Monday, July 2, 2012

Peerless leaders: Staff picks for favorite KU coaches

Journal-World staff picks for favorite coaches with Kansas University ties.

Journal-World staff picks for favorite coaches with Kansas University ties.


There are plenty of reasons for those playing sports to have a favorite coach.

But when you’re covering them, it’s a whole different ballgame. In our business, favorite coaches aren’t necessarily the ones who do the most for you or push you beyond your limits.

Instead, they’re the ones who seem genuinely to enjoy the interactions they have. They’re the ones who make us laugh, tell the best stories and give the best answers. They’re the ones who are honest, even during the tough times, and the ones you root for even though you’re not supposed to be rooting at all.

That’s the topic of our third installment of a summer series designed to give you a deeper look at the KU players and coaches we’ve covered throughout the years. Instead of an imaginary meal or a fantasy game of H-O-R-S-E, we’re giving you something real this week. We’ve all been around KU for a varying degree of years, and it’s interesting to see some of the overlap on the lists of our four favorite coaches.

Here goes:

Matt Tait

Barry Hinson — One of the nicest people I’ve ever met and an underrated basketball coach. He’ll do a great job at Southern Illinois, and I’ll definitely be rooting for him.

Ritch Price — Whether he actually is or just hides it well, KU’s baseball coach has been in a great mood every time I’ve been around him. I’ve got nothing but respect for how passionate he is about the game and how professional he is about us.

Bill Self — When I was still covering high schools for the Journal-World, coach Self and I were walking into Allen Fieldhouse at the same time one day, and I held the door for him. Naturally, he thanked me but he did so by using my name. At that point, we had never met. The guy is a machine and one of the best college basketball coaches of all-time.

Roy Williams — A heck of a coach and the father of one of my high school buddies. I’ll never forget the nights coach Williams threw batting practice for our home-run-derby marathons during the summer.

Andrew Hartsock

Karl Schlademan — Bill Self has a pretty decent record as KU men’s basketball coach, but Karl “The Trivia Question” Schlademan’s is better. He never lost a game as head KU men’s basketball coach.

Glen Mason — Mark Mangino won more games, but I’m not sure Mase didn’t do more with less. Plus, once you got past Mason’s gruff exterior, you learned there was an even gruffer interior.

Dave Bingham — A quintessential “baseball guy,” Bingham somehow coached KU into the 1993 College World Series and won 249 games in eight seasons.

Marian Washington — Washington won 560 games (with a .607 win percentage) over 31 seasons. More importantly, she’s just about the classiest coach at any level I’ve ever met.

Tom Keegan

Ross Randall — His use of dry, cutting humor gets golf teaching points across superbly. Plus, he’s an example that tearing the cover off the golf ball is not a prerequisite to breaking par. It’s not how far you hit a golf ball that counts, rather how precisely. In his case, very precisely.

Andrea Hudy — Doesn’t make the list because she’s so good at her job, which she is, but because she’s so nice. In a world of do unto others before they do unto you, that quality still ought to count for something.

Jerry Waugh — Former assistant men’s basketball coach and women’s golf coach dispenses pearls of wisdom taught him by Phog Allen. He’s also a great listener, which is why he so often finds himself surrounded by compulsive talkers.

Marty Pattin — Former KU baseball coach and major-league pitcher brings an endless stream of baseball stories, a flawless Donald Duck impersonation and a burning desire to find a way to ride the time tunnel back to his playing days so that he could back a hitter off the plate just one more time.

Jesse Newell

Tim Jankovich — He took the time to break down my KU intramural team film a few years ago before walk-on tryouts ... and somehow he kept from laughing the whole time.

Ritch Price — He wins reporters over by calling them nicknames like “Bud,” but he’s also a good quote and a friendly personality.

Bill Self — From a media standpoint, he’s the best I’ve been around as far as high-profile coaches go; he’s a great quote and always seems to make time if a reporter needs an extra quote.

Barry Hinson — He has a way about him that makes everyone feel like he’s the most important person in the room; he’ll be well liked at SIU.

Gary Bedore

Bill Self — Everybody likes Bill; so great to deal with.

