Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mark Mangino: ‘I won’t be returning to Kansas’

Former Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino and members of the 2008 Orange Bowl team wave to fans as they are recognized during a halftime ceremony, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Former Kansas head football coach Mark Mangino and members of the 2008 Orange Bowl team wave to fans as they are recognized during a halftime ceremony, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.


Any Kansas fan feeling nostalgic for the days of bowl victories and winning football under former coach Mark Mangino will have to keep on cherishing those memories.

Whatever slim chances of a KU-Mangino reunion that took up shop in anyone’s minds went away Tuesday night with one tweet from the winningest coach in program history.

“Thanks for your support. I won’t be returning to Kansas in any capacity,” the retired coach wrote on Twitter, after various fans mentioned him as a longshot hire in KU’s ongoing search for its next football coach, or perhaps even returning as an offensive coordinator.

“I enjoyed my time there and loved my hardworking players,” Mangino added. “I’ve moved on long ago and so should the wonderful fans that supported me.”

Mangino went 50-48 as the Jayhawks’ head coach, from 2002-09, and his 2007 team finished 12-1 with an Orange Bowl title.

KU is now 18-88 in the post-Mangino era, and the athletic department’s first-year director, Jeff Long, is actively seeking to hire the fourth head coach since a previous regime forced Mangino to resign.

None by Mark Mangino


Dane Pratt 3 years, 10 months ago

Nice Mark, very classy. And thanks for the Orange Bowl and the two wins over Nebraska.

Joe Ross 3 years, 10 months ago

All we can do is accept it for what it is, Doug.

I agree that his ouster was not deserved, but throws curve balls at you, even when it's not your fault, and sometimes you can't get out of the way of them. Life teaches us this lesson. Every. Single. Day. I'm with you. Mangino should never have been forced to go. But from his own words, he is OUT.

There's only one thing to do with that information, now: embrace it.

The path going forward will be without Mangino. But all is not lost. Other coaches are capable of moving this program forward. There was never only one solution.

Doug Cramer 3 years, 10 months ago

I know you’re right Joe.

To this day it just makes me sick to see something so good and unique get torn down, all because an A.D. didn’t like a coach, or more importantly, didn’t like a coach that he didn’t hire.

Those were some special years that were a lot of fun.

It’s great having a basketball team on the brink of a national championship every year.

But it was equally or even more fun watching a football program build out of hard work and discipline.

Mike Bennett 3 years, 10 months ago

Who said it wasn't deserved? He deserved to get canned. He was a complete jerk. A good coach, but a jerk. The problem was the hire to follow him.

Bill Kackley 3 years, 10 months ago

But damn a fellow can dream, can't he. Such great years those were. I went to 3 bowl games, only ones I have ever attended. Thank you Mark Mangino.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 10 months ago

I still think this was one of those unintended blessings. He was forced out and I still think that it wasn't correctly presented and led to an ugly separation.

However, shortly thereafter his wife was diagnosed with Cancer and is was able to be with her as she went through the healing process. I think having his full life devoted to her at that time was beneficial to him, but especially to her. He acknowledged if he was a head coach he would have had a hard time being with her and performing at his job.

We don't expect you to return as a coach, but you always will be an important Jayhawk with 50 wins under your belt.

Thank you Mark for your 8 seasons as a Jayhawk.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 10 months ago

So many forget that he lost 7 in a row at the end of his tenure. It looked like he had lost the team. The results kinda looked like this year. Some close losses and some blowouts. If he had won 3 of those 7 he would have gotten more years, but he did not. Was he a bully? Were his players soft? I dunno, but I know players will respond to toughness but not bullying. It is a big difference.

Joe Ross 3 years, 10 months ago

...lost the last 7 games? You mean when there was a witchhunt he was trying to balance with coaching the team? When the players were splintered off and questioned and Lew divided the team? That 7 games? Suddenly you think Mangino was a stellar coach and then just out of the blue he became TERRIBLE? I mean really? That's what you think? MM is damn near the winningest coach in all of Kansas history and you think he's awful because of the last 7 games coached under those conditions?


