Thursday, August 31, 2017


Tom Keegan: Mark Mangino opens window to his Kansas success, obsession with job

Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib walks off the field with his arm around head coach Mark Mangino following the Jayhawks' 20-15 win over Colorado Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Talib pulled in two interceptions during the 'Hawks win.

Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib walks off the field with his arm around head coach Mark Mangino following the Jayhawks' 20-15 win over Colorado Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Talib pulled in two interceptions during the 'Hawks win.


Now that he is retired from coaching, Mark Mangino can reveal the secret sauce that led to his football success at a basketball school.

So, how did you do it? How did you build a 50-48 record in eight seasons, four that ended with bowl games, a fifth with a record that made Kansas bowl eligible? (The Jayhawks are 14-70 in the eight seasons since Mangino accepted a $3 million parachute to resign under pressure after Lew Perkins launched an investigation into Mangino’s allegedly harsh coaching methods).

“I’m not proud of it, but for the eight years we spent at Kansas, the job was the singular vision of my whole life, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mangino told me in a recent telephone conversation. “If I was not at work, I was at home thinking about ways to make players better with cutting-edge training, offensive and defensive schemes. And I was lucky to have really good assistant coaches.”

Mangino challenged assistant coaches and players alike, and more than anything, he challenged himself to make every detail of the job an obsession.


Journal-World file photo

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

“I told myself if you really want to do this, then it has to be the most important thing in your life,” Mangino said. “And for eight years it was. My family took a back seat. I’m not proud of that.”

He is proud of how everyone in his family is doing, so the formula worked. And it certainly worked to the benefit of the Kansas football program.

“We tried our absolute best to be first-class,” Mangino said. “We wanted our players to think that they were in a special program. We put them first. We coached them hard, got after them hard and made them feel as if they could beat anybody, anywhere, any time, and our kids did what we asked them to do.”

Mangino has been out of coaching since being fired as Iowa State offensive coordinator in midseason of 2015 by head coach Paul Rhoads. He sounds very much like a man enjoying retirement and not looking to be coaxed out of it to coach football again.

Mangino and wife Mary Jane spend part of the year in his hometown New Castle, Pa., a half-hour southeast of Youngstown, Ohio, home of the famous Stoops coaching family, and the winter months in Naples, Fla., with side trips here and there to watch Kentucky football, where son Tommy is on Mark Stoops’ offensive staff.

In late June, Mangino spent a day hanging out with another retired football coach, Bob Stoops, and his brothers Mike (Oklahoma defensive coordinator), Mark and Ron Jr. (Youngstown State special teams coach), as well as Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini and retired boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. They gathered at a bocce-ball tournament, a fundraiser for Cardinal Mooney High in Youngstown, where the Stoops brothers’ father, the late Ron Stoops Sr., coached football for nearly 30 years.

“Boom Boom’s got more energy than a 10-year-old,” Mangino said. “Jabs and punches to everybody. Fun guy to be around.”

Of Bob Stoops, Mangino said, “He’s happy. He’s doing what he likes to do, which is having fun. He’s pretty at ease with his decision.”

Mangino’s looking forward to a weekend reunion with the players from the 2007 season who won the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3, 2008.

“It’ll be fun to see all the players at the same time and they’ll have fun with each other,” Mangino said.

The forecast calls for pleasant evening to watch Kansas play Southeast Missouri State in the season-opener and to watch the Orange Bowl victors accept an ovation on the night the names Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins go up on the Ring of Honor. With the exception of Kerry Meier, who had a previous commitment, the biggest names on the Orange Bowl squad, from Talib and Collins, to Todd Reesing and James McClinton, to Brandon McAnderson and Jake Sharp are expected to be on hand. A quick check of reveals that seats ranging from $10 to $50 remain on sale.

The bigger the crowd, the louder the ovation. They deserve to hear the sounds they heard back when they made Memorial Stadium rock, don't you think?


Brett McCabe 2 years, 7 months ago

I would never advise someone on what to do with their life, but here's something that intrigues me....

