 7 months ago

Hauck is out of his element. I also follow the Montana Grizzlies...he left right after losing the national championship game to Villanova. Should have never have left UM to take the UNLV job!

kay_you 6 years, 7 months ago

I'd like to see him at UNLV as well. Although I think it is a long shot for him to return to K-State I think there is a chance. Although he says he harbors no resentment I bet he'd love to exact some revenge on his former employer.

Ben Fletcher 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh, i think there's an excellent chance he ends up back at State. We're going to regret the hell out of it if it happens, too.

kay_you 6 years, 7 months ago

I was hoping they'd give Ron Prince a second chance. I'm not convinced that K-State football will return to their previous ways after Snyder retires. He has developed quite a coaching tree. The list of possible candidates is impressive.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

The only coach out there that has the tools to sustain KSU and is going to be a serious candidate is not part of the Snyder tree and that is Gary Patterson.

kay_you 6 years, 7 months ago

I can think of about 10 coaches with ties to K-State that will probably get some consideration. If I was the AD, Patterson would be on or near the top of that list. He's been away from his alma mater for some time now. Hopefully he has developed roots at TCU. Has to be easier to recruit there.

Lance Hobson 6 years, 7 months ago

First thing I thought of when I saw he's interested in coaching again. He'd get UNLV going, no doubt about it.

Mo Golany 6 years, 7 months ago

Interesting timing of this article. Let's focus on this team and Charlie Weis especially after a open practice scrimmage. Loved Mangino and his time here though.

Jack Jones 6 years, 7 months ago

Two reasons ~ (a) It's an interesting "catch up" piece about our most successful FB coach in recent history, who also happens to be a most interesting personality; and, (b) To flush out those who would ask, "Why is this article running today?"

Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

Because of what JackDavid said. Clearly, your opinion is in the minority as this article and a basketball article have more comments that an article about a staged scrimmage.

BringBackMark 6 years, 7 months ago

Great article. Hard to believe what the program had risen to and where it is today. Maybe Weis can regain some of it. It's very frustrating to make K-State fans happy by chasing off the best coach we've had in almost 50 years, if not ever.

Andy Godwin 6 years, 7 months ago

Mangino is not a dirty word in Kansas or at KU. It will be hard pressed for someone to duplicate, let alone exceed the success he had at KU (Weis will only need to go 11-1 to get to .500). Perkins was hired to improve the finances for KU athletic department, which he did. But he also pissed many people off during his tenure. Good or bad, his efforts lead to many upgrades in athletic facilities and a much healthier athletics program. His relationship with Mangino was never clear, but he jumped at the chance to replace him after a bad season and the player abuse "scandal". Perkins' demise will always be tied to the football program and replacing the best football coach at KU in decades with Gill was his downfall. If Gill had been successful, Perkins would likely have survived his indiscretions. The good news is Zenger is up for the task, and has better people skills. Hopefully Weis can help turn the football program around and finish with a .500 or better record (which would be a mini-miracle) when he retires.

mahkmood 6 years, 7 months ago

"He lost control of the ship and it was spinning in circles, rudderless". Rubbish. Lost to CU away by 4. Lost to KSU away by 7. Lost to NU by 14. Lost to MU by 2. That with Reesing playing less than 100% because of injury and a lot of unfortunate key turnovers. "let's not forget during that last season watching players give up on him". Also rubbish. Final game loss to MU by 2. Hardly giving up.

Sam Constance 6 years, 7 months ago

Each of those four losses should have been wins, with the talent he had on the team. The fact that they were close scores is meaningless.

I'm of the firm opinion that KU needed a change at head coach, but Perkins ruined that by being too cute about getting rid of Mangino at a discount and didn't have any kind of plan to replace him.

If Mangino's successor hadn't been such a massive failure and thrown the program into such turmoil, I don't think people would remember Mangino half as fondly as they do.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 7 months ago

He made the program better, which is why it sucks so bad to go right back where we started after he left.

