Thursday, November 19, 2009

Disciplinarian or Just a Nasty Human Being

I have to admit that, until this morning, I knew nothing about Kansas Football Coach Mark Mangino. Now that I do, I wish I was still in my happy, ignorant bubble:
Former Kansas football players are speaking out about an investigation into allegations coach Mark Mangino has verbally abused or had inappropriate physical contact with players.

Former Jayhawks linebacker Mike Rivera, who plays for the Tennessee Titans, said Wednesday night he could not speak about the allegations. He plans to have a formal interview on the matter with representatives from Kansas in the next few days.

But five of Rivera's former teammates said they were not surprised by the investigation launched by athletic director Lew Perkins. And some relayed personal experiences with Mangino.

Former Kansas wide receiver Raymond Brown, who was a senior last season, said Mangino would often "say personal, hurtful, embarrassing things in front of people."

Brown cited two examples. He said that once, his younger brother had been shot in the arm in St. Louis. Then came a game.

"I dropped a pass and [Mangino] was mad," Brown said. "And I said, 'Yes, sir. Yes, sir.' The yelling didn't bother me. But then he said, 'Shut up!' He said, 'If you don't shut up, I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies.' I was irate. I wanted to hurt him to be honest with you."

Now, is that intended to motivate players? Yes. Is it appropriate? No. It should have been done differently. I think Coach Mangino would do well to change his approach. His approach has taken on a kind of Bobby Knight feeding frenzy situation, and that tends to go downhill fast.

Being hard on players is necessary. That added extra dose of personal nastiness is what is unacceptable. Constantly telling a player that he will go back to being on the block with his homeys is a tad bit racist, when you think about it. Mangino needs to motivate his players in a more positive way, such as, making them wear pink dresses or walk around with baby bottles stuck in the face guard of their helmets. Humiliate without using personal issues, in other words. Losing has begun to shine a light on Mangino and his methods, and few coaches can stand up to scrutiny when they're losing. Hell, Mangino looks like he's about to explode and go down with a massive coronary anyway.

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