Coaches are usually polite on the weekly Big 12 football coaches’ teleconference. Kansas coach Mark Mangino was more polite than usual Monday despite the potential for difficult questions.
He addressed reporters by name when answering their questions, and when reporters thanked him for his replies, Mangino responded with a “You’re welcome,” or “Thank you.”
Mangino opened with a statement about his team’s loss to Texas, saying he had turned his attention this week’s game against Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and did not hesitate to give comments about the game or other football-related issues.
When the conversation turned to Kansas’ investigation into Mangino’s conduct amid allegations he poked a player and might have been verbally abusive, he maintained his polite demeanor, though he paused sometimes, choosing his words carefully.
“If someone is going to have an investigation into something, that’s fine,” Mangino said. “I don’t have a problem with that. You would not like for it to be leaked out before anything has been done, even before the investigation actually starts. From that aspect, you don’t like it, but you live with it. You keep coaching the kids, you keep doing what you like to do. You have confidence in yourself and confidence in your players and you try to focus on winning games.”
Mangino did not reveal his feelings on what he thought the result of the investigation would be.
“It hasn’t played out yet,” he said. “It’s not over. And you can only focus on the things that you can control in life. And that’s what I’m doing. Coaching my players. Getting ready, having our meetings, get out to the practice field, give the kids a chance to win the game.”
Mangino said he has had almost no communication with Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins or other administrators in the past week.
“I don’t know if there should be or shouldn’t be,” he said. “You always like communication with everybody. Communication with your players, your coaches, your administrators, your support staff, all those people. But I’m good. I’m fine, I’m working and my players are really focused.”
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has declined to comment on the investigation multiple times.
“Mark’s a friend and he’s a colleague,” Pinkel said. “And I just don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment in any way.”
Kansas is 5-6, so the Jayhawks will become bowl-eligible if they beat Missouri.
“I’ll be very blunt with you,” Mangino said. “This senior class deserves a bowl game. If you look what these kids have accomplished up into this season, it’s remarkable. They have been a part of back-to-back bowls, which is something that’s never happened at Kansas. They’ve gone to a BCS bowl and won it, which has never happened at Kansas. And now they have an opportunity to play in a third bowl, which is impressive.”
While a 6-6 record would make Kansas bowl eligible, it wouldn’t guarantee a bowl invitation. The Jayhawks finished 6-6 in 2006 and did not get invited to a bowl game.