Lance Meier 6 years, 7 months ago

Glad to hear MM is doing well along with his wife... Both Mangino and Perkins did some good things at KU, but in the end both did enough crap to get ousted too!!! I hate to hear Reesing was hurt and couldn't throw passes, well get him out of there and rest him for a week or two then back to work. Now saying that and doing it R two different things, his back-up??? Whomever that was, I would guess had no reason to B on the field, so Reesing was the best/only option??? There were way TOO MANY instances where Mangino was caught in a lie and the truth came out only after more and more situations came under fire. Also, if Ur winning a lot of these same things get pushed to the back burner and if Ur not winning they get moved to the forefront... Some of the stuff that came out about MM, make me sick. BUT, he had to B a certain way to get the KU football program back from the dead, I believe he thought he could do anything he wanted and no one was going to tell him different? I think it all comes down to wins and losses, he started to lose and those indiscretions were coming out into the open, he dug his own grave. It just took awhile for him to complete his own burial...

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

Kerry Meier was officially Reesing's back up so holding Reesing out for a week or two also meant taking KU's most consistent WR away.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 7 months ago

Kale Pick was the official back up in the 5-7 season. Kerry Meier was full-time with the WRs. Didn't even practice at QB that season.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

There's no reason for him to hold a grudge against KU since Perkins is gone.

MartyrMangino 6 years, 7 months ago

Let's call it like it is, we railroaded the best football coach our school has ever had after the administration convinced KU fans that Coach Mangino was doing borderline criminal things to the players. Coach Mangino never did anything illegal, and in the vicissitude of Turner Gill's arrival all of the sanctimonious attitude turned into animosity toward Coach Mangino and turned our players into cowards.

Coach Mangino basically reinvented KU football. Does anybody remember what gameday on the hill was like before he arrived? The stadium, facilities, and culture are all better now thanks to him. Obviously we didn't get to where we all wanted, but it wasn't for any lack of effort on Coach Mangino's part.

Thanks for all the memories coach. Your teams put a lot of goalposts in Potter Lake, and they always tried their hardest.

littlerichard 6 years, 7 months ago

"One thing I’ll say, eight years, every single day, I gave the people at the University of Kansas my 100 percent. I gave everything I had to try to make that football program better and I’m proud of that.”

That is 100% true. I will always love the Buddha for what he did for KU football..

Bryce Landon 6 years, 7 months ago

And his replacement gave 100 percent to completely undo everything Mangino accomplished.

Pat Sullivan 6 years, 7 months ago

Great column Keegs! As you have heard me say consistently for 5 years, I would take Mangino back today if he was available. No offense to Charlie W but KU football was relevant when Mark was here. I only hope they will be again. Congratulations to Coach Mangino on the weight loss...that's wonderful news!

Steve Reigle 6 years, 7 months ago

He did a good job on the field but what I remember about Mark Mangino, besides what is in this article about player abuse, is his blowing up at the official at his son's game, his blasting the campus cops because they ticketed his car for illegal parking, and his comments that expressed a feeling of entitlement because he's the football coach and can do what he wants. It was that attitude that I didn't like in addition to the allegations of player abuse. There were too many of those allegations, credible allegations, to all be false. We lost a good field leader but I am glad he's not around here any more.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat. It is okay to focus on the good that Mangino did for KU football, but you have to take the good with the bad and Mangino was a person who had a lot of baggage to go with the good he did for KU.

Mangino_Maniac 6 years, 7 months ago

"My opinion is they got rid of the wrong guy first. That guy (Perkins) was definitely out to get him and as a head coach you probably feel that or sense that. It was obviously putting a negative spin on Mark Mangino that was way off base. It’s not him.”

So true!

Awesome to see Coach Mangino happy and moving forward. I hope one day to be as thrilled as a fan as when watching Reesing throw to Meier on fourth down to take the lead against Mizzou. Those were some sweet days for KU football! With Heaps here, maybe it will be this year!

Go KU.

kay_you 6 years, 7 months ago

There is no one gladder that Mark Mangino is gone from Kansas than us K-State fans. This would be his 12th season at KU and at 56 he would still have quite a few years left. What a shame.

