Mangino defends his tactics, program

Updated: November 20, 2009, 2:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Kansas coach Mark Mangino defended himself and the Jayhawks' football program on Thursday, speaking on Sports Radio 610 in Kansas City.

Mangino, who is faced with allegations of verbal abuse and inappropriate physical contact against players, pointed to the team's success on the field and high graduation rates.

"We are sending kids out into the world prepared," Mangino told the radio station. "But I can't do the work of some parents, what they should have done before [the players] got to me. Some of these guys are bitter, they are bitter and [the allegations] are about that.

"There are some things that happen for 18 years of their lives that I can't change in four years of college. Can't do it. Can't change their behaviors, can't change their attitudes."

Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins has launched an investigation into Mangino allegedly grabbing, yelling at and putting his finger in the chest of senior linebacker Arist Wright, who had been laughing during a walk-through or practice prior to the Oct. 17 Colorado game, two people briefed on the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad on Tuesday night.

Since then, several former Kansas players come forward with allegations of verbal abuse.

"There are people who want to embarrass the program for their 15 minutes of fame," Mangino told the radio station.

Mangino's team started the season 5-0 but has since lost five straight heading into a game at No. 3 Texas on Saturday. He conceded that he's lost the support of "some people around here."

Mangino will travel to Austin later Friday and coach on Saturday, two people close to the situation said Friday, according to Schad.

Mangino inherited the Kansas program in 2002. Five seasons later, the Jayhawks were 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech. He was named Associated Press Coach of the Year.

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