Self and Mangino Best Coaching Duo in America?


So here I was, wondering if there has ever been a football-basketball coaching duo at Kansas any better than our current one. I can, as many of you can also, quote the basketball coaching line at KU both forward and backwards. But when I looked back at the football coaches, I realized Id heard of just a handful of them. I bet there isnt a soul on Earth who can recite even half the line without difficulty, perhaps not even the writer I hold in highest esteem, Bill Mayer. Suffice it to say that because most of them had losing records, this was a fruitless mental exercise.

So to salvage the effort that a few of my brain cells had already undertaken, I began to wonder if there is currently a better duo elsewhere in the country, and how Mangino-Self would rank against other all-time great combos. Now this is a difficult task, because few schools reach prominence in both football and basketball. You look to schools like Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, UCLA, and others. But then few of their programs reached prominence simultaneously. And are there historical duos that measure up to the standard of greatness any better than the one on campus? Rather than answer this myself, Im interested in others' thoughts...

Can anyone cite coaching combos any better than Mangino-Self?


Christopher Hauser 8 years, 10 months ago

Fielding Yost never lost as a KU head football coach (10-0), of course that was in 1899. Since 1890 KU has had 37 head coaches (Don Fambrough twice). Of the 37 coaches I believe 12 only stayed for 1 year. Phog Allen was HC in 1920 (5-2-1).

Coaching combos better than Self/Mangino are tough. Some that could be close: Florida (Billy Donovan, Urban Meyer), Texas (Mac Brown, Rick Barnes). Of course you already mentioned one of them.

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

I remember UCLA being pretty good in the mid 90's under harrick/ lavin and whoever their football coach was, but honestly Jross....

No, there's no competition. COnsidering where Kansas was in football, and Considering how Bill has ratcheted up a great program... Now there are other smaller sports that might have a juggernaut but not at the dynamic level of football and basketball.....

Billy D's success has tapered off successfully, wile Urban's still on the rise but i question without a legitimate playoff can we give a school like florida who is a routine conference favorite metric aside from how they do in BCS games..... and I do not see their level of excellence being on par Kansas Basketball's level of excellence..... I would say our football program is spring promise that their basketball team cannot maintain.....

As for Mack Brown and Rick Barnes, I vomit a little bit even considering them. Mack's a decent coach but consistantly gets shucked aside by those pesky sooners, and While Rick Barnes is an excellent recruiter, he is lacking as a game coach. When Stoops and Jeff Capel becomes more formidable, then there is your argument... Capel can compete with the rise of Mangino but oklahoma wasn';t BAD when he took them over.....

PS, If you haven't already I commented to your Mayer post....from january 18th....

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

i think a lionshare of that credit goes to Lew Perkins, honestly.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 10 months ago

Kelvin Sampson had some decent basketball teams at OU to complement Stoops' football team. But Kelvin was a cheater and proved not to have staying power.

John Beilein and Rich Rodriguez had a good thing going at West Virginia for a little while... maybe just being in the right place at the right time.

I can't think of Louisville's football coach right now but they field a respectable team, and Rick Pitino is a good basketball coach.

Oregon has had some two-sport success but I can't name either of their coaches right now.

I can't offer much in the form of historical perspective, but I think that Self/Mangino, Mayer/Donovan, and Brown/Barnes are the marqee duos and are head and shoulders about the rest right now.

MrSaturday 8 years, 10 months ago

Now, we all know that Bill Mayer, to a large extent holds a great deal of the sports institutional memory at the LJW and the Lawrence community. Which makes it so sad that his "hard drive" has become so corrupted. Every week he takes a few random historical facts, mushes them together with nonsensical/Palinesque word combos, sprinkles a dash of hatred for the modern world...and voila...the weekly column.

Really, though, I give Mayer too much credit. He couldn't write 25 years ago. We shouldn't blame it on senility. He does have a lot of facts in his brain, but that is mostly because no one saw fit to run him out of town 25 years ago. Really, he should have been placed in a retirement village in about 1983 so he would have spare time to write his history of the Ted Owens years.

