Mangino's OU Ties

Mark Mangino just smiled Tuesday afternoon at his weekly press conference when a reporter told him he was still quite popular back in Oklahoma.

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 Castle, Pa.

"They are hard working, not pretentious and just love football," Mangino said.

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 Saturday."

Stoops thinks so. He has great respect for Mangino and the Kansas program.

"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 them well."

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." Top Stories