And bullying. I endured worse in the Army and in HIGH SCHOOL football. I guess rather than instilling toughness, you'd have given soft players participation trophies. I guess you weren't around when Lombardi et. al were coaching. But there's a reason militaristic coaching styles were successful. Look, you can question his methods. But MM had instilled real toughness in his teams, which is why they won and none of his successors have.

Chris Bailey 3 years, 10 months ago

Spot on Joe! I can remember having my high school football coaches screaming at us. So pissed off they almost lost their $h!t. My wrestling coach was a tough SOB and didn't put up with anyone who didn't give 100%. I think Full Metal Jacket showed us just how absolutely brutal military life could be and Gunny personified that toughness. Yeah Mangino lost his last 7 under horrible conditions from the AD being a complete douche. I'll never forgive Lew for what he did. Those 7 losses are ALL on Lew Perkins, PERIOD. He completely ruined Reesing's final season. One guy who will never be welcomed back IMO is LEW PERKINS! Completely destroyed KU Football. Anyone that can't see that clearly wasn't paying attention.

Michael Maris 3 years, 10 months ago

Absolutely correct Joe & Chris. As I have said numerous times before. Lew Perkins did his very best to destroy 2 Football programs in the State of Kansas. He succeeded at Wichita State. And, we all see where the Jayhawks football program currently is. So Lew, you've done a great job of destroying football in Kansas. I can't for the life of me figure out why you tried to improve U-Conn's football program. In fact, you've even done U-Conn a disservice as well. Because, they belonged in the B-East. And, now they're in the AAC and their basketball program is suffering for this move (as well). So, I'd say that Lew Perkins is actually an Athletic Program destroyer (rather than a builder).

David Kemp 3 years, 10 months ago

Do not forget that Reesing played last 6 games with groin injury and definitely was not the same.

Bryan Mohr 3 years, 10 months ago

Mangino's final year didn't look anything like any team since he was outed (they didn't suck, and wouldn't lose to an FCS team). 5-7 Mangino is not 3-9 Beaty. Reesing and Meier battled injuries. Still, the team averaged 421 yards per game, which is what Michigan is averaging this year. K-State got rid of Snyder in 2005 because he went 4-7 and 5-6 consecutively. That was a big mistake that was corrected in 2009. Great coaches have down years for various reasons. At schools like KU and KSU a coach shouldn't be let go for a down year or two after proving success. Mangino wasn't Mr. Nice guy. Neither are Saban, Urban Meyer, Snyder, Harbaugh, Leach, Gundy, etc. Mangino is officially not coming back, but if Long is smart he will hire someone similar.

Eric Eakins 3 years, 10 months ago

Having a 21 year old male and 16 year old male living in my house right now I have grown increasingly sympathetic to Coach Mangino's methods.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 10 months ago

Relax Joe. Lawrence never said anything close to MM was stellar and suddenly horrible. He simply pointed out a fact that he ended with a 7 game losing streak. He also appropriately recognizes that there are things we don't know.

I would agree with others that he was a really good football coach but also one that was rather fortunate to have one of the best QBs in program history fall into his lap. It was that same QB that was openly upset about some of the ways things were being handled on the field during the losing streak but the head coach was not willing to talk with his offensive leader about it. Maybe there were other things going on that weren't created by Lew.

This is in no way an endorsement of that AD or the way the "witch hunt" was handled. It is my speculation that MM was terminated more because of what was happening in the offices than on the field.

You and others are absolutely right that any athlete worth a uniform embraces the challenge of learning to overcome their perceived mental and physical limits. The rest of the world doesn't live that way, or really have much of any comprehension of it. There are stories out there, some even published, about MM not handling well the other interactions.

It is also a fact that he wasn't able to make it through one year as an OC at ISU. That regime also ended shortly after MM left so maybe he was a scapegoat there as well. Maybe it's a sign of other things.

I'm glad to see that he has moved, as well as the blessings of him being fully available for his wife the following years. Hopefully we can move on as well and find some blessings of our own. Rock Chalk.