If I start a fanclub for Chuck Woodling, can I have a bold brassy red link to my blog on the front page of

Christopher Hauser 8 years, 10 months ago

waywardJay- can you come up with any, those were the best I could think of. Stoops has done a pretty bad job as far as winning National Championships as of late, so is he on the decline like Donovan?

If it were duo's that have won National championships then I guess the Florida two win hands down. Mac Brown has a championship which cancels out Mangino and Self cancels out Barnes-draw championship wise.

In my opinion there is not a better basketball coach in the nation then Self although ESPN would tell us differently. I think Mangino does more with the talent level of his team than any other coach in the country and may be considered one of the best coaches in the nation in the future if we become a national contender year in year out like in basketball.

K_Easthouse 8 years, 10 months ago

Honestly, I think we're being a bit homerish in assessments here, in particularly when we compare KU's current program with Oklahoma and Texas.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade Mangino for anyone in the country; I love his recruiting style and how he gets the most out of his players. And I legitimately agree that Self is - hands down - the best college basketball coach in the country.

However, in terms of accomplishments, I think we have to concede that Texas is up there. Barnes may not be the world's best game-time coach, but he challenges nearly every year for the Big 12 title, and contends on a national stage consistently. He's one of the only coaches I know who's fanbase doesn't celebrate a Sweet 16 appearance; they expect it.

And no one can argue against Mack Brown's job. For people complaining that they consistently lose to Oklahoma; at least they put themselves in a position to be there. They are near BCS locks every year and - again - compete on a national level.

Also, the Florida teams that wedged a BCS Championship in between a pair of NCAA Tourney championships MUST be highlighted. KU came close with an Orange Bowl win and a National Championship, but I think Florida can legitimately argue a better period of time than we can.

Again, this is all subject to change. I like where Mangino is taking this team now, but we're not quite players on the national stage just yet. In five years, if we become perennial BCS contenders in football, then I'm liable to add Self-Mangino to the discussion.

Christopher Hauser 8 years, 10 months ago

K_Easthouse- KU-Texas=tie accomplishment wise as far as coaches go. This is because of KU basketball, we have a long way to go in football, maybe like being successful against the South for starters.

Joe Ross 8 years, 10 months ago

wayward, without devoting a lot of breath to the subject you brought up on the other blog, exclusion is different when one chooses it for himself than when it is forced upon them. important distinction. im flattered, however, that you have chosen to read my past blogs! ;)

for everyone else, love your thoughts on the coaches...

Chris Shaw 8 years, 10 months ago

I think you are forgetting UNC with Roy Williams and Butch Davis. UNC was ranked higher for a majority of the season last year. Butch is about 3 or 4 years behind Mangino in turning that program around, but they could be a dynamic duo.

Christopher Hauser 8 years, 10 months ago

kushaw-how about Wake Forest, they may not be far either.

Eric Williams 8 years, 10 months ago

Just a few quality pairs. Football then Basketball

Pitt: Dave Wannstedt (sp?) and Jamie Dixon Wisconsin: Bret Bielema and Bo Ryan UCLA: Rick Neuheisel and Ben Howland LSU: Les Miles and Trent Johnson UNC: Butch Davis and Roy Williams Illinois: Ron Zook and Bruce Weber

Some are not on the same level as KU or OU/Texas/Florida, but these the only that I could think of that have a decent coach at each sport.

I think Pitt football is much like KU (on the rise) and Jamie Dixon is one of the best basketball coaches in the country.

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

well Jross, that blog DID have my name written all over it if you will.... Im glad there is a distinction because i say none ;).

Hauser- Use Video game logic here a little.... Florida basketball was a 70 pre-donovan, good but not getting done consistantly. Florida Football was a 90 pre-meyer, consistantly top level and national championship contender. Kansas Basketball was a 90 pre-self, we had just been to the title game and the final four the year previous. Kansas Football was a 40-50 pre-Mangino, we were lucky to be invited to a bowl if we beat the lowliest teams in our conference.

