Former University of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino is talking for the first time since he was forced out of the job 17 months ago. In an interview with his hometown paper, the New Castle (Pennsylvania) News, Mangino refuses to his acknowledge that his inability to control his emotions may have played a role in his firing.
Mangino, for instance, blames the media for his becoming a YouTube sensation in 2007. During a game against Central Michigan, the coach tore into a player ("Look at what the fuck you did!") who drew a celebration penalty. Mangino said the TV reporter who captured the tirade "broke an unwritten rule" by recording and releasing the audio. "That should never even have been an issue," Mangino says.
New Castle News sports editor Kayleen Cubbal's story puts a Mangino-friendly gloss over the allegations that the coach was abusive toward his players, the university employees and anyone else who irritated him. The 2002 incident in which Mangino berated a referee after his son's high school football game was one of a "couple of hiccups," in Cubbal's words.
Mangino's choice to open up to the New Castle News and not a writer with a national profile -- Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, say -- says a lot about the guy. Mangino wanted soft treatment, and he got it. Cubbal describes the KU players who complained about Mangino as "disgruntled." The Jayhawks who came to his defense, meanwhile, included the "star wide receiver" Kerry Meier and "record-setting quarterback" Todd Reesing.
Mangino tells Cubbal that he does not dwell on the negative when he thinks about his time at Kansas. But he seemed to want to take a shot at the university when he discussed his possible return to the sidelines. Mangino says he wants to find a "football environment -- in other words, I would only go to a place where football has a high level of importance. I don't want to go someplace where football is an afterthought or a hobby. That just would not work for me."
Mangino, it appears, has not used his time away from football to address his dangerous obesity in a meaningful way. He looks pretty hefty in the post-Lawrence photos that accompany the story. The story, however, indicates that Mangino is "committed" to an exercise regimen. "I feel good," he says.