Friday, August 18, 2017


Tom Keegan: David Beaty and Clint Bowen hope former boss Mark Mangino has big crowd for return to Memorial Stadium

Kansas coach Mark Mangino holds aloft an orange as KU athletic director Lew Perkins, right, looks on.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino holds aloft an orange as KU athletic director Lew Perkins, right, looks on.


Listening to Kansas football head coach David Beaty and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen share what Mark Mangino's return to Memorial Stadium means to them and hearing Mangino talk about the role his gratitude for KU’s loyal football fans played in his decision to come back, a thought occurred: Could the season-opening game vs. Southeast Missouri State be the school’s first football sellout since Mangino was head coach?

During Mangino’s eight seasons at Kansas, his teams drew at least 50,000 spectators to a game at Memorial Stadium 17 times. In eight seasons since Mangino took a $3 million buyout when forced to resign after then-athletic director Lew Perkins launched an investigation into his treatment of players, KU did not have 50,000 witnesses at Memorial Stadium even once. The 28,467 who watched KU’s 37-21 loss to Ohio in Week 2 stood up as the biggest crowd of the 2016 season.

Might 50,000-plus want to be able to say they were there for the biggest KU crowd since 2009, be able to say they gave Mangino a thundering ovation as a show of support for exposing Lawrence to big-time college football?

Corner seats are available for $10. Reserved seats range from $15 to $50, so it’s not an event for which only the wealthy need apply for admission.

A packed house of voices unloading gratitude fueled by eight years of frustration could make for a memorable moment on a night in which the season is scheduled to kick off at 6.

Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins will see their names on the Ring of Honor, triggering more ovations.

Several players from the Orange Bowl team that produced a 12-1 record will be on hand for the festivities.

It would be difficult to say that Mangino doesn’t deserve to hear it from a sellout crowd given that he inherited little and built a 50-48 record. Kansas has gone 14-70 since then, which raises the obvious question of which force prevails, the gratitude for what Kansas football was or the apathy that has taken root because of how far Kansas football has slipped.

Current Kansas head coach David Beaty and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen worked under Mangino, who has retired from coaching since getting fired as Iowa State offensive coordinator midway through the 2015 season.

“What coach Mangino came here and accomplished is one of the great stories in college football, where we started with that first season,” Bowen said. “And let’s call it what it is: Coach Mangino worked like no other human I’ve ever seen work. I mean, the guy was tireless on just day-to-day grinding of details, the mental fatigue that that man had to go through just to turn this program around. People can’t ever appreciate that until you saw what he had to deal with and to overcome.”

The night can be as much a symbol of healing as a celebration.

“For it to end the way it ended, with someone who had put so much into this program to have to leave here on a negative note, never sat very well with me, so I hope that he can come back here and bury the hatchet and I hope that people can show him the appreciation that he more than earned,” Bowen said.

The bigger the crowd, the more appreciated Mangino will feel. But does football or even what steps it takes to acquire tickets — call 785-864-3141 or google “Kansas football tickets” — even enter the minds of many KU alumni anymore?

The size of the crowd will go a long way toward answering that question.

Beaty weighed in with a thumbs-up on how Mangino treated his players.

“I worked with coach and I’ll tell you this: I never saw anything but complete professionalism,” Beaty said. “I never saw anything but a guy who just worked his guys and prepared them for every situation a man could be prepared for. Coached them hard. Loved them hard. Required them to give everything that they could to this university, but in return he took care of them like they were his own kids. I was inside of that and that’s what it was like.”

Which force will triumph at the turnstiles: appreciation or apathy? I wonder where Las Vegas oddsmakers would set the over/under for attendance for the season-opener.


Dirk Medema 4 years, 11 months ago

There should be a decent interest level. I'll say 40k.

Joe Ross 4 years, 11 months ago

Nothing in this article is out of sync with reality, so if you think it's weird...

