John E. Hoover: Mangino's personal baggage too much for Oklahoma return
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Columnist
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2/12/13 at 9:13 AM
Related Story: Sooners' O-line coach joins Wilson at Indiana
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Maybe Bob Stoops won't hire Mark Mangino after all.
And that is a good thing for the University of Oklahoma.
Stoops created an opening on Monday morning when he fired popular offensive line coach James Patton.
Immediately, it was widely speculated and even reported as "done" that Stoops would reach out to his old pal Mangino to coach OU's offensive line.
By Monday evening, however, all signs pointed to Mangino staying unemployed for now.
If the Sooners go elsewhere for their next offensive line coach - whether it's a decision made by Stoops or one that came down from athletic director Joe Castiglione or even president David Boren - it avoids a public relations faux pas that would stretch deep into recruiting and create questions the school simply doesn't want to answer.
Mangino is an extremely qualified football coach. And he certainly fit Stoops' past hiring practices, having coached with Stoops for five seasons at Kansas State and three seasons at Oklahoma. And guaranteed, the man they call "Bear" would re-instill some of the old-school football values - toughness comes to mind - that Oklahoma offensive lines have lacked the last few seasons.
But Mangino's skills as a football coach are not the issue here.
It's his long history of boorish behavior.
Too many of Mangino's former players at Kansas and K-State allege verbal abuse when he was fired after the 2009 season. It's a risk OU doesn't need to take.
In 2009, Cory Kipp, a Jayhawks defensive lineman in 2002 and '03, provided photos to the Lawrence Journal-World in 2009 of a hand injury - turf burns, allegedly - he sustained when Mangino made him perform bear crawls as punishment. Kipp said Mangino also threatened to burn his other hand if he missed any more tackles.
A week after wideout Raymond Brown's brother reportedly sustained a gunshot wound, Brown was supposedly trying to apologize to Mangino for dropping a pass, but Brown said Mangino told him, "'If you don't shut up, I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies.'"
Brown and former KU wideout Marcus Herford recounted Mangino yelling at a player in front of everyone, " 'Are you going to be a lawyer or do you want to become an alcoholic like your dad?' "
Former KU linebacker Joe Mortensen called Mangino "ruthless" and said players were afraid to confront the situation for fear that Mangino would hurt their professional opportunities.
"He told me he'd send me back to Oakland where I could be drinking out of a brown paper bag," Mortensen told the Journal-World in '09.
In a 2007 game, after punt returner Raimond Pendleton was flagged for excessive celebration at the end of a touchdown, Mangino launched into an over-the-top, profane tirade that was caught on camera and became a YouTube sensation.
And in 2002, his first year in Lawrence, Mangino tore into a high school officiating crew in a game in which his son was playing, reportedly prompting action against him by Lawrence Public Schools.
Former Kansas State running back Tory Bradley told ESPN in 2009 that he once fell asleep in a meeting and woke up on the floor because, teammates told him, Mangino had pushed him out of his chair. Bradley told ESPN that Mangino "kicked me three or four times in my butt. When I got up he started shaking me real hard."
Amid these allegations, Mangino said on his radio show in 2009 that disgruntled players coming out against him were seeking their "15 minutes of fame. ... How I coach is how I coach. Ninety-nine percent of the kids here appreciate it."
He also was accused in 2007 of bullying KU employees over parking tickets, including swearing loudly and threateningly at a student ticket-writer in public.
Think other programs wouldn't use all that bad behavior against the Sooners on the recruiting trail? It's the kind of publicity for which some recruiters lie in wait.
Since 2009, Mangino has been living in Florida. He told The Oklahoman last fall that he has wanted to return to coaching, but his wife Mary Jane had a bout with breast cancer that made him reexamine his priorities. He said in October she had her final treatments a few weeks previous and doctors were hopeful. He also told the newspaper that she gave him a directive to "go find a coaching job."
Mangino told The Oklahoman then that there were no openings at OU, but also said, "Would it be something I would think about if there was an opportunity? Yes, but I just can't sit around and wait to see if something happens at Oklahoma."
This isn't to be taken lightly.
Mike Leach at Texas Tech and Jim Leavitt at South Florida (also former Stoops associates) got fired amid allegations of player abuse.
More recently, bad behavior got Bobby Petrino fired at Arkansas, and got basketball coach Billy Gillispie forced out at Texas Tech.
Each of those schools' athletic directors - Jeff Long in Fayetteville, Kirby Hocutt in Lubbock - used to work at OU under Castiglione. They got an up-close look at what a university's standards for conduct should be. He taught them firsthand what kind of behavior is acceptable from athletic department employees.
Maybe Mangino is a changed man and now can control his temper. Or maybe he gets another job somewhere else. Or maybe Stoops simply would rather hire a different candidate.
Or maybe Castiglione stepped in and told Stoops: No more cronies. Not this time.
Technically, Castiglione approves all of Stoops' assistant coach hires. In reality, Stoops has maintained a large degree of hiring autonomy.
This time, however, Mangino comes with far too much personal baggage.
Mark Mangino is a terrific football coach. But he's not a 21st-century hire.
Original Print Headline: Sooners searching again
OKLAHOMA COORDINATORS WHO HAVE LEFT UNDER BOB STOOPS
Left for: head coach, Texas Tech
Now: head coach, Washington State
Replaced by: Chuck Long
Left for: head coach, Kansas
Replaced by: Kevin Wilson
Left for: defensive coordinator, LSU
Now: head coach, Nebraska
Replaced by: Chris Wilson
Left for: head coach, Indiana
Now: head coach, Indiana
Replaced by: Bruce Kittle
Left for: defensive coordinator, Clemson
Now: def. coordinator, Clemson
Replaced by: Mike Stoops
...AND THREE MORE
Left for: head coach, Arizona
Now: defensive coordinator, OU
Replaced by: Bo Pelini
Left for: head coach, San Diego State
Now: volunteer coach, Norman High School (unemployed)
Replaced by: Josh Heupel
Left for: head coach, Houston
Now: head coach, Texas A&M
Replaced by: Jay Norvell
OTHER ASSISTANTS WHO LEFT OU UNDER BOB STOOPS
Steve Spurrier Jr.
Left for: Washington Redskins,
Now: South Carolina, wide
Replaced by: Darrell Wyatt
Left for: Cincinnati Bengals, tight
Now: Cincinnati Bengals, tight
Replaced by: Kevin Sumlin
Left for: wide receivers, Minnesota
Now: wide receivers, Texas
Replaced by: James Patton
Left for: co-defensive coordinator,
Now: defensive coordinator,
Replaced by: Willie Martinez
Left for: fired
Now: defensive backs, Auburn
Replaced by: Tim Kish
Left for: offensive line, Indiana
Now: offensive line, Indiana
Replaced by: TBA
Photos by STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World file (Venables) and The Associated Press