John Randall 6 years, 7 months ago

Even more obvious that J_U_D doesn't understand the meaning of "troll". It does have a meaning – not just an expletive to throw around when you need one.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow, I thought I was going to be alone here, the loose gate swinging in the wind!!

This points up a long standing problem at KU, a losing programs in football with all the emphasis on Basketball.

Basketball, Basketball, Basketball uber alles!!!!!

Coach Mangino had a great record at OU, with a National Championship team. I truly felt that when he came here that things would be different at KU.

Wrong. Just plain wrong. He could not overcome the incessant griping and complaining from the impatient fans. He could not make any headway with the enctenched "Basketball" program (NBA Academy). He suffered from the idiots that made something about his weight.

Now he has returned to his alma mater and more friendly surroundings (Coach Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) also came from Youngstown State) and they seem to have some insight to college football programs, This is non-existant at KU

Again KU is rated at the doormat in the Big 12, something that will probably occur.

There is a real systemic problem with the KU football program that even ridding the department of cigar-chewing Perkins will correct.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 7 months ago

Correction......."cigar-chewing Perkins will NOT correct"


Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

Great article. Perhaps everything does happen for a reason. I do wonder what would have happened has Mangino taken KU to a third straight bowl in 2009. Someone mentioned the Colorado game and MU game was lost in the closing seconds.

For his health, the time off was probably the best thing for Mangino. I know some people have some revisionist history about what he accomplished. We had one magical year and several years where we ended up at bowl eligibility or close. With that said, it is a lot better than where we are today or where we were before Mangino.

I know some day, Mangino will be invited back to the stadium and get his name put up with the other KU greats..

CrystalJones 6 years, 7 months ago

No, no one who was fired, especially amid accusations of player abuse, will ever have his name put in the stadium. We look back on Mark fondly now, but most of us thought he needed to leave. And there was too much scandal while he was here.

He was a good coach for us, but he's simply not a great college football coach. If he were, it would show on his resume. Instead, his phone didn't ring for three years until he finally got a job working as an assistant -- at Youngstown State. No one else but one of his former players would hire him. Even Ron Prince, now offensive coordinator at Rutgers, has a better job than Mark.

Jack Jones 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for bringing us up to date with Coach Mangino. Glad to know that he's back on the field doing what he loves, and sharing his football expertise with young men. Congratulations, Coach ~ for this, as well as the health related decisions and corresponding weight loss. First things first ~ right? Also, pleased to hear of the positive news regarding Mary Jane ~ good for both of you. Now I have two college football teams to follow this season. Best wishes ~ and look forward to your return to a Head Coaching position ~ should that be you and your families decision.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

Here's an update on Todd Reesing. He works for David Booth now.

Sam Constance 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm still a firm believer that our collective memory of Mangino's accomplishments here at KU is not as glowing if his replacement wasn't a bumbling fool who was in way over his head and took the slide that started under Mangino's tenure and turned it into a full-on march to the rock bottom.

The Orange Bowl season was fantastic, and easily the highest I have ever felt as a KU football fan. But we're not being honest with ourselves if we don't recognize that there was some serendipity that allowed us to make it to that fantastic game that year. As well as some fortune with the opponent we got to match up with in the game itself. I don't say this to downplay the accomplishment, as we can now say we are the winners of a BCS bowl game whereas Misery is still hunting for one.

But where I really get annoyed at the overly-favorable memory of Mangino's term is in the subsequent years after our Orange Bowl title. Yes, he made a bowl in 2008, but it was the Insight Bowl for a team that started the season ranked 11th and had a lot of talent back from the Orange Bowl team. We lost to South Florida by a field goal because we couldn't execute down the stretch, got lambasted at home by Texas Tech, 63-21, lost at Nebraska, again because we couldn't execute down the stretch after playing close all afternoon, and got blasted by Texas at home, 35-7.