Joe Ross 3 years, 10 months ago

Reesing didn't fall in Mangino's lap. Mangino saw potential in him when no one else did and he recruited him here. Recruiting is a part of coaching, so Mangino gets the credit. I see people trying to rob the man of his due on the Reesing issue. Well guess what. Mangino was here at Kansas FOUR YEARS before Reesing was. He went to bowls in half of those years. Without Todd. The first bowl appearance--again, sans Reesing--was the first Kansas had been to in nearly TEN YEARS! Half of Mark's tenure at Kansas was without Todd Reesing. Two of the remaining four years, Todd was an underclassman who had to be coached and taught how to run an offense in a PF Conference.

MM's head coaching career got better under Reesing, sure but: 1. Mangino turned the program around prior to his appearance. 2. Recruiting Reesing, bringing him on board, coaching him, making the decision to start him, and gearing the offense to Reesing's skills were ALL ABOUT COACHING.

I'm relaxed about Kansas being in Mangino's rear view (see comment above to Doug), but I bristle about these comments that hint that he got "lucky" with Reesing.

That wasn't luck. That's what good coaching looks like.

Micky Baker 3 years, 10 months ago

Well Joe, Reesing only got his chance when one of the other QBs went down vs. Colorado. Not so sure Mangino saw it or just happened upon on accident in that game. To his credit, he started him the next season, but Reesing did choke his senior year trying to be the hero in a lot of those games we should have won.

David Kemp 3 years, 10 months ago

Omg, the guy was playing with a bad groin injury and had trouble walking between games. He gave what he had not a choke. He finished that season with more passing yards than the orange bowl season. Blame Bowen’s defense for a lot of it.

Micky Baker 3 years, 10 months ago

You mean that South Florida INT returned back for a field goal attempt in the final minute for KU to lose was the defense's fault? That was a straight up choke. Allowing a TD in the 4th quarter in the final quarter while the offense doesn't score is not the defense's fault. And the INT returned for a TD against OU, the INT was at the goal line, not ours, theirs. Todd Reesing threw the INT(not Bowen's fault). We allowed 35 points to OU... only 28 to OU's offense. 51 to Texas in Austin, not the only team that did. And that was the only team that scored in the 50s, 2 others scored in the 40s, Texas Tech. We lost 42-21(21 points is not enough to win). We lost 41-39 against Missouri... in 2008 we allowed 37 and scored 40. In the close games that we lost, Reesing threw some key interceptions. Some of us don't have that short of a memory. We lost 17-10 against K-State(17 points is all on Bowen, scoring only 10 is not on Bowen). Down the stretch in almost every single game Reesing made decisions that either resulted in a turnover or having to punt the ball back to the opponents in games that we had leads in. The on that sticks in my mind is in a tie game, Reesing throws an INT against South Florida returned back to our end of the field. South Florida kicked the field goal to win. That ball should not have been thrown... no excuses. I don't remember all the specific plays in the other games, but I remember that it was Reesing that made bad throws or turned the ball over. I don't fault him for trying to win, but he just didn't play very well situational football. For example, if Reesing would have just thrown the ball away against South Florida, with less than one minute away and we punted, that game goes into OT, instead we lost in regulation. There was less than a minute to play when Reesing threw that INT... snowballed from there.

David Kemp 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow pretty harsh for a guy that got us to 2 bowls in 2 years and 28 games in 4 years after watching Bender top the blooper reels.

Micky Baker 3 years, 10 months ago

His Senior year, Reesing had plenty of mistakes that cost KU games. Not my problem if you don't want to be honest about it and blame Bowen for Reesing's follies that season. We had a lot of seniors on that team on offense that season too. They had one stellar season, and by the way, it took Mangino 6 years to build that and it lasted one season.

Mo Mosallaei 3 years, 10 months ago

I loved the guy while he was here and had season tickets and traveled to three bowl games as well. But that chapter is closed. As some have pointed out he didn't finish strong here, and did even worse as an offensive coordinator at Iowa State after he left here. He was fired from ISU after one season. It's time to appreciate what he did but move on.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 10 months ago

Mo - He was actually fired in the middle of his first season in Ames, though it was also only a month before the head coach was also fired.

Kenneth Johnson 3 years, 10 months ago

Good for you MM!

After the way you were treated, I'd be very surprised if you even gave a brief thought to coming back.

We miss you, and rue the fact that KU football has been in the toilet ever since you left.

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