I think that is a fair assessment of they way we were..... way we ARE.... Florida Basketball Now, Still good but 3 years removed from the national title, and i cannot think of 1 scholarship player on their team that could start at Kansas - 70 Florida Football- may have no one on there team who would have considered Kansas whent hey signed on, still title contender and perenial favorite, nothing' schanged.- 90 Kansas Basketball- If it's being homerish, then it's being homerish, but our Basketball team is better now than it ever was. Even History Homers like Mayer say this team has the chance to be Best ever. that considered ...we haven't moved very far.- 90 Kansas Football- we are consistant bowl game contenders now, and are expected to compete for division crowns. We have athletes that competitve with other major schools now.- 80

I current put our football program above Florida's basketball program, which do you think will be a hard division to compete in...Sec basketball or Big 12 football. Even if you consider them strengths for Both I realistic think Kentucky and LSU will finsh ahead of Florida and I don't think we finish worse than 2nd place ( not just the north.... 2nd overall ) There's even a large chance our winning percetnage could be higher than Florida's basketball team.

Even if you are willing to admit Urban Meyer is a better coach than Bill Self.... Urban Meyer is not doing with no talent to begin with, and neither did Billy Donovan. We have 2 less rings than them currently yes in recent history, and a more difficult place to recruit. Our basketblal coaches have no comparison straight up, and While Meyer has a great coacing record i would say on equal footing and equal talent I would Mangino the nod every time. He's coached us from the bottom to the middle with aspirations of the top.... and that is AMAZING.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 10 months ago

Historically, anyone that coached opposite the Wizard needs to be considered, and I'm guessing that UCLA had at least one decent FB coach in that time. How about someone opposite the Bear, Schembechler (?), Hayes? I know IU had nothing while Bobby was there, and Duke is hoping in Cutcliffe.

I'd say the question also needs some parameters. Cheaters like Sampson (bigger than just an NCAA sanction) need to be excluded. Coaches using the school as a stepping stone (Petrino? as Louisville) need to be excluded.

It really should be a rather simple stats exercise. What are the best combined winning % for a schools FB & BB coach per year? Sorry, I'm not nearly that geeked.

Christopher Hauser 8 years, 10 months ago

waywardjay-I never played video games, I was too busy playing sports. I take that back I played Mike Tyson's Knockout once.

Christopher Hauser 8 years, 10 months ago

dagger108- Wooden coached at UCLA from 48 to 75. Wooden's titles came from 64 to 75 here were the football coaches and their records during that time:

Bert LaBrucherie (Pacific Coast Conference) (1945–1948) 1945 UCLA 5-4-0
1946 UCLA 10-1-0
1947 UCLA 5-4-0
1948 UCLA 3-7-0
UCLA: 23-16-0
Henry Russell Sanders (Pacific Coast Conference) (1949–1957) 1949 UCLA 6-3-0
1950 UCLA 6-3-0
1951 UCLA 5-3-1
1952 UCLA 8-1-0
1953 UCLA 8-2-0
1954 UCLA 9-0-0
1955 UCLA 9-2-0
1956 UCLA 7-3-0
1957 UCLA 8-2-0 UCLA: 66-19-1
William F. Barnes (Pacific 8 Conference) (1958–1964) 1958 UCLA 3-6-1
1959 UCLA 5-4-1
1960 UCLA 7-2-1
1961 UCLA 7-4 1962 UCLA 4-6-0
1963 UCLA 2-8
1964 UCLA 4-6
Tommy Prothro (Pac 8 Conference) (1965–1970) 1965 UCLA 8-2-1
1966 UCLA 9-1
1967 UCLA 7-2-1
1968 UCLA 3-7
1969 UCLA 8-1-1 1970 UCLA 6-5
UCLA: 41-18-3
Pepper Rodgers (Pacific Ten Conference) (1971–1973) 1971 UCLA 2-7-1
1972 UCLA 8-3
1973 UCLA 9-2-0
Dick Vermeil (Pacific 8 conference) (1974–1975) 1974 UCLA 6-3-2
1975 UCLA 9-2-1 UCLA: 15-5-3
Thank you wikipedia

justanotherfan 8 years, 10 months ago

I'd say Florida, Texas and OU are all above where KU is in Football and Men's BB.

