Coaching philosophy's range from "the players coach" to the "dictator" approach. The ultimate goal regardless is to get a group of men to bond, play as a team and reach their ultimate potential as individuals. This ideally leads to success on the field and success later in life.
In 2001 Kansas made the switch from a fun loving "players coach" in Terry Allen. Allen is known to pretty much let the players call the shots, do what they pleased and the results speak for themselves. Were they bonded as a unit? I can't say they were. Did they play as a team? Absolutely not. Did they reach their ultimate potential on the field and as individuals? I can't speak to players individual lives but I have to think that missteps in the program were clearly keeping Kansas from reaching it's potential regardless of whether that is as an Orange bowl winner or a 6-6 Fort Worth Bowl. Neither of those were happening with Allen.
Moving on, Mark Mangino is brought in. Early players say he was intense, very hard on the team but it was understood that this was an effort to weed out the players that weren't serious about playing winning football.
"There is only one sort of discipline, perfect discipline."
We've all seen the movies. Full Metal Jacket comes to mind first. Break a man down to the lowest common denominator and then rebuild him the way you want him. I can see where this might trickle into a coaching situation. Not saying I agree or disagree with it but it clearly has some merit.
So under the assumption that this is the philosophy of coach Mangino, where did he go wrong? He clearly broke down and built up a winner. However now, with things on a slide there seems to be a building army of dissent among his former players and one would assume some currently playing feel the same.
Somewhere along the way coach Mangino made the breakdown personal. It was no longer the over the top motivational style of a drill seargent, but a personal attack on individuals, their families and life situations. These were no longer actions meant to drive and create the proper behavior. In the context of a football program it was uncalled for.
Secondly, where is the build up. You've broken a person, a group of men and now you must rebuild them into a cohesive, confident, motivated group. This needs to happen top to bottom, not just at the top. Clearly at times we've found 22 guys on offense and defense motivated to play. It can't be ignored though that special teams and depth have always been an issue. In any team situation you are only as strong as the weakest link.
"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."
Are you truly challenging a kid when you tell him he's going to "become and alcoholic like his father" or "I'll send you back to get shot with your homies." Draw your own conclusions. I'll leave you with one last thought for the day.
"Always do everything you ask of those you command."
- Once again, Patton
You can absolutely COMMAND respect as a division one coach and you are entitled to that from your players and staff. However, when you apparently make no effort to show that in return at any point in time it becomes a problem.
Obviously there are those that have spoken on behalf of the man, some who are pretty well respected. Nick Reid, Jon Cornish, Brandon McAnderson. By the same token not all of those could even completely agree with his methods. Add that to the fact that the list is growing in terms of players coming forward and this thing has gotten ugly.
It's sad to see things come to this but it's hard to believe that it isn't just a matter of time at this point.
This doesn't change a thing for me in terms of my thought regarding Jayhawk football however. I'm a believer in the players we have on the field, I'm a believer in the University as a whole. If this situation end the way it looks as though it might, there is one person who is responsible not an entire program. Rock Chalk and on to Austin.