Mangino offers OU, KSU comparisons
If there's any one individual who knows the inner workings of the next week in the football camps of the Wildcats and Sooners, it's Mark Mangino.
The current coach of the University of Kansas Jayhawks was Bill Snyder's assistant at Kansas State from 1991-1998. In his final year, Mangino served as running game coordinator and assistant head coach when the undefeated Wildcats entered the Big 12 title game against Texas A&M and suffered a double-overtime loss.
In 1999, Mangino became the offensive coordinator of Bob Stoops at the University of Oklahoma. Playing in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium for the Big 12 Championship in 2000, the undefeated Sooners edged the Wildcats, 27-24.
Today, in comparing how Snyder and Stoops will prepare this week for their 7 p.m. meeting in Kansas City Saturday for the Big 12 title, Mangino first said, "Those are two excellent coaches, leaders and men that I admire very much."
He went on, "It's not a secret that they have different personalities and take different approaches, but there's nothing wrong with that."
Mangino said that OU will absolutely take Saturday's game like any other opponent.
"Oklahoma doesn't do anything special in preparation for any game whether it's opening day, or the middle of the conference season, or for a championship," said Mangino, who coached in Norman for three years. "They will be very business-like and will follow the same routine they do every week."
When Mangino was at K-State, he says the program was still in its infancy when it came to truly big games.
"We stayed pretty much to the same routine, but there definitely was the feeling that this was going to be a big game," Mangino said in reference to preparing for the 1998 title game. "You could sense it."
The current KU coach added, "At Oklahoma, they have been so used to playing in big games over the years and decades. You could never sense the build up to any game on the practice field. Everything was taken in stride, and Bob took it all in stride, too."
Mangino said that even though the Sooner program had not experienced great success in the recent years prior to the arrival of Stoops, like Yankee pinstripes, you could feel the aura of the franchise.
Since the end of World War II, no program has won more games than Oklahoma. It's a program that has had three Heisman winners, enjoyed a 47-game winning streak and produced 131 all-Americans.
Oh yes, there have also been seven national championships, 38 conference titles and 23 bowl victories.
"I don't care what you did this year or last year, you walk out on that field and see how many national championships and conference championships and it's staggering," Mangino said. "To a 20-year-old, that carries an impact."
After leaving K-State in 1995, Stoops went to Florida, where he won a national championship with Steve Spurrier with the Gators.
Today, Mangino says, "Bob embraces those expectations. Bob makes it very clear that he expects to win. When I was at K-State, coach Snyder was just in the process of building that mentality. He wanted to achieve at a high level, but because the program he inherited did not have those expectations, he had to build that into the kids, and that took time."
Stoops walked into an OU program in 1999 that had won five, four, three, five and six games in the previous five years.
Instead of fussing about that, Mangino says Stoops embraced the overall tradition and let the players know what they were playing for.
The result has been seasons of 7-5, 13-0, 11-2, 12-2 and today 12-0.
When K-State went undefeated in 1998, it was into only its eighth season of plus-.500 football in the last 43 years.
Compared to Oklahoma, Mangino said, "Coach Snyder was entering uncharted waters. There was nothing to look back to."
As for his personal relationship with the two men, Mangino said it is definitely different, but said it only stands to reason.
He was an assistant coach along with Stoops at Kansas State from 1991 through 1995.
"My relationship with coach Snyder was as a boss who I worked for and learned from," Mangino said. "Bob and I became friends because we were assistant coaches together. Our families were friends, he took an interest in my children, and when Bob went to Florida, our wives stayed in communication. We have remained friends since I worked for him at Oklahoma.
"Like Bob, coach Snyder stands for excellence, but it was just a different relationship. He was my boss," Mangino said. "He (Snyder) took the worst program in America and made it into a Top 10 program. How could you not admire something like that."
Mangino added, "I've been very, very fortunate to have worked for both of those men and I admire them very much."
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