Gerry Butler 4 years, 11 months ago

You think this is an weird article? - - new to town huh? ummm, there is nothing weird about this article. It's about a football coach that brought some respectability back to a program during his time here. It's ok you'll like the town and the KU sports after you been here awhile. I'm giving you an out for your stupidity

Brett McCabe 4 years, 11 months ago

Glad to hear that there is some peacemaking, but this isn't Wilt Chamberlain, or Gale or Riggo or Danny. Though I love all of the effort being put out on behalf of the program, I'd prefer that my head coach not be in charge of punt returners, that we learn how to win some games and that we learn how to name starters at each position more than 30-minutes prior to game time.

Rah-rah ain't going to do it. Z and B are on the clock starting September 2.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 11 months ago

yeah, well if all you had playing is not enough square pegs to fill all the round holes you would be in charge of the punters too. This is B and Z's first year with a full roster. Layoff and start counting in 2019!

Brock Wells 4 years, 11 months ago

Brett- why do you have no respect or patience with HC David Beaty?

How did AD Zenger get the $300 million renovations underway? Did you just except that HCDB would just walk into a rock-bottom situation and snap his fingers and all the coaches and scholarship situation would be improved? Do you not think that Zenger hired HCDB with a logical goal of 4-5 years to turn this program around?

Your comment sums up the give-me-now and KU bball fan only attitude.

Your missing the point of HCDB naming himself OC and in charge of punt returns. The man wanted all struggles of the first couple years to be put squarely on his shoulders... not coaches, not players. It's called LEADERSHIP. It builds trust, it's the reason why we have a damn good coaching staff in place this year (took 3 years). It's the reason why Mike Lee and Charlot commented to an 0-12 team. It's the reason why HCDB has acquired some of the best-ranked recruits in the programs history. It's the reason why everyone inside the KU program expects to go to a bowl game THIS YEAR!

I'm jumping on the band-wagon you should join the rest of us.

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 11 months ago

I hope there is a great outpouring of support. I hope the stadium is full. I appreciate the story. I appreciate what Bowen and Beaty had to say. They all but said Lew Perkins put us in our current situation, which I believed from the get go. Same with Leach at TTech. Someone down South was actively digging and trying to bring down programs IMO.

Now all we have to do is ignore the hand-wringing anxious impatience that has been on display here since. Two years and out? That is incredibly stupid, short-sighted and unjust. Once Beaty and Bowen get it going here they will be here a long, long time. And maybe we can climb back to .500 all-time.

David Kelley-Wood 4 years, 11 months ago

No matter how big the crowd is, it won't be as big as he deserves.

Lance Hobson 4 years, 11 months ago

He's the best coach we ever had and got dumped because he was fat and that clueless idiot Lew Perkins assumed we'd win just fine with a slim coach. He clearly didn't appreciate how good Mangino was or how hard it is to win at KU. We may never recover from the Perkins era.

Lance Hobson 4 years, 11 months ago

And a tiny crowd will tell him exactly how much he's missed and what a mistake KU made.

Gerry Butler 4 years, 11 months ago

So what your saying is, that it will be standing room only - - over flow of fans right? Because we are use to tiny crowds every since huh? So I guess that statement means since we have tiny crowds were still making the same mistakes. Dam when will we get it right,Well at least that means we will have a full house on opening game day. Thanks for your support