And then in 2009, we all know what happened--Mangino gave us the first seven losses in our embarrassing conference losing streak, and in spite of revisionist suggestions, we had three losses under our belts (Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas Tech) before the controversy started. I think people forget that part of what made Perkins feel like he had the ammo to oust Mangino was the fact that there were some allegations in ADDITION to his on-field slippage over the last two years. If KU had come out and won against Colorado (a game we should have won, ranked 17th in the country) or played respectably against Oklahoma at home or Texas Tech, I'm not sure Perkins would have felt bold enough to start the witch hunt. I went to the game against KSU in Manhattan that year and it was pretty clear that our days of beating the Wildcats under Mangino were over, now that Ron Prince was gone. Snyder's team completely controlled that game in spite of having a markedly less-talented team.

(to be concluded...)

Sam Constance 6 years, 7 months ago


In short, while I will always have a spot in my heart for what Mangino did for KU football, I have always felt that he was not the long-term solution here. I also think the way he was removed was garbage, and I will never stop being bitter at the fact that Perkins had no plan in place to succeed Mangino, which can be verified by the solution he provided us.

I'm glad to see that Mangino's health is in a much better spot, and I tend to agree with TexHouHawk--I'm not sure he would have found the motivation to change if he had continued to succeed and coach at KU. It's funny that in the long run, two entities (Mangino and KU) got what was probably (remains to be seen, but still) best for them in the long run, but it forced them both into some severely trying times. And they were both pushed down that path by a man who is genuinely a crappy person. I'm also happy to hear that Mangino's wife has fully recovered.

But I'm not sad that he's no longer at KU.

Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

Good post(s). I agree with you 100%. The other thing this illustrates is how pathetic our football history had been. Mangino is the second winningest coach in school history behind some guy who stopped coaching in 1910.

mahkmood 6 years, 7 months ago

Keegan, thanks for this great article. Mangino was all about building a football program, and he did it. Mangino was a perfect fit for KU because despite winning an Orange Bowl and many awards (Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, Walter Camp Coach of the Year, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, Woody Hayes National Coach of the Year) nobody else wanted to hire him away from KU. He would still be at KU today if not fired, and still winning lots of games and bowls. Charlie Weis might field some great KU teams, but do we really think he will stick around after success? No way. This is a rebuilding for Weis's collegiate coaching reputation and his retirement account. What KU did to Mangino seems unforgivable. They destroyed his reputation nationally by publicly tagging him an "abusive coach", and consequently his career options all but died. After 4 years the guy is an assistant coach at Youngstown State! Ok, there were the family and medical issues, but come on! KU did not have to destroy Mangino the way they did - and just 2 years after a 12-1 w/ Orange Bowl victory! KU should publish a formal apology to Mangino, and bring him back after Weis takes off for greener pastures.

Lance Hobson 6 years, 7 months ago

Perkins fired Mangino because he was fat. He thought he didn't pose a good enough image. I hate fat people as much as the next guy but Mangino was about the only winner KU ever had in football and Perkins blew it. Perkins needed to leave Mangino alone and worry about the thieves in the ticket office. Just a horrible decision to fire him, and handled very poorly as well.

Listening to Wolford was painful. Because it's all painfully true.

Mike Barnhart 6 years, 7 months ago

You HATE fat people??? Mangino was a world class bully, why not hate that instead.

Jim Jackson 6 years, 7 months ago

A good buddy of mine worked on Mangino's staff from 07-09 and quoted Mangino as saying: " I have your career in one hand, and your family in the other, you better not let Baylor score." This was directed towards Clint Bowen when he was asst D-coordinator is not an embellishment. Mangino was a POS and I am glad he is not here anymore.

Rock Chalk, looking forward to going bowling this season!

BringBackMark 6 years, 7 months ago

There were many accounts that Bowen was a big part of the coup to get rid of Mangino.....including searching out the "abused players". I think he (Bowen) had some fantasy of getting the head coaching job if Mangino was ousted. Quite frankly it concerns me a bunch to see him back on the staff at KU.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

Thank you, Jayhawker, for injecting some specifics into the tired old discussion of what a great guy Mangino was and how he was railroaded out of KU. There are countless accounts of similar behavior on Mangino's part, and it's amazing how many people refuse to look at the truth.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 7 months ago

The whole affair seems to be just another example of what happens when values become skewed. It seems to me that ambition was in play, ingratitude, impatience, indiscretion and so on. Perkins and Mangino were both at fault...they're human. Glad things are going well for him. I think he could have gotten another job if he wanted it. I mean not like he needs the money like the rest of us. My favorite MM win was the blow out of Nebraska. I often wondered if Osborne didn't really sell Perkins on Gill as payback for that historic rout of the Huskers.

