Bob Lutz

Mangino ending is unfitting

Mark Mangino is forgotten.

Lost in the excitement of a new football coach at Kansas, Mangino's exodus came and went without so much as a farewell cake.

He was paid off to keep quiet, and for $3 million is there anyone among us who wouldn't agree to zip it?

Meanwhile, Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins has sealed Mangino's personnel file so that whatever was turned up in KU's internal investigation into allegations that he mistreated players is out of sight and, Perkins is banking, out of mind.

Turner Gill is the Jayhawks' coach now and it's as if Mangino's eight years didn't exist. The most successful coach in Kansas history has been exiled just two seasons after leading KU to an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Perkins acts as if the Mangino years were just a dream. He won't answer questions about the investigation and won't address how much he knew about Mangino's supposed mistreatment of players and when he knew it.

Kansas has swept the Mangino matter under a neat, tidy rug. The outrage that once accompanied his treatment by an athletic administration that had recently stood decidedly in his corner vanished.

This is today's world of college athletics. You can be a shining beacon of hope one season and an embarrassing blemish two years later.

Mangino may not have had a sweet disposition — he's a football coach, not a Mary Kay salesman. He took over from nice guy Terry Allen in 2002 after Allen had almost nice-guyed KU into football oblivion.

Mangino instilled a new football culture and probably chewed off a couple of heads in the course of doing so.

Yes, he went a little crazy at one of his son's high school games, berating an official. Not good.

He chastised a Kansas player who showed up the opposition by diving into the end zone for a touchdown when he simply could have jogged in.

He wasn't hired to coach at KU because of his warmth and tenderness.

It's interesting that the term most used to describe Gill is that he's nice. By all accounts, Gill is a classy gentleman who says the right things with just the right tone.

When Mangino was hired to replaced Allen, KU had had enough "nice" to last a lifetime. The Jayhawks hired Mangino because he was tough, because he had worked his way up from coaching small-town football in Pennsylvania to being a Division I offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.

Kansas appreciated Mangino then. Eight years later, it didn't.

Officially, Mangino resigned. In reality, he was forced out. Fired, albeit with a nice bundle of cash to take home.

It's not unusual for coaches to be fired. Coaches are hired to be fired, especially on the heels of a seven-game losing streak.

I don't think it's cynical to wonder whether if Kansas had won two or three of those seven games, would we be talking about a new coach at Kansas?

What happens to Mangino? I suspect he'll find work when he wants to.

What is the purpose of re-hashing this now? I guess it's to remind people that Mangino was a good hire for Kansas. He took the Jayhawks to four bowl games and recruited some of the most exciting players in Kansas history.

During his time at KU, the Jayhawks gained the upper hand on Kansas State. They fought tooth and nail with Missouri. They weren't able to rise to the top of the Big 12 North, but they were closer to the top than to the bottom.

I feel bad for Mangino and his family and friends. His name has been tarnished. It wasn't his record that got him into trouble at Kansas, it was his behavior. Yet we have no idea what that behavior was, outside of the accusations of a handful of former and current players.

It's surreal to think that Mangino's problems started, publicly at least, when KU linebacker Arest Wright accused his coach of grabbing him and poking him in the chest early during the 2009 season.

Mangino had to deal with his plummeting reputation even as he was trying to turn around a season going south.

His exit from Kansas was unceremonious. He was just gone. Maybe his players threw him a party, I don't know. Maybe Mangino is happier now, I can't say.

He has an extra $3 million in his pocket, so how sorry can we feel for the guy?

Is all that money worth Mangino's dignity? Forget for a moment how he might have treated some of his players. How did KU treat him?

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