Florida has the two BCS titles, and, although they haven't been to the tournament since their title, they haven't finished worse than 3rd in their division in that time.

Oklahoma is a BCS regular (without the titles, but still), and their basketball program has been a tournament regular (though they have only had one good run under Capel).

Texas is another BCS regular (one title) and their basketball program always seems to be loaded. Not necessarily a title contender, but I would argue that they are a threat to get to the second weekend every year.

So Florida, Oklahoma and Texas are all perennial football title contenders, KU is a perennial basketball title contender. In their opposite sport, KU is a solid football team (though not considered a national contender) while UF, OU and UT are all solid to strong basketball schools. I would say Texas is probably tops when you combine both because they are always at the top of the Big XII in both and a national contender in football just about every year (depending on what happens in the OU game).

I'd put Florida next, although another down year in basketball would move KU in front of them. Simply put, our one hoops title is offset by their two football titles. Add to it that they have been solid (though not NCAA tournament teams) the last two years while we had one great football year and two solid runs and I'd say they are narrowly ahead of us.

So I would rank the duos 1. Texas 2. Florida 3. Kansas 4. Oklahoma

I do agree that those four stand clearly above the rest of the country.

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

you can argue LSU into the mix here too.... they've had 1 bad year in 5 in basketball and arguable better than florida in the Football picture....

I disagree with those who hold the BCS success ( or lack there of in Oklahoma's case ) as reasons to place them above Kansas.... when measuring coaching you have to measure from where the water mark starts..... mangino got the water at the lowest point and has risen them the furthest in cpmarison.... you can't take apples and make them oranges..... and you can't take 2 star players and make them into legitimate pro players.... OR CAN YOU ????

for those that say these three schools are AHEAD of Kansas in this aspect ...they were ahead of Kansas when they started.... they aren't any better than before brown, meyer or stoops took over the program.... they gators won meyer's first title with zooks boys...... Mack Brown took YEARS too punch through Oklahoma when he had elite level kids hand picked for his school from the get go..... and Stoop's title drought should be considered into this also......

Coaching is elevating the level of your players, guys. No one does that better than Self and Mangino PERIOD.

justanotherfan 8 years, 10 months ago


I agree that coaching is about elevating your level of performance. That's definitely true. But part of coaching is also living up to expectations.

At Florida, Oklahoma and Texas, not competing for a national title on a regular basis will get you fired. Period. That's why Ron Zook is coaching Illinois right now. That's why Howard Schnellenberger lasted one year. That's why John Mackovic was dismissed. If you don't win (and win big) at those schools, you will not be around because they don't understand the concept of down years.

So those coaches did something incredibly difficult - they maintained that high water mark.

Add to that the fact that Donovan, Capel and Barnes have all done well in hoops at "football" schools (Barnes has a couple FF's, Capel an Elite Eight, and Donovan a pair of titles) and I think that does put them ahead of KU.

Looking at KU's last 7 years of football they have gone 2-10, 6-7 (bowl loss), 4-7, 7-5 (bowl win), 6-6 (no bowl), 12-1 (BCS bowl win), and 8-5 (bowl win). While that is a stark improvement, if we are going to knock (for example) Florida hoops for being an NIT team the last two years, we have to realize that our football team went to a second tier bowl last year and no bowl three years ago. We aren't a football powerhouse (yet). We haven't even won our division (let alone a conference title). Both Texas and OU have won their division in hoops (and had deep tournament runs). I think that puts them ahead of us right now.

Other schools that could be considered in the conversation would be LSU (regular conference champs in football, FF in hoops), and Ohio State (regular conference champs in both football and basketball since Tressel and Matta took over).

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

I disagree..... I think it's much more difficult to build against the stream than it is to maintain a top program.....

