All hail the fat man!
The Kansas Jayhawks kick off what figures to be their ninth consecutive losing football season tonight when they face patsy Southeast Missouri State in Lawrence. Nothing like opening your season with a challenging opponent, right David Beaty?
Beaty, entering his third season as Jayhawks coach, was once an assistant to the man who led Kansas to its last winning season.
A man who will be inducted into the University of Kansas (don’t get me started about how KU appears on nearly every piece of apparel for the Jayhawks, but the official title of the school is the University of Kansas; it’s that way at Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, too) Athletics Hall of Fame.
A man whom I despise. A man whom I have absolutely zero respect for. A man whose mere image gets me riled up.
Let me put it this way: if I had a choice of being on a deserted island with this man and former President Obama, I’m choosing Barack every time.
Mangino coached the Jayhawks from 2002-09. He guided Kansas football to arguably its most successful season in its mostly wretched history, leading the 2007 Jayhawks to a 12-1 record and victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That victory fully eradicated the memories of the Orange Bowl following the 1968 season, the one where Kansas, led by John Riggins and Bobby Douglass, appeared to defeat 10-0 Penn State 14-13, only to be called for having at least 12 players (some accounts report as many as 14 Jayhawks on the field) during the Nittany Lions’ 2-point conversion attempt after their second touchdown. Penn State didn’t blow its gift, and converted for a 15-14 victory.
Kansas won its first 11 games of 2007 and rose to #2 in all of the major polls of the time: Associated Press, coaches, Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and Harris Interactive, which replaced the AP as part of the BCS formula in 2005. Ironically for me, my alma mater was #1.
The night before the Jayhawks were to play archrival Missouri in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, LSU lost 50-48 in three overtimes to Arkansas in Baton Rouge. It was the Bayou Bengals’ second triple overtime loss of 2007, having fallen 43-37 at Kentucky on October 13, my 31st birthday.
I don’t like college overtime, period. I think it’s bush league to give a team the ball on the opponents’ 25-yard line and ask the defense to hold up, knowing the offense needs only 10 yards to keep the drive going. I think overtime should be eliminated in all regular season football games, whether it be high school, college or professional. If the most popular sporting league on earth, the English Premier League, lives with draws during its 38-game schedule, why can’t American football? But if the NCAA is going to insist on determining
In my mind, LSU was 10-0-2 after the regular season. I’m saying Kentucky and Arkansas TIED LSU, but the Wildcats and Razorbacks simply scored more touchdowns in the shootout. It’s the same procedure for association football (soccer), where the match is officially recorded as a draw, with the team which scores more in the shootout advancing.
Kansas was poised to move to #1 if it defeated Missouri; instead, the Tigers won 36-28 and took over the top spot, with West Virginia going to #2. The Tigers lost the Big 12 champiosnhip game to Oklahoma, the Mountaineers were shocked by Pittsburgh at home, leaving the door open for Big Ten champion Ohio State, one of two one-loss teams remaining–the other wa Kansas–to play SEC champion LSU, which was 11-2 officially (11-0-2 in my book), in the BCS championship game.
Despite losing to Missouri and not playing in the Big 12 championship game, Kansas received an at-large BCS bid to play in the Orange Bowl against Atlantic Coast Conference champ Virginia Tech. Missouri got bumped down to the Cotton Bowl, which was in its period as a second-tier bowl game, to play Arkansas.
It was revealed Kansas recevied the Orange Bowl bid because athletic director Lew Perkins guaranteed the committee to purchase an absurd number of tickets. It was also hinted he provided the committee with, uh, inducements to pick the Jayhawks instead of the Tigers.
That’s another story for another blog post, which will not be long in coming.
Back to Mangino.
Following Kansas’ unexpected season, he was voted national Coach of the Year by just about every organization, beating out the coach of the national champions, LSU’s Les Miles, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and Illinois’ Ron Zook, whose Illini beat Ohio State and went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1983 and only the second time since Dick Butkus led Illinois to the game in 1963.
It figured any man could lead KANSAS, which would win the NCAA men’s basketball championship in April under Bill Self, to a 12-1 record would be first in line for a job at a school which places a higher priority on football, right?
Mark Mangino received exactly ZERO interviews in late 2007 and early 2008 to fill vacancies. And there were vacancies at schools in major conferences.
Lloyd Carr retired at Michigan after 13 seasons. The Wolverines did not place the call from Ann Arbor to Lawrence, instead hiring Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia, who one year earlier agreed to become Alabama’s coach, but pulling out at the last second. Instead, the Crimson Tide hired this guy Nick Saban to replace Mike Shula. We know how that turned out.
West Virginia, which won the Big East in 2007 and has been a top-tier program since Bobby Bowden coached there in the 1970s, would be a step up for Mangino, even if he would step down in conference. The Mountaineers instead promoted assistant Bill Stewart, who coached West Virginia to victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma.
Chan Gailey left Georgia Tech to coach the Buffalo Bills. The Yellow Jackets opted for Navy coach Paul Johnson, who returned the Wishbone to the upper level of college football. He’s still there.
