Today 8 p.m.
/ Oklahoma vs Kansas
I have been trying to find why things are taken so seriously now, when in "the day" (the 1960's & 1970's) things were often worse in terms of records and performance but attitudes of students and fans were not so volatile.
As a freshman in '64 my seats were in the bowl end zone but what better vantage point to watch the incredible talent of Gayle Sayers I cannot imagine. Some screamed that Jack Mitchell should have been tarred and feathered for not having won the Big Eight with Gayle. The stadium was seldom sold out. The students hung around, despite the score; to cheer, the band!
A real low point was a defeat by Wichita State the year before they dropped their football program, under the leadership of Lew Perkins, I believe. In the ensuing years I have watched the hills and valleys of KU football roll along. Coaches come and go each with their good years and bad. But they do come and go. None established a "lasting culture" that we would be proud of.
So why are critiques of the football program more venomous now than they were when, say Pepper Rogers replaced Jack Mitchell. Jack left Pepper with some good football players to build on which led to an Orange Bowl appearance. Pepper could hit the ground running with a group of what proved to be an incredible team of assistant coaches as a support staff. The university was in the middle of a major fund raising effort that was focused on the academic and infrastructure needs of KU and the athletic programs were the lure to get alums on campus to visit the institution, not just the football stadium. Athletics were not the financial enterprises they have become today and then served as support services to the university not tax write offs to alums. Finally, there was no internet. How many of you would have taken the time to sit down and write a letter to the editor about Saturday's game or lack of same. I even had several pictures of empty stands sent to me "from my iphone in Section II at Memorial Stadium."
The totally bald talking head on ESPN radio devoted an entire show to KU and Wake Forest last week citing KU and Wake as "comets" who flamed after a single successful seasons, firing successful coaches and fading into obscurity.
Somebody please find the history of KU football and basketball data bases so my children and grandchildren and their peers can see that things have been worse and better.
I for one hope Turner Gill makes things better. I do not know him but I watched him play. I have read is resume. He knows what it takes to win. I hope he knows what it takes to translate his desire and ability to win to his team. I want both Turner and the KU program to be successful.
In '64 the issue was not a coach with a guaranteed multi-million $ contract. In '64 the issue was staying in school to avoid getting drafted and making it past the ticket taker without having your flask of rum detected. "The times they have changed."
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