Stoops lost rhett bomar in 2006 the day first practice ran.... they went 11-2 witha converteer wide receiver and a freshman quarterback... they lost to texas ( no surprise texas was loaded that year....and that was the year of the blown oregon game....

The final year under Blake ( guy before stoops.... ) Oklahoma was 5-6 ( they had 4 BIG BIG recruits coming though .... ) The final year Texas under mackovic they were 4-7 ( that team the next year boasted Priest Holmes and Ricky Williams. ) The final year before Florida fired Zook were 7-5 ( they won the BCS trophy the next year ) The final year before Mangino, Kansas was 3-7 ( they didn't win a conference game the next year and won 3 the year after.... )

Who got the short end of the stick ????

All three of those other schools have had solid football programs over the course of their existance.... and all three of them have EXCELLED on the gridiron under previous coaches.....

We had no vince young, adrian Peterson, priest holmes, ricky williams, etc. etc.etc.etc. to pull us out of oblivion the enxt year.....

Our best quarterback to datei s arguable the one we have NOW.... our best running back was 50 years ago.... and our best receiver is arguable now..... we've had some decent defensive players and we had a 2 years stretch in teh 90's where we were passable.... but nowhere as strong as any of these three... and you wanna say that's a lesser coaching accomplishment to pull us out of armageddon to field an 8-5 team that had to face straight up two of these other teams on our list..... two teams i think we can beat this year ?????


There is no NO justification for saying these guys have coached better than Mark Mangino over there respective stretches.... because these schools ALWAYS draw phenominal athletes, and we are just starting to get them.... Mangino has done more with siginificantly less and he deserves to hear it from our fan base.... 2007 Coach of the year Mark Mangino. he wins 2 of 3 south games this year and we can expect it again.... 2009 Coach of the Year Mark Mangino.

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

It's not even close Just.... what he has done for us is nothing short of breath taking and his results deserve respect.... forlida wins two bcs titles ( one with zooks kids... and one last year that should have been Utah's ) ..... Oklahoma cannot win the bbcs games it gets too... and Texas probably deserves more credit but with what they have had in Mack browns tenure they should have more than 1 title..... You think Mack Brown, Bob Stoops or Urban Meyer could have brought Kansas where they are.... Doubt it. we are 1-0 BCS games..... we are 3-1 in Bowl games.... and we have had 1 10+ win season in just 8 years..... and it's the fact that he can get us that...with what we have had.... that just is inescapable.....

You know, in 2007... My sister's ex-husband, and Oklahoma SOoners fan was SCARED TO DEATH to play Kansas in the big 12 title game...... He wanted no part of them ???? Why do you think... it wasn't the talent on the field...... it was the coach.... and what he had his kids believing.....

Im sorry you don't's not even a debatable point with me....

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

As for Barnes.... how does Augustin, abrams, mason and Durant not go to a final four ? Poor game coach, that's how.

As for Capel..... Really North Carolina ???? Hansborough wasn't better than ALdrich last year, and yet He's better than Blake Griffin this year ?????

AS for Donovan.... What has he done since joakim noah took his nasty hair to Chicago ? NIT.... and we should be glorifying him for his resilliant coaching.... Resilient coaches don't take mcdonalds all americans to the NIT.

Saying good to solid in two of those cases is just simple unfounded, and the other one is about 3-5 years from realistically knowing what he's capable of.... Capel Lost Daniel Orton to Gillespie and Kentucky..... not Calipari and Kentucky, the year Capel had PoY Blake Griffin....... that's not a resounding affirmation of what Capel is capable of doing.....

