Before focusing on 2011, it’s time to take a look back at the year that was in Kansas University athletics.
The following are the top 10 most-clicked on stories for KUsports.com in 2010:*
* — Check back Friday for the top 10 most-clicked on videos in 2010. 10. Mangino leaves Lawrence, moves to Florida (20,023 pageviews)
After serving eight seasons as Kansas University football coach, Mark Mangino resigned from the position on Dec. 3, 2009. The final chapter of his stay in Lawrence took place on May 18, as Mangino, his wife Mary Jane and dog Yogi packed up moving vans and headed to a new home in Naples, Fla. Many of the 100 comments on KUsports.com sent their best wishes to the coach responsible for KU’s 12-1 season in 2007-08, which included an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
9. KU football uniforms changing (20,990 pageviews)
In what was the first of a few controversial moves by new Kansas football coach Turner Gill, the Jayhawks elected to go without names on the back of their uniforms for the first time since 1981. Gill said he made the change “to support what we are expecting from our team and program. Our program is about team. We are representing the University of Kansas. You will see that name on the front of our jerseys.” KU also removed the red stripe from its blue helmets. In an online poll, 56 percent of respondents didn’t like the new uniforms, 32 percent said they did like them, and 12 percent were undecided.
8. KU athletic director Lew Perkins to resign at the end of the 2010-11 school year (21,981 pageviews)
A few weeks after it was revealed that five KU athletic department employees and a consultant were involved in a massive ticket scandal, Lew Perkins announced he would retire from his post as KU athletic director following the 2010-11 school year. The news shook many KU fans, who feared for the school’s future conference affiliation if the Big 12 dissolved. Perkins ended up retiring even earlier than expected, putting his immediate resignation on Sept. 7 — three days after his newly-hired football coach, Turner Gill, lost his debut at home against North Dakota State, 6-3.
7. Mayer: Kentucky basketball victories tainted (24,363 pageviews)
Though Kentucky was the first NCAA men’s basketball team to 2,000 victories, Lawrence Journal-World columnist Bill Mayer said the Wildcats cheated to get there. Mayer outlined the transgressions of former Kentucky coach (and KU grad) Adolph Rupp, which included payment to his players. The pageviews show how a story can spread quickly on the Internet, as more than 10,000 of the clicks came directly from links on Kentucky men’s basketball pages/message boards.
6. Zach Peters to announce college decision (26,274 pageviews)
Rumors swirled on April 19, 2010, that high school sophomore recruit Zach Peters was about to commit to KU over Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas. The next day, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Peters made things official, committing to KU during a press conference at his school. Peters, from Plano, Texas, is the 97th-best player in the class of 2012, according to the latest Rivals.com rankings.
5. KU gets No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament (26,724 pageviews)
Though the KU men’s basketball team earned the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, many analysts believed the Jayhawks received a tough draw in the Midwest Regional. KU’s side of the bracket included Ohio State, Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan State and also the only two teams KU had lost to all season (Tennessee and Oklahoma State). “The first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, are we No. 1, or is somebody else No. 1?’” KU forward Marcus Morris said after watching the selection show. The Jayhawks didn’t end up getting far enough to face any of those teams, losing to Northern Iowa in the second round of the tourney in Oklahoma City.
4. Cole Aldrich declares for 2010 NBA Draft (29,685 pageviews)
As expected, KU center Cole Aldrich announced on March 29 that he was declaring for the NBA Draft. By doing so, he was able to help out his parents, who both were struggling to keep steady work in a tough economy. “I don’t think the public or media would possibly know what his family members have gone through this year,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I think it was a very, very easy decision and one that needed to be made.” Aldrich was later taken 11th overall by the New Orleans Hornets, who traded his rights to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The NBA’s rookie salary scale indicates that Aldrich will make about $1.8 million in the first year of his contract and $1.9 million in the second year.
3. Xavier Henry declares for 2010 NBA Draft (30,991 pageviews)
Though Aldrich’s departure from KU was expected, some fans held out hope that freshman guard Xavier Henry might return for his sophomore season. It didn’t happen, as on April 7, Henry announced at a press conference that he would enter the NBA Draft, becoming KU’s first “one-and-done” player. Though Henry had shown little emotion during the season, he had tears in his eyes when he told reporters that he would be leaving Lawrence. “I didn’t know I’d love it here this much at KU,” Henry said. “All the people here ... they really made it a place for me to love.” Henry was drafted 12th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in June.
2. KU basketball player Mario Little arrested after altercation (33,387 pageviews)
Kansas senior Mario Little was arrested early in the morning on Dec. 16, on charges of battery, criminal damage and criminal trespassing. According to a police statement, Little pushed his girlfriend — a former KU men’s basketball manager — into a sink. KU coach Bill Self announced later that day that Little had been suspended indefinitely. “(The charges) are misdemeanors, but are still very major and serious in our eyes,” Self said. “We’ll wait and see how that plays out.” Little remains suspended from games.
1. Conference realignment saga/Big 12 Conference saved (48,258 pageviews)
Following the departures of Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10/12), the Big 12 seemed to be on the verge of extinction. Teams like Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were receiving strong interest from other conferences, while schools like Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State worried they might be left to scramble for a conference if major realignment took place. On June 14, Texas ended the speculation with a late-afternoon press release; the Longhorns announced their athletic programs would continue to compete in the Big 12 after the 10 remaining teams in the league pledged to stay together. The conference realignment drama gripped KUsports.com readers throughout the week, as three other blog entries on the topic received at least 25,000 pageviews.
The rest of the top 20
11. Quarterback recruit Brock Berglund commits to KU (18,688 pageviews); 12. Northern Iowa stuns KU in second round of NCAAs (18,614); 13. Talk at Jordan Brand Classic indicates Josh Selby will choose KU (18,271); 14. Basketball recruit Zach Peters picks Kansas (18,163); 15. North Dakota State football coach rips KU (18,012); 16. North Dakota State stuns Jayhawks, 6-3 (17,892); 17. Sherron Collins explodes for 32 points in NBA summer league finale (17,832); 18. Keegan: Next-best fit for KU? Big/Pac-20 (17,457); 19. KU’s Self disagrees with Bob Knight, who said Collins should have been benched to start second half against Texas A&M (17,207); 20. Keegan: Notre Dame, Arkansas: Come on down (16,982).