Roy Williams — Got tougher to deal with as time went on, but a good man, a nice man and a good quote, just like Bill.

Ted Owens — What a great person, what a gentleman.

Bob Timmons — See Ted Owens explanation. Timmie is one great person. There are many honorable-mention choices.


Brad Avery 9 years, 10 months ago

Mark Mangino. The press didn't like him and Lew Perkins hated him, both reasons for consideration. But Mark was the only KU coach in the last 40 years to take the KU football team to a major bowl game and win it. Also the only KU coach to drive Bill Snyder out of football, at least temporarily, and who beat Missouri in a classic football game at Arrowhead Stadium.

ccarp 9 years, 10 months ago

Really like the Hudy mention. All are deserving, but I think she gives us a great advantage. I can't recall a period of time when the hawks were so strong, especially our bigs.

hawk316 9 years, 10 months ago

I, for one. I enjoyed this article. I especially liked the honor given to those coaches, like Hinson, Hudy, Self, etc., who were appreciated because of the way they treated people. That's a very important value in my book.

Robert Brown 9 years, 10 months ago

As someone who does not interact with the coaches, it would be hard for me to judge based on the criteria set. I am surprised that Don Fambrough's name was not mentioned.

1timbob 9 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, I'm surprised that Turner Gill and Terry Allen were not mentioned. Two of the worst coaches but maybe the nicest guys. Of coarse, that's why, they were losing coaches and not winners.

lizard77 9 years, 10 months ago

Glad to see Jerry Waugh receiving mention. Truly a gem of KU history.

1timbob 9 years, 10 months ago

These guys don't know any of them outside the media room

RJ King 9 years, 10 months ago

Where does the article imply extensive interviews with former athletes, friends, family and co-workers, background checks, and serious investigative reporting?

It's called light summer reading - frivolous by nature. If you don't like it, or don't care, then why post for the 3rd time?

travelhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

I certainly agree with most of these but "gruff interior/exterior" seems a bit kind for Glen Mason. Based on the time I met him (only once admittedly), "ass" would seem a more appropriate description.

Matt Friedeman 9 years, 10 months ago

Gary Bedore - you win the prize. I was wondering if anyone would mention Bob Timmons. He was indeed a gentleman and a fantastic person and one of the greatest men I have ever known. A winner as a coach; a bigger winner as a mentor, friend and guide.

As one of his track and field athletes I tell stories about him in my public speaking nearly every time out. Gary, it means much that you mentioned him. You made my day.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Bob Timmons: What a terrific hire for Jayhawk sports! Without him we might not have landed Jim Ryun, whom still labels the greatest high school athlete of all time. Wichita East. Is terrific to see the city of Wichita send us two more outstanding recruits, Perry Ellis and Conner Frankamp.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

Favorite All-Time Coaches:

1] Basketball - Norman Dale [Hoosiers]

2] Baseball - Lou Brown [Major League]

3] Football - Tony D'Amato [Any Given Sunday]

4] Hockey - Reggie Dunlop [Slapshot]

Jeremy Paul 9 years, 10 months ago

Good list Oakville, but I've got two baseball coaches I like better that Lou Brown: Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own) Morris Buttermaker (The Bad News Bears)

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

Hey..what about Fielding Yost, football!!!!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 10 months ago

Larry Brown, 2 FF's in my 3 years on campus and a championship to boot!

741hawk 9 years, 10 months ago

TA was simply in over his head. TG was one of the biggest frauds I've ever come to know. How can that be "likeable"?

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 10 months ago

Only four. I have too many. Not like K-State which has to be Snyder and Hartman.

Football: Either Pepper Rogers or Glen Mason. But, yeah, who can leave out Yost? Mangino gets some love too. How about Mitchel, Fam, and Kennedy? Toledo? Basketball: Naismith, Brown, Self and Williams, and Owens, and the Phog. We could even list Calapari as a favorite assistant.

I can't boil that down to four. No way. We have had too many good ones. I don't even think I could rank them.