Joe Ross 4 years, 11 months ago

I argued with a lot of self-righteous people who felt secure about Mangino's firing both at the time and since. They came out of the woodwork to debate about his behavior and whether or not he was a good coach at Kansas (saying he was "lucky" to find Reesing, stating inaccurately that his last season revealed the caliber of coach Mangino really was despite the fact that an investigation had been launched during it, etc.). I know MM wasnt innocent, but his "crimes" were soft by any stretch of the imagination would have appropriately been handled with a wrist slap at any other university. Kansas of all places could least afford the luxury of parting ways with its winningest coach. Besides, if you had to sacrifice what Mark had to sacrifice, youd wouldnt want the players acting like knuckleheads either. PEOPLE THIS IS FOOTBALL!!! When I heard what Mangino had done with his players, I thought seriously about two things. One, that what I endured as a junior high and high school players was much rougher than anything this COLLEGE team had to endure. And secondly, I had an intuition that if the sissification of Kansas football was allowed to proceed in the way that it did then the program was headed for a huge slide. When you get these millenials crying about political correctness and whimpering about how theyre treated, you know theyre not going to be stiff enough to face the challenges of war on a gridiron. Then, predictably, the Great Sissifier Lew Perkins assured the dismantling of a winning trajectory by hiring Turner Gill and the direction of the program went the only way it could. Water and win totals dont naturally flow uphill. The crazy thing to me is knowing that this come to Jesus moment of appreciation for Mark Mangino by Kansas fans should have been felt so strongly at the time of his firing that the panic of his being let go should have been felt universally and sent shock waves throughout the fanbase. The fact that it didnt shows that even Jayhawk fans--and lets be honest, some writers too--can be doltish about reality. These are strong words that I wish I had the gravitas to project in the style of Lt. Colonel Frank Slade, but they're true just the same. I'm STILL angry that MM isnt on the Kansas sidelines, and a stadium packed to overflowing with fans still won't correct the error. Sometimes I'm surprised by how narrow peoples' vision can really be, though life should have taught me otherwise by now.

I can't wait to see Mark again.

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 11 months ago

Wow, Joe, great words. I lambasted the former AD on this very site and was told by the staff here I was out of line. Great link, too.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 11 months ago

Excellent David and Joe. Love the reference to the Al Pacino speech. It is one of my all time favorites. It's straight forward, speaks to the truth, and demonstrates the kind of love and loyalty to honor and country that made this country the greatest on the face of the earth!

Bottom line. Coach Mangino was the most successful KU football coach of all time when you consider where it was when he came and what he developed. Yes, he has some rough edges, but the truth is that Lew Perkins, who didn't hire him, never liked him. Therefore, while KU did achieve large athletic success during Perkins' tenure, I hold him in much lesser esteem than I do Coach Mangino.

Beyond the football success, don't even get me started on Coach Self, who is as classy and inspirational as any coach in the game.

Noel Graham 4 years, 11 months ago

I like David Beaty and I hope he succeeds, but if he doesn't I would love for them to bring Mangino back.

Bryan Mohr 4 years, 11 months ago

Some have called me ridiculous, but I truly believe Mangino was on the path to make KU football what Snyder did for KSU. Some in the KU administration and fan-base got proud and greedy and felt it was time to "take KU football to the next level" with a different coach. I'm not sure what happened when Snyder "retired" in 2005. I heard rumors that high-ups at KSU wanted him out, and he kept things peaceful by retiring. Then Prince failed to be the young, recruiting savior KSU dreamed of. Regardless, I'm still frustrated that KSU - of all schools - was wiser than KU by getting Snyder back in the head-coach position... whereas KU did not rehire Mangino on two potential occasions. I realize the Mangino and Snyder departures were different, but KU should have swallowed its pride and re-hired Mangino. Snyder is considered somewhat of a coaching legend, but he has had plenty of average seasons after building the program: 2001: 6-6, 2004: 4-7, 2005: 5-6, 2009: 6-6, 2015: 6-7

Mangino's 2009 record of 5-7 was not abnormal for even great coaches... particularly at a place like KU where the football legacy isn't great.

I hope things work out with Beaty, but if not, I'm going to continue to campaign for Mangino's re-hiring. It's definitely not too late. Snyder returned to KSU at age 69. Mangino is 60.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 11 months ago

Mangino was a good coach and he did a great job rebuilding KU. And I'm glad they're going to finally recognize him for the work he did. Having said that I'm an adult so I've learned to cope with his firing, unlike a lot of people. Was it right? It didn't seem so, but to be honest I don't know because I wasn't part of the investigation. But I do know regardless of why or how it happened you won't see me begging for him to come back and coach. And it's not because I don't think he's a good coach, it's because I left make believe land a long time ago. Anyways, I do hope we have a large turnout for him as he deserves it. And I feel like Beaty deserves it to. Even though the record doesn't show there's no doubt he's put in a lot of work for KU.

Greg Ledom 4 years, 11 months ago

The most rational post yet imo. Nicely stated John.

Richie Wilson 4 years, 11 months ago

Celebrating a guy you fired 8 years later?

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