Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

Some program should hire Mangino

11/27/2012 3:00 PM

05/16/2014 8:24 PM

Add another coaching vacancy, a hire, and three realigned teams (East Carolina and Tulane to the Big East, Denver to the Summit) to the day’s tally, and there’s plenty of afternoon remaining.

Southern Mississippi went one-and-done with Ellis Johnson, firing the coach who replaced Larry Fedora after last season. Southern Miss finished 0-12 after a 12-2 record in 2011 and Golden Eagles athletic director Jeff Hammond expressed in his announcement that “We must unite and come together as one through this transition period. Please let dignity, respect and love for Our Great University be our watchwords.”

I’m assuming Southern Miss didn’t change the name of the university, but the use of the capital letters was interesting choice.

Johnson’s tenure was a year shorter than Colorado’s Jon Embree, swept out of his job on Monday.

Kentucky came off the vacancy board on Tuesday. Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops got the job.

School’s with vacancy signs as of the Tuesday lunch hour:

Tennessee (fired Derek Dooley)

Auburn (Gene Chizik)

Arkansas (John L. Smith)

California (Jeff Tedford)

Colorado (Jon Embree)

Southern Mississippi (Ellis Johnson)

Purdue (Danny Hope)

North Carolina State (Tom O'Brien)

More to come, if only through the dominoes, but there are some excellent opportunities here. You’ve heard the obvious candidates. For the top SEC jobs Jon Gruden’s name gets tossed about. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy has been mentioned more often this year than last. Louisville’s Charlie Strong is considered a hot candidate.

Vanderbilt's James Franklin, Boise State's Chris Petersen, TCU's Gary Patterson, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, and, of course, Bobby Petrino are among the most frequently mentioned names for the jobs.

Two names with Kansas connections could make their way into speculation stories -- Mark Mangino and Dave Doeren.

Doeren is in his second year as the head coach at Northern Illinois and takes a 11-1 record into Friday’s Mid-American Conference championship game against Kent State. Last year, the Huskies went 11-3, won the conference and a bowl game. He’s a Bishop Miege graduate who played at Drake and coached on Mangino’s first four KU staffs before moving to Wisconsin. A year ago, the chatter was Doeren would be a good fit in the Big Ten or Big 12. Only Purdue in those conferences is open but the carousel is just getting started.

Mangino is an intriguing possibility for a program starting from the bottom, which is to say all of the programs with openings.

The rebuilding accomplishment at Kansas becomes more amazing the farther the program falls – 20 consecutive league losses heading into Saturday’s game at West Virginia – and one conference victory in the three years since Mangino was forced out amid abuse claims by players.

A prospective boss will have to do homework on that circumstance. Some would suggest the conditions that led to Mangino's departure should keep the door closed on future jobs. We know that Mike Leach, who left his previous job at Texas Tech in a similar fashion, just completed his first year at Washington State.

Mangino has maintained a low profile in the past three years but in an interview with the Daily Oklahoman last month said he preferred return to the college game as a head coach.

Florida has been Mangino’s home since leaving Kansas. Now seems like a good year to get back in the game and apply his rebuilding skills to some programs in desperate need.

Looking for connections? Colorado’s athletic director Mike Bohn is a Kansas graduate, and while Mangino was in the Big 12 his teams won three of their last four against the Buffs.

Candidates with all kinds of backgrounds are being floated for the jobs, but few have resume that includes transforming a moribund program with a budget far from the league leaders into a BCS bowl champion. Mangino’s does, and somebody should make him a head coach once again.

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