Mark Mangino Needs to Go Jedi to Bounce Back

Al's WingmanAnalyst IDecember 4, 2009

There was a time when both Kansas and Kansas State football were in complete shambles.  Both programs were so bad that they came in dead-last and next-to-dead-last every season in the “dirty dozen,” a list compiled annually either by Playboy or Penthouse (I can’t remember which) of the worst college football teams in the nation.


Of course, Oregon and Oregon State made the list regularly as well, so times do change.


Kansas State always seemed to be the absolute worst and who knows if that is because of lack of budget or an absent-minded athletic department.  Things were dreadful until Bill Snyder came along to change all that in the '80s.


Kansas made incremental progress over the years, but never matching Kansas State until Mark Mangino arrived.


Mangino is a man with a plan, a very intense guy.  I always found it strange how anyone that physically huge can stand to live with themselves let alone carry the burden of rebuilding a college football program.


If you don’t think physical demands are important, think again.  If you don’t pay attention to your health, you will die and your accomplishments will be meaningless.  It’s very simple.


Stress, a bad diet, everything that can go wrong will go wrong if you are not careful.


Mark Mangino looks like the unhealthiest man in the world of collegiate athletics.  It’s one thing to be obese, but this is in addition to an anger management problem that has spilled over consistently.


Whatever those emotional and anger issues amount to have now cost him his job.  Mangino is out as head coach at Kansas and rightfully so.  A coach who steps over the line and motivates student-athletes through belittling them has no place in the game.


Save that approach for the military.  Though, even there, Mangino is no role model.


Yet, somehow Mangino has managed to do great things as a head coach.  He has most assuredly built Kansas into a steady program, capable of competing with any Division I team in the nation.


He demands a lot from his players and from the looks of it, he gets the most of out of them.  One way or the other, his players had a fire under them with Mangino’s insistence.


To get back into coaching, Mangino will have to learn to motivate without belittling.  He will need to reinvent himself.  What he should do with a small portion of his multi-million dollar payout is hire a personal trainer.  Get rid of the unsightly, grotesque physical form he is saddled with.  Re-emerge as a new man with a new approach.


Learning from your mistakes will require more than words.  It will require action.


It would be nice to see Mangino truly understand where he went wrong and how awful it is to carry his burdens physically, mentally and emotionally. 


Or maybe that’s just the California, new age, hippy in me that sees things that way.  I can’t imagine being that fat and thinking that being an intense head football coach is more important than my health.  Everything goes hand in hand.  Change has to happen if Mangino is to achieve any measure of resilience.