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 10 months ago

Ha, too early to tell, Buddy. Hope he puts up a win percent like Yost and he will be the man. We'll create folk songs about him, all our sons will go get crewcuts, we'll all talk w Jersey accents and we will thank Notre Dame.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

I am a fan of some of the lesser known coaches.

Basketball: Miles Burnhardt--Burnhardt was a Phog Allen doppelgänger used through out the 1950s, when Allen's ankles swelled up to much to sit on the bench. He coached KU to a 28-2 record.

Football: William "Commie Red" Novoski--as a young man, Novoski, who spoke almost no English, accidentally joined the American Communist Party thinking he was joining the Free Masons during the late 1940s, and with the rise of Joe McCarthy was black listed, despite being a brilliant young offensive mind. Novoski became the unattributed KU offensive mastermind under Sykes, Mitchell, Rogers, Fambrough, Bud Moore and Fambrough again. To this day, there is only one picture of him and it is a black silhouette taken of Novoski the day he directed by walkie talkie the famous 1968 KU march the length of the field to beat Nebraska in Lincoln, while viewing the action by telescopic sniper scope from the press box roof dressed as a Culligan man.

Track: Wee Willie Cunningham--Few people ever knew that famed KU miler Glenn Cunningham had a nano twin separated at birth from Glenn by the CIA and studied extensively for possibly developing the first generation of nano soldiers to be used to invade Communist strong holds through inch and a quarter conduit during the Cold War. But when research funding was diverted to underwriting handlers of Lee Harvey Oswald, Wee Willie was contacted by Bob Timmons and asked to ride in a secret inside pocket in Jim Ryun's Kansas jersey and covertly coach the legendary Kansas miler on when to sand bag and when to make his kick during his great Kansas running career. Wee Willie "coached" Ryan to a string of stunning victories and sub four minute miles before contracting Montezuma's revenge at a cantina just outside Olympic Village in Mexico City in 1968. What happened next to Ryun's career is an all too painful memory for Kansas fans. Wee Willie Cunningham retired to Littleton, Colorado and was never heard from again.

There are of course many more lesser known greats among KU coaches, but these will have to wait for another day.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

Based on winning records alone, can you guess who are some of KU's worst coaches?

Try Dr. James Naismith and Coach Don Frambrough. Just proves that victories aren't always the lone criteria for greatness!!!

mikehawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Interesting how the blog seemed to morph from coaches people (in this case writers) liked to cover and be around, to victories and coaching ability. Not surprising since most of us never get a chance to get to know coaches on a personal level. Our only access is through the media's coverage of recruiting, wins, and loses, and what we see of them on the sidelines or TV. In that context, Mangino was painful to look at. Ted Owens appeared the gentleman as described. Larry Brown was one of those coaches you love if he is your coach, and your opponents can't stand. Self is a coach fun to watch, appears to be a master of the media, is obviously one of the best coaches in the game. His opponents and the fans of other schools even like him, if begrudgingly. Too early on The Old Ball Coach (Weis). He is very entertaining, but he has to demonstrate head coaching competence with the jury still out.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Posts wondering why Charlie Weiss is not listed among KU's great coaches, prompts me to ask respectfully: did Coach Weiss finally recruit as many players for this coming season, as he ran off?

stm62 9 years, 10 months ago

I always thought that Mangino was a good coach, but it helps to have a certain, un-solicited quarterback come walking in to your office.

Lance Hobson 9 years, 10 months ago

Larry Brown acted like he had a learning disabillity when he talked to the media. Roy Williams is a jerk. Winner, but a jerk. Remember the time he yelled at the honor guard as they were marching off the court because they weren't marching fast enough?

My favorite Bill Self story is from his basketball camps. The KU folks who set them up talk about how much different the camper photo shoots with the coach are with HCBS than with Roy Williams. With Williams, it was all business and never a second off the timeline. He moved the kids through like cattle with a shake and a smile for the camera. With Self, they always run way behind timeline because he ends up in a conversation with about every kid who walks up to get his photo with him. If I were a 10-year-old kid I'd be ok with a delaying the afternoon drills for that.

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 10 months ago

Precisely why Williams was not KU's best recruiting coach.

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