Other than that, glad he was here, Glad Weis is here and I am not expecting him (Weis) to go anywhere soon no matter how successful he is. There will be those who start or try to start rumors every year after we get back to beating KSU on a regular basis. But I hope HCCW is here for a very long time.

CrystalJones 6 years, 7 months ago

In general, I agree with you. But when have we ever beaten KSU on a regular basis? It's the other way around, I'm afraid. I mean, we've won just 4 out of the last 16 against them. But hey, I'm all for starting to beat them on a "regular basis" ... beginning with the 2014 game!!

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

Have you seen KU's all time record against KSU? KU completely dominated KSU prior to Snyder getting to KSU.

Bryce Landon 6 years, 7 months ago

Kansas leads the all-time series with Kansas State 65-40-5. It will be at least another quarter-century before they catch up to us.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

That's my point, KU had about a 40 game lead in the all time series before Snyder got to KSU.

Shelly Harshaw 6 years, 7 months ago

Well said Coach Wolford!

"Quite frankly, there’s proof now they got rid of the wrong guy. Know what I mean? My opinion is they got rid of the wrong guy first."

Glen Miller 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm still pissed about Mangino being let go. He has one bad year and everyone wants to come forward and say a bunch of BS. I gurantee Perkins did everything he could to get those players to yap their gums so that the attention would be off of him. I think we all know that Perkins should have been the one packing his bags and not Mangino. I always thought and still think that Mangino was a great coach for us to have. If he were still here, I think we'd have made a few more bowls and not had these 2 win seasons.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

Yet another person who refuses to deal with reality.

I knew one of the players on the team, and believe me, it was not a "bunch of BS." Mangino was incredibly abusive and deserved everything he got.

Hammertoe 6 years, 7 months ago

In 8 years at KU, Mangino had one winning season in conference play. His overall record is 18 games below .500. That doesn't sound very good to me.....

Bryce Landon 6 years, 7 months ago

Mangino was also the most KU recent coach to beat your Pussycats, doing so four times, and the first KU coach to score wins over K-$tate since Glen Mason. That sounds pretty good to me.

Hammertoe 6 years, 7 months ago

The bar is very low if you are happy with one winning season in conference play in 8 years. Most schools would have fired their coach before losing his last 7 conference games. How much money did KU pay Mangino for one winning season?

kujhawkfan 6 years, 7 months ago

In Mark Mangino's final season at KU, a team with very high expectations started 5-0 and lost 7 consecutive games to finish the season. The Magino Era was known for one magical season in which we didn't play OU or Texas and the rest of the conference was down. Lets not forget that the AD who everyone is blaming for the firing, is the only reason we were awarded the Orange Bowl invite. No football program should celebrate these numbers over an 8 year period....

Winning record vs. only one conference school- (Iowa State) 23-41 conference record 10-28 road record

DanR 6 years, 7 months ago

Great story, TK.

I never doubted what Mangino could do as a football coach, but my hat's off to him if he can lose weight in Youngstown. I spent four years there in the late 90s, eating my way from one end of Mahoning Valley to the other, and--holy pierogi--there's some good restaurants in that notch of the rust belt. Throw in easy access to Handel's ice cream, and surely I'd be dead if I still lived there.

The Stoops and Pelini families, Jim Tressel, Mangino and Lou Holtz from down the road a, that area has produced some great football minds.

Mike Nicco 6 years, 7 months ago

Coach, I have forgiven you for tanking the Missouri game. No way your were going to win that game and let us go bowling, even if you were around to coach the game. I understand your bitterness, just wish it hadn't clouded your judgement and negatively affected your players and coaches.

I'm sincerely happy for you now. Most of us deserve a second act. Hope you make the most of it.

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