Joe Ross 8 years, 10 months ago

After looking at some arguments and doing some of my own thought, heres my top 5:

  1. Texas: Rick Barnes, Mac Brown
  2. Ohio State: Thad Matta, Jim Tressel
  3. Kansas: Bill Self, Mark Mangino
  4. Florida: Billy Donovan, Urban Meyer
  5. UCLA: Ben Howland, Rick Neuheisel

jayhawkboogeyman 8 years, 10 months ago

Kansas is in the elite group, but not at the top. Our football program has had one great season under Mangino, and that year's schedule did not include Texas or Oklahoma. Yes, Mangino has done a great job turning the program from complete waste of time, money, and talent into a respectable top 25 team, but it is far from elite and will not be until we prove we can beat OU and UT, which I hope we do this season. Mangino has made some supposedly not very good players into stars, but he is a long way from the top. Self in six seasons has the title, two elite eights, a sweet sixteen, and two first-round embarrassments with near-top-in-the-country teams. Yes, last year was a pleasant surprise, but we choked in the Michigan State game after dominating all the way, and it took a lot of good fortune in addition to sound strategy to overcome Memphis.

Joe Ross 8 years, 10 months ago


I think you bring a realistic approach to the discussion. Admittedly, I probably introduced a little confusion to the basic question by equating the strength of the coach with the performance of the team. The two are certainly linked, but not entirely equal. If the scope of my question had been linked to strength of coaches only then I can say without apology that Kansas is in the discussion of the best coaching tandems in the nation. But when viewed through the prism of the performance of the teams, the football team in particular, there needs to be more done to justify the case. I suppose it's a matter of how you view the question and I did not clarify that very well. Thanks for your comment.

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

wow.... if only we could say bob stoops, Mack Brown and Urban Meyer grew their respective universities from the ground to top 25 teams...... but then again... that sort of thing seems to be ignored..... Or if only kansas were being fed a stream of 5 star recruits who actually pan out, then maybe we could possibly match up to their "standards".....

Look it, we are never going to get it easy like Texas or Florida..... our In-State kids on a consistant level cannot match up with theres..... so we have to get the leftovers from their area.....

WE are never going to have the history to out class a Nebraska or an Oklahoma, that will bring kids in from areas where great athlete's aren't grown in fields, simple as picking fruit from trees.....

Believe ttheir hhpe or not ( i choose not too )..... Florida's the cream of the crop in football.... near behind is texas and oklahoma ( though it could eaisly flip[ flop depending on the week.... ) and the NUMBER 1 OFFENSE IN THE NATION, resides at Kansas.....

8 years ago we struggled scoring touchdowns against teams....Now, We have the most profilic tandem remaining, in the best offensive conference in the nation. We have a potentially solid and potentiall outstanding defense ( also potentially horrific admitedly ) and possibly the front runner for best WR in the nation..... ( take your pick in either Meier or Briscoe... )

As for basketball, Texas is number 4.... Oklahoma should be top 10 with W2 returning... and Florida is in the top 3 in the SEC....we are pre-season number 1 or 2.... To say this coaching tandem doesn't belong is insanity, we disagree with where.... personally i think it's more important to look where we came from, at the begining.....

There football teams are all on even ground..... they have not moved.... WE have. Our Basketball team ( debatably ) is UP( some would say we are at the same spot..... some might say w are down in experience, i personally believ ethis could be the best college team ever... not just at Kansas )..... Oklahoma will be down, texas will be up ( if you consider Texas up, you HAVE to consider Kansas up because we are essentially in the same boat.... ) and Florida i don't expect a tournament out of them this year....... You guys talk about their "successes in Football but you ignore the fact they haven't really moved anywhere....

2009 Basketball coach of the year- Bill Self.... 2007 Bear Bryant winner - Mark Mangino..... ( urban meyer never won .... Stoops in 2000, Mack Brown in 2005... all those kids have gradumated BTW.... )

The results of the teams are outstanding, but these other three coaches have little to say or do with the immediate success.... you stick an average coach with average recruiting and you get these results..... You do not get these results with an average Coach at Kansas... im sorry .... it's a FACT.

waywardJay 8 years, 10 months ago

We lost by 14 to Oklahoma last year right ??? on their turf..... after staying in the game..... with admitedly lesser talent yes ????

We lost by 30 at home to texas after fighitngg for three quarters to keep in the game with admitedly lesser talent..... yes ????

If we have lesser talent, what is greater to overcome the difference ??? Sure not the officiating, I'lll tell you that....

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