Ole Miss fired Ed Orgeron, who drove the Rebels straight into the ground with three horrible seasons. Mangino, who weighed north of 500 pounds then, would have loved eating southern cuisine in Oxford. The Rebels instead hired Houston Nutt, who had burned his bridges at Arkansas after 10 seasons.
Arkansas will certainly take a chance on Mangino, right? The Razorbacks are the only team in the Natural State (I don’t count Arkansas State, being so close to Tennessee and Missouri, plus being minor league for most of it existence), and Mangino would be the highest paid and most powerful person in the state, since Frank Broyles was set to finally retire as athletic director after almost 50 years in Fayetteville as football coach and AD.
Broyles’ successor, Jeff Long, instead plucked Bobby Petrino from the Atlanta Falcons. Petrino, who coached Louisville for four seaosns prior to taking the Falcons’ job in early 2007, resigned after a Monday Night Football loss to the Saints, leaving a typed note in each player’s locker. Twenty-four hours after the game ended, Petrino was in Fayetteville, “calling the hogs” with the Arkansas cheerleaders and numerous big-money boosters, which there are a lot of in Arkansas.
Petrino is a scumbag, too. One step above Mangino. One VERY SMALL step.
Why would Mangino not get a single interview after such a successful season?
It wasn’t because of his morbid obesity, which had to be a serious concern for KU officials, even if they would not say so publicly.
It was because he was one of the biggest ASSHOLES to ever roam a college sideline.
Yelling and screaming is a way of life for coaches in all sports in all levels. It is the preferred method of fommunication for football coaches, who believe the higher the decibel level, the more effective the message is. Tony Dungy, who hardly ever raised his voice, would beg to differ, but most of the great coaches yelled and screamed their way to the top, save Tom Osborne and Darrell Royal, who presented low-key images to the press, but probably did their fair share of vocalizing behind closed doors.
Mark Mangino is a world-class screamer.
But there was a problem with his screaming as big as Mangino’s waistline.
He was a sadistic bully.
Mangino had the one of the highest turnover rates of assistant coaches of any program. Nick Saban has been known to burn through assistants at a rapid rate because he works them to death and is so demanding those coaches often feel like they are trapped at the bottom of the ocean in a vacuum with no air hole.
Mangino was much worse than that.
When a player made a mistake, not only did the player feel Mangino’s wrath, but often his position coach did, too.
This was the big reason Bill Young, who was Mangino’s defensive coordinator in 2007, left the Jayhawks after that season to coach at Miami,, which at the time was sloghing through mediocrity under Randy Shannon.
Mangino was just as cruel to his players.
In 2003, it was reported Mangino made a KU player do tortuous bear crawls on the artifical surface of Memorial Stadium, where the temperature on the field was in excess of 150 degrees. The player ended up with burns and lost skin on his hands.
Following the Orange Bowl, starting linebacker Joe Mortensen went home after suffering a knee inury in the game, isntead of retruning immediately to Lawrence to rehabilitate the injury. Mangino punished Mortensen for three months by subjecting him to harsh conditioning, drills which led him to tear ligaments in the same knee.
Mangino’s verbal barbs were just as bad as his physical ones.
Reportedly when a player was charged with underage drinking, he said that player would one day be “drinking from a brown paper bag in Oakland under a bridge”.
He asked another player if “he wanted to be a lawyer or an alcoholic like his father”.
And the worst of all was when he told a player whose brother was injured by gunfire in St. Louis that he could “go back to the ‘hood and get shot with his homies”.
Bear Bryant would rise from his grave and kick Mangino in his family jewels if he could. Nick Saban might join him.
It’s one thing to scream. It is crossing the line when you get personal.
Mangino got personal.
Yet it took Lew Perkins until November 2009, when Kansas was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak which would drop it from 5-0 to 5-7, that Perkins began to investigate.
Mangino, who was owed a $6 million buyout if he were fired, refused to step down, claiming he did nothing wrong.
Faced with lawsuits and a revolt, Perkins negiotiated a settlement, paying Mangino $3 million to quietly resign.
Kansas fans went nuclear.
Most loved Mangino and claimed he as a victim. Lew Perkins was called every epithet you could think of.
I’m sorry, but Mangino got what he richly deserved. Mangino can go fuck himself.
I have no pity whatsoever for the Jayhawks. I find it quite amusing they are so horrnedous. It is karma for hiring that fat piece of shit and for buying the Orange Bowl bid.
Tonight, Mangino will be inducted into such company as Riggins, Douglass, Gale Sayers Phog Allen, Danny Manning and the man who invented basketball himself, Dr. James Naismith.
And guess what? Many are pushing for a bronze statue of Mangino outside Memorial Stadium.
John McEnroe said it best: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.
Congratulations, Jayhawks. You have disgraced yourselves. Just don’t disgrace yourselves more by even considering a statue for this disgrace of a homo sapiens.