From Top to Bottom In Two Short Years
Two short years have made a tremendous negative difference for the Kansas Jayhawks. On October 17, 2009, the Jayhawks were enjoying a 5-0 season and had won 25 of their last 31 games. This October Kansas is at the bottom of the Big 12, and has lost 19 of their last 24 games.
Today, Kansas is not just contending with a losing season, they are also battling morale problems. They “are as good a pick as any as the worst team among the six conferences with automatic qualification to the BCS.”
Mark Mangino, who was UK’s coach during their winning streak, was fired at the end of the 2009 season, not only for the streak of losses, but also because there were accusations that he had mistreated players. Turner Gill took over the Jayhawks but he did not inherit a lot of talent with which to work.
The Kansas football program is a perfect example of how fleeting success can be for some football teams. It is very hard to obtain it and it can vanish overnight. After winning the Orange Bowl in the not so distant past, Kansas is playing OU Saturday night and the Sooners are 351/2-point favorites.
The decline of the Jayhawks should be a reminder to players, coaches and schools that once you make it to the top and are having a winning streak, it is certainly not guaranteed to continue. Everyone involved with a winning program should examine what they did to achieve success and make sure that they continue to do those things.
In order to fully understand why the Kansas team went from the heights to the depths in such a short period of time more information is needed. Exactly how serious was Mangino’s mistreatment of players? Did they have several bad recruiting seasons? There had to be several factors that played into a team going down this fast. I think Tramel needed to offer more perspectives of what happened to the Jayhawks. He could have interviewed the current coach, former players, and other people who were knowledgeable about what happened.
I do think, however, that he got his point across that teams must pay attention to what made them successful while they are still winning if they want to maintain their success.