Kansas Jayhawks football coach thinks he’s above, of all things, parking tickets
The most embarrassing part of University of Kansas football coach Mark Mangino’s day might not have been finding himself excluded from a meeting between his players and the school’s athletics director to discuss an investigation into his behavior with the team.
Instead, the Lawrence Journal-World turns up a curious item on Tuesday about Mangino’s propensity to lose his volatile temper at parking attendants on this Midwestern campus. Open records requests by the newspaper in the University of Kansas’ quaint town of Lawrence show that 23 parking tickets were not enough to teach the Kansas football coach that he should find somewhere else besides a loading dock near an athletics facility to park his car.
Moreover, if nearly two-dozen tickets couldn’t teach Mangino a lesson, it did apparently give a guy who gets paid $2.3 million a year coach football the opportunity to remind a beleaguered parking attendant of the coach’s “significance” to the university and how he doesn’t have time to deal with parking tickets like everyone else.
According to a string of documents obtained by the newspaper, Mangino had enjoyed the benefit of having several parking tickets canceled by the university at the request of athletics administrators before things really boiled over on June 11, 2007. On that day, a frustrated Mangino chased down a ticket-writer and blew a gasket over getting another citation for parking in the same spot he had been warned repeatedly about. An inquisitive Mangino asked, “You feel real fucking powerful walking around like a big shot, huh?…Why in the hell else would you be bothering me with this?”
This deplorable scene, which somehow lasted 10 minutes, apparently attracted on-lookers from around campus. The ticket-jockey, who could have understandably responded firmly to this kind of badgering, instead demonstrated a sense of self-restraint lost on Mangino by wishing him a good day once the coach was finished accusing someone else of a power trip with one of his own. This caused Mangino to do some more yelling, as though the pressures of winning in college football were suddenly outweighed by the inconvenience of a parking ticket.
The university’s parking director took the matter up with athletics and academic officials, which drew a denial by Mangino of the parking attendant’s version of the ordeal. Mangino said it was just a “conversation.”
We’ve seen in the past how Mangino conducts conversations. This is the same football coach who apparently went apoplectic at an officiating crew of a high school football in which his son was playing quarterback in 2002. Several other incidents involving Mangino’s short fuse are the thing of legend in Lawrence, but because they’re unconfirmed, they won’t be repeated here.
But what Mangino’s parking ticket problem does seem to confirm is his aversion to accountability. The bigger story on the Kansas football coach on Tuesday was that Lew Perkins, the Kansas athletics director, was talking with players during the course of what the school is calling an investigation into Mangino. The Kansas City Star reports that the school is looking into his treatment of football players.
For Mangino’s part, he thinks none of this would be discussed if his program wasn’t in the midst of a five-game losing skid that dropped a team once thought primed to win a Big 12 North championship to one of college football’s most disappointing teams.
Sure thing, coach. Nobody would call you on your behavior if the team was winning. Just like a menial campus employee wouldn’t do his job and write you a ticket for chronically screwing up your parking job if he wasn’t being “real fucking powerful walking around like a big shot.”
But let’s give Mangino credit where credit is due. Since his parking dust up, he hasn’t gotten another ticket, and he has apparently even been cordial with the school’s parking staff. Wonder if the change in his approach has anything to do with him now having his very own reserved parking space at the school’s football practice facility for more than a year now?