What Is Next For Mangino and For Kansas Football

Chris HallFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2009

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Coach Mark Mangino of the Kansas University Jayhawks directs play against the University of South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium on September 12, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Kansas Jayhawks (finally) decided that enough was enough with coach Mark Mangino and made the right call to show him the door. It’s hard to argue with a program that's firing a coach when they have: top 25 talent, a Heisman level quarterback, and a down conference, however they still manage to finish below .500 and miss a bowl game. The thing that really killed Mangino was the recent reports that he was verbally abusive to players; if those two things hadn’t happened at the same time he would still have a job. I used to love Mangino-he turned a horrible program that I loved into a national contender, brought KU a top 50 recruiting class for the first time ever, and won an orange bowl (they got screwed that year and should have played in the title game, how does a 3 loss LSU get ranked higher than a 1 loss KU team?). If you asked me a year or two ago what I thought about Mangino I would have told you something along the lines of him being the chosen one or a spot of light in this dark, dark world. 
So what is next for Mangino? I think some good jobs would be: 

1. Back to coordinator at a D1 school like Notre Dame. I think he would be a great choice for the new coach at ND (Bryan Kelly) because the biggest problem with Weis was that he wasn’t a fiery leader and wouldn’t get in your face - so why not get someone who got thrown out of his last school for being too aggressive and in your face (also called verbally abusive but whatever)?

2. Head coach at a small school. I think the coordinator route is better for him and more likely, but something tells me that if he gets an opportunity to be a head coach anywhere, he is going to take it. I just don’t see how he could look a mom in the eyes and say, "let your kid come play for me, I’ll take care of him after what he did at KU." I have no reason to think this, but I bet he gets an interview at Virginia, but I don’t know if he is what they are looking for.

3. Coordinator or assistant coach on a bad NFL team. I think it would be amazing if he got hired by the Browns so that we could have Mangino and Mangini on the same team; we could say that the coaches there were mangeniuses and think about it how much worse could the Browns get? They have no place to go but up. And on a side note, Al Davis is crazy enough to hire Mangino just because he’s tough.

So where does Kansas go for their next coach? Some reports say that they are going to go for a small name because of a possible buy-out. They’ll have to give up Mangino, but with the verbal abuse thing they can say he was “let go with cause” and if they do that and can prove it in court then they don’t owe him jack squat. So, I hope and think they will go for a big name that is going to make a splash and get some attention heading to KU. The only problem with that is if they get a huge name, the boosters are going to have to come up with big bucks. Also, KU is a basketball school and they might not be as willing to give up money for a dwindling football program. Here is the list of coaches I think and hope they will look at (listed in order of who I want most).

1. Jim Harbaugh: he is supposedly at the top of the list of people they want to bring in. He would be a big name for that program; he is exactly what they need and if they can get him - they need to get him.

Reasons he would come: his wife is from Kansas, KU has slightly worse academic standards than Stanford, which would make it easier to recruit top notch athletes, and he is maybe the only candidate that the Jayhawks are willing to shell out big bucks for.

Why he wouldn’t come: Notre Dame is going to come calling and that is a far more storied program, where he could become a national icon at, he has a good thing at Stanford (they are probably a better team than KU is), and why would someone leave beautiful northern California for Kansas? 

2. Charlie Weis: I think I am the only one that thinks this could happen, but I think it would be an amazing choice. He will feel free of pressure after being at Notre Dame. He is a huge name that would bring some recruits with just his name; he is also an offensive genius, which would be able to work with the players in place now at Kansas. Kansas has already proven they like coaches with a little more to love if you get what I’m saying.

Reasons he’d come: He won’t have many - if any - head coaching offers from a good program, fans would be nicer and more forgiving than the fans at ND, and it would make me happy. Plus I bet he looks good in KU colors.

Why he wouldn’t: he just wouldn’t need the money, he is going to make bank from getting canned at ND, and he is going to get lots of offers to be an NFL offensive coordinator.

3. Turner Gill: I LOVE Turner Gill; how he hasn’t gotten picked up by a good school yet is beyond me. He made something out of Buffalo - not the Bills - the University of Buffalo. If I’m KU and can’t get Weis or Harbaugh I would lock up Gill before someone else does.

Why he’d come: He has a daughter that goes to KU - HELLO, what more of a sign do you want, he is a former big 12 stud, and he loves the Midwest.

Why he wouldn’t: I really have no idea why he wouldn’t; the only thing I can think of would be if he is holding out for a bigger job. 

4. Chris Peterson: With Todd Reesing and Desmond Briscoe both leaving, the Kansas offense is going to need some new things going for it - Peterson's system is full of quirky gadget plays and it seems to work on everyone. He has proved year in and year out that he can hold up under pressure and can win the big game. A Peterson hiring would give Sooner fans a fiesta bowl flashback and they would all pee their pants and know that Kansas is nobody to be taken lightly.

Why he’d come: Peterson gets the shaft every year for not being in a good conference so being in the big 12 could be all he needs to reach his BCS dreams, and if he can recruit at Boise State he can get better players at a major program.

Why he wouldn’t: He's got a good thing going at Boise, he could be a hot item if the Broncos do well in the fiesta bowl vs. TCU, and  he has no Midwest experience and I’m not sure if that will affect him at all.

5. Randy Edsall: This is what Kansas will probably end up getting. He is boys with the current AD Perkins and they used to work together at Uconn before Perkins got to Kansas. The fact that he is such a boring choice is what turns me off but he actually is a pretty dang good coach. He made Uconn a big east contender and so he will know what it’s like to work with a school that wants to give a large part of their money to basketball.

Why he’d come: KU has a better program with a better chance of getting some BCS love, he loves Perkins, and he runs a system that can work with the talent already in place.

Why he wouldn’t: let’s be honest if it’s offered to him - he is coming.

6. Mike Stoops: This is way out of left field, but this would be in a word - awesome. Imagine Mike and Bob Stoops in the same state. Brothers generally hate each other anyways and want to prove they are better than the other one, so why not throw that into the big 12? Arizona has slowly but surely been becoming a good football program so why not stick it to them for beating Kansas in the basketball championship game by stealing their coach (yes I know that happened more than ten years ago I’m still bitter I cried that night)

Why he’d come: To stick it to his brother, he is from the Midwest, and he would get a big pay raise.

Why he wouldn’t: who knows, maybe he hates money, loves his brother, and likes being at a lesser program.

At the end of the day, KU should really thank Mangino! He did what I call, the Jake Gyllenhaal. Have you seen Gyllenhaal in Jurassic Park? He was a fat annoying kid that nobody ever would have thoughtwould one day have millions of female admirers. Look at him now - he has a lady or two beating down his door! That’s KU; they used to be a laughing stock,  now they're doing a pretty good job. The one thing about the Gyllenhaal is that he still isn’t cool enough that he can pull off anything, he needs to stay the way he is for a while or he runs the risk of losing it all. So even if they don’t pick a name on this list, they still need a name that can keep them competitive in the big 12 and keep them in the headlines for a while.