The KU head football coach was assistant head coach/offensive
coordinator at OU under Bob Stoops from 1999-2001. Oklahoma, which went
undefeated (13-0) and won the national championship in 2000, posted an
impressive 30-7 record during Mark Mangino’s three years in Norman.
Mangino’s Jayhawks will be facing Stoops’ Sooners Saturday in Lawrence
at 2:30 p.m. (CT).
Mangino said his three years at Oklahoma made a great impact on his
career and life.
“They were important years in my career, but they were also a lot of
fun,” Mangino said. “We had a really good coaching staff. Bob put
together a really good staff of people that had known each other for a
lot of years. There was a sense of family and community when we got
there. The people of Oklahoma welcomed us with open arms.”
Mangino said the OU fans were still thankful when the Sooners earned an
Independence Bowl berth in 1999, his first year in Norman.
“Now, there is nothing wrong with the Independence Bowl,” Mangino said,
“but Oklahoma and the Independence Bowl? Then we won a national
championship and the football program got its swagger back. The fans
were energized about their football program.”
Mangino was comfortable at a place where “even if you do not go to
school at OU, if you live in Oklahoma, a lot of those folks there call
it ‘their football program.’” He said the people in Norman reminded him
of the folks in western Pennsylvania, where he grew up in New
“They are hard working, not pretentious and just love football,”
Mangino loved working for Stoops; the two were fellow assistants at
K-State in the 1990s. He said he learned a lot from Stoops about living
in the moment and not dwelling over a loss. Those lessons are
especially meaningful this week with KU coming off a loss to Colorado.
Oklahoma also lost last Saturday to Texas.
“I really did get (that philosophy) from Bob,” Mangino said. “You
cannot change what is done. You lose, you lose. The sun is going to
come up the next day. There is no sense in crying or pouting about it,
because you cannot do anything about it.”
Mangino is only concerned about “things that I know I can control.”
“Life is too short to worry about things you cannot control,” Mangino
said. “I tell our players all the time, ‘The next play is the most
important play, what you did a play ago, whether it was good or bad, is
gone, the next game is the most important game.’”
“Being around Bob for a long time, he would always say, ‘Hey, we are
not going to let anybody beat us twice,’” Mangino added. “That is the
way we are, too, so hopefully this will be a great matchup for us
Stoops thinks so. He has great respect for Mangino and the Kansas
“Coach Mangino is a great friend of mine and also a great coach,”
Stoops said. “He and his staff have done a great job of consistently
having KU playing in bowl games and consistently competing for the Big
12 North championship. We realize it's another big challenge. They have
some exceptional players, in particular, their trio of guys on offense
in (Todd) Reesing, (Dezmon) Briscoe and (Kerry) Meier are a good group
of players and they have a lot of other guys around them to complement
Of course, Mangino would love a victory over Stoops’ Sooners. But win
or lose, he’ll never forget those three years in Norman.
“It was an exciting time for my family and I,” Mangino said. “Because
of the success there, I had the opportunity to come here to Kansas. I
enjoyed it and I’m glad to hear I am still popular there even though
I’m Crimson and Blue now.”