What if Stoops looked around and identified the weakest FBS football program in the country (yes, I know, you could make an argument for KU). It would be a school that is not in a P5 conference, and that has a long tradition of failure. Stoops could go in and take the job, hire Mangino on and bring back some of the guys from the band and build a nothing into a something. It would be a tremendous challenge and it would be tremendously rewarding in many, many ways. And what a tremendous legacy to leave.

This type of job would not have the pressures of a job like OU. It would offer a different kind of challenge and a completely different kind of reward. It would be a ton of fun to watch.

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

Of course he's a workaholic. He's a Snyder protege.

If ever there was a role for him here i think game strategist would be super. Call it what you will but he like Snyder knows how to game plan.

Bryce Landon 2 years, 7 months ago

One huge ingredient to his "secret sauce" was Todd Reesing.

Bryan Mohr 2 years, 7 months ago

True, but Mangino still won games prior to Reesing with names like Swanson and Whittemore. Winning football games was a result of the total program that Mangino put together. It was good assistant coaches, recruiters, and lots of good players. How many NFL games did Reesing play in? It's not like Mangino got lucky and had Micheal Vick as his QB. That 2007 Orange Bowl team was far more than Reesing (Talib, Harris, Mortensen, Meier, Herford, Stuckey, McAnderson, Rivera, Collins, Briscoe, Henry, Coach Warriner, Coach Young. etc.). KU football hasn't suffered from the departure of Mangino, it died. It takes some time to turn a program around, but let's not forget Beaty is 2-22 with one win being Rhode Island. I want Beaty to be successful. Only time will tell. Mangino was 8-17 after his first two seasons.

Richie Wilson 2 years, 7 months ago

Keegs really wants a big crowd this Saturday. This is his 2nd or 3rd article bringing that up. Anyway, didn't realize in the last 8 years since mangino has left we have averaged 1.75 wins. Damn!

David Robinett 2 years, 7 months ago

Bryce, no doubt on Reesing. But also, Todd didn't do it by himself either.

Self doesn't win NC in 2008 without Chalmers.and Rush.. and vice versa

Brett McCabe 2 years, 7 months ago

Just listened to Beaty on WHB and was very impressed. He answered some direct questions about his growth as a head coach, his approach, etc.

Not that anyone on this board or anywhere else really cares what I think about Beaty and KU football, but I wanted to clarify that I think Beaty has a ton going for him, and he could be the guy to get this thing started. He deserves credit for many off-field accomplishments for KU football, and I hope that he'll start getting credit for some wins and some improved performances on the field this year.

It's just about showtime. Time to perform.

Kit Duncan 2 years, 7 months ago

Brett, regarding your earlier post about Bob Stoops, my belief is there's something bigger in the works. OU president David Boren is probably nearing retirement. I see OU AD Joe Castiglione being picked as Boren's replacement (he earned his Master of Ed @ OU in 2007). Stoops is assistant AD and would be certainly welcomed by everyone to take over the AD position. Just my conspiracy theory.

Andy Godwin 2 years, 7 months ago

Beaty is trying to build a foundation that will last. He might not be the best X's and O's guy, but as a head coach his job is to hire a competent staff, who work together to recruit and develop players and in turn a culture that KU fans can be proud of. Case in point, last Saturday at the Field Goal Club opening, the players (every single one) came by and shook the hands of all remaining fans and thanked them for coming out to watch their practice and for supporting them going forward. All of the players we kind and respectful, yes Sir or yes Maam. They then proceeded to the student section where each player was handed a bucket of water and a sponge to clean the bleachers. We fans took it as a team building exercise and a way to show respect to the student body (see photo). It might seem hokey to some, but that is what Beaty is trying to teach and instill into his players and his program, respect your school, the alumni, and the student body. Our role as fans, students and alumni alike, is to come and show our support for the effort the coaches and players are giving to represent our University on the playing field and beyond.

Football players with buckets and sponges cleaning the student section

Football players with buckets and sponges cleaning the student section by Andy Godwin

Commenting has been disabled for this item.