Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Column: Look who’s sawin’

Former KU coach Mark Mangino set to return to Big 12 as Iowa State OC

Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino scans the KU practice field Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009.

Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino scans the KU practice field Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009.


Locate that calendar on your desk or refrigerator, in your pocket or computer. Circle the date Nov. 8, 2014. It marks the day Mark Mangino returns to the stadium that the vast majority of Kansas University football fans wish he never had left.

Don’t expect Mangino to do the same with his calendar.

Hours after Iowa State announced that head football coach Paul Rhoads officially had welcomed Mangino onto his staff as offensive coordinator, the former KU head coach returned my message. As he talked, it became evident he was holding a phone in one hand to explain his move back to the Big 12, a saw in the other, steadily moving it back and forth.

“This is my fourth Big 12 Conference school,” Mangino said, his words sending saw dust floating to the floor. “I can’t have a big game every week, so I treat them all the same. Every game is a must-win game in college football.

“I feel privileged to now serve at my fourth Big 12 university. I’m the same every week, no matter what the game is or who the opponent is. I’m just not going to put too much into that. It’s our players against their players, just like every week.”

Three of the four coordinators in the Nov. 8 game — KU’s OC John Reagan and DC Clint Bowen — worked for the Jayhawks’ football program when it won 28 times in a 35-game stretch.

Since Mangino was forced out by former KU athletic director Lew Perkins with a $3 million parachute, Kansas has gone 9-39.

Perkins’ hire, Turner Gill, went 5-19 in two seasons and was fired with three years and $6 million remaining on his contract by Sheahon Zenger, whose hire, Charlie Weis, has gone 4-20, two years into a five-year, $12.5 million deal.

“I think it’s good that guys who have been on my staff there now have come back,” Mangino said of Bowen and Reagan, brought back to KU by Weis two years apart. “I think it’s good for them, and I think it just validates we were on the right track the whole time that we were there.”

He said he thoroughly enjoyed his year at Youngstown State, where he served as assistant coach to Eric Wolford, but couldn’t turn down “the opportunity to get back in the Big 12 Conference.”

Mangino worked under Bill Snyder at Kansas State and Bob Stoops at Oklahoma before coming to KU.

“I have a lot of respect for Iowa State,” Mangino said. “I’ve always thought they did things the right way there. They’ve had some really solid success there under Dan McCarney and under Paul. Their football program has a reputation for having very hard-nosed, tough kids. I’ve always admired that about the program throughout my years in the Big 12. They’re tough customers.”

They just grew a little tougher, the Nov. 8 game in Memorial Stadium a lot more interesting.


Doug Cramer 6 years, 4 months ago

As the article mentions, the VAST MAJORITY of us KU Alumni appreciate what Coach Mangino did for KU football, and wished he was still here. Mangino coached discipline, attention to detail, and playing with energy and matter the talent level. All of which Weis's teams lacks tremendously. Those 8 seasons were a lot of fun to be a part of.

Glen Miller 6 years, 4 months ago

If we'd have kept Mangino, I don't think our football team would be in the sad state that it is in now. That staff and Mangino personally were very good at getting the most out of the 3 star players we have to bring in. He had a down year after losing Reesing and Briscoe and all those guys. That's to be expected at a program such as ours where we aren't reloading every year. In this day and age, patience is not a virtue and I think it's bs. You have a bad season and then all the sudden the guy is a bad coach and the players dont' like him and blah blah blah.... I thought he got jobbed pretty hard core and I wish he'd come back to run this team again. Good for him and good for Iowa State. They got a good one. Yet another year int he Big 12 cellar, as all the teams around us get better and we stay the same. Frustrating, very frustrating. Living in Oklahoma, I get constant ridicule and just laughs during football season. I'm growing weary of it.

Kyle Coffey 6 years, 4 months ago

To correct your post, Reesing's last year was Mangino's last year. To be fair, it wasn't like he was completely innocent by telling players that he'll send them back to the hood and get shot with his homies. Or something like that, apparently. But it was obvious Perkins didn't want him as the head coach. It'll be interesting to see what offense Iowa State runs. I would expect an OU offense from when Mangino was there.

But to get back to KU news, I'm still so excited that John Reagan has come to KU. When I was in high school, I attended a few KU camps and Reagan was very heavily involved with everything. On top of that, he's just a good guy too, until he deals with things inside the lines. KU got a good one in Reagan.

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't think of things that are out of our control. The decision had consequences (for both, KU & for Perkins). I am glad where we are right now. I am hopeful that we can make a good directional change with Reagan) and come up as a contender in the Big-12.

Robert Brown 6 years, 4 months ago

I do think that Mangino was able to ride the success of Todd Reesing and not sure what would have happened had he stayed after Reesing graduated.

BUT, you have to give Mangino credit for recruiting Reesing and then boldly giving him an opportunity to start even though he did not have the physical tool of someone like Meier.

He made transformed Reesing from a 2 to 3 star recruits to a 4 to 5 star performer.

Our current coaching staff has made 5 star QBs into 2 star performers.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 4 months ago

Perkins cost Kansas a bunch of money.... including the pile of cash he plundered for himself. He was a terrible businessman, questionable ethics, and greedy as hell. I never liked the guy and rue the day he ever came into our lives.

Dyrk Dugan 6 years, 4 months ago

yes, Suzi, that's the main issue. Perkins ruined KU football...set it back several years...with the MU game at Arrowhead, he undercut Mangino with his "internal investigation"...and all the bad press that went with it. Could have hired Charlie Strong...or just about anybody up and coming...(Malzahn? shoot he went to Arkansas St. before going to Auburn)....and he chose Gill. SZ is trying to help with the new track facility, and then we can work on the stadium. Weis is strictly a transition get us to the next one..and hopefully, we just hired him. :)

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