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Mangino Out at Kansas

News broke late last night as Edge and I were enjoying each other’s music knowledge on a little thing I like to call XBox Live that the axe man cameth for yet another coach in FBS… and I certainly hope he brought his flatbed.

Mark Mangino, the head coach at Kansas, announced his “resignation” yesterday, and while technically not a firing, I think you’d be hard pressed to find any who don’t believe this wasn’t one of those situations where some sort of deal was brokered to save face for Mangino, the University, and the players Mangino has allegedly treated like complete dogshit during his time in Lawrence.

Mangino’s record, at 50-48 is far from Earth shaking by most standards, but he took a program that was universally regarded as one of the bottom programs in FBS and restored it to some level of respectability. 4 Bowls for Mangino, winning 3 of them, and a BCS trip and Coach of the Year honors in 07 highlight his resume, and it is an impressive one.

Unfortunately for Mangino, as we talked about a bit last week, two things collided this season that were simply unrecoverable. The late season skid, 7 in a row started by a demoralizing loss to Colorado, wasn’t damning in and of itself. The allegations of player abuse, general dickheadedness, and anger issues raised amidst that skid, though, in combination with each loss, was simply too much for the program or Mangino to recover from. One or the other could have been avoided. Both together brought a Titanic like collision, and there was no recently married debutante with a dresser door for Mangino to clutch.

This firing (because let’s call it what it was), or more specifically, the reasons behind it certainly brings up an interesting conversation about whether or not on-field performance is some sort of absolve for any off-field transgressions or issues. I find it challenging to believe that these sorts of problems or severe outbursts became known only this season. What is more likely is players, administrators, and boosters simply looked the other way as the wins, Bowl trips, and conference division titles rolled in. When those stopped, suddenly the 500-pound gorilla (pun?) needed to be handled.

Of course, this isn’t a shock to anyone who follows athletics. There is example after example after example of problem behavior overlooked or in some cases rewarded simply because the athletic achievements of the team were so numerous or impressive. What is curious, at least to me, is the double standard that exists the opposite way. How many times has a coach been let go and the mantra has been some version of, “He was a damn nice guy… he just couldn’t win football games.” Bill Lynch… paging Bill Lynch… this metaphor is ready for you.

Perhaps the saddest thing in all of this is somewhere in Kansas a recent mother needs to update the wardrobe of a certain baby. A baby we have all come to know and love. A baby that as of this moment, is a ship with no harbor. Godspeed, Baby Mangino….

That brings our total Axe-Man Victims of 2009 to 11.

2009 Axe Man Victims
JD Brookhart – Akron
David Elson – Western Kentucky
Al Groh – Virginia
Steve Kragthrope – Louisville
Mark Mangino – Kansas
Mike Sanford – UNLV
Mark Snyder – Marshall
Dick Tomey – San Jose State
Charlie Weatherbie – Louisiana-Monroe
Charlie Weis – Notre Dame
Tommy West – Memphis

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2 Responses

  1. Dag-gum, you forgot Bobby Bowden. While not technically “axed”, he is nonetheless a former coach.

  2. Bowden will get the OTP treatment soon enough.

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