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July 1, 2008

Mangino has earned job security at Kansas

Rivals.com has learned that Kansas coach Mark Mangino soon will receive a contract extension. Terms aren't available.

Mangino signed a five-year extension before the 2006 season that pays him about $1.5 million per year in guaranteed money and runs through 2010. Broken down, the deal features a base salary of $220,000 and another $1.28 million for "professional services," including radio/TV, endorsements, etc. Expect the new deal to push Mangino into the upper-third of Big 12 coaching salaries.

As it stands now, it's thought six Big 12 coaches make more than Mangino: Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (about $3.5 million annually), Texas' Mack Brown ($2.9), Missouri's Gary Pinkel (1.85), Texas A&M's Mike Sherman ($1.8), Baylor's Art Briles ($1.8) and Texas Tech's Mike Leach ($1.75).

Mangino, who arrived in Lawrence in 2002, last season led the Jayhawks to a 12-1 record that included an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech and No. 7 final ranking. It was Kansas' first 12-win season and its first Orange Bowl appearance since 1969, thanks to an offense that ranked eighth in the nation and a defense that ranked 12th.

Late last season, KU ascended to No. 2 in the nation before falling to Missouri in the final regular-season game and finishing 7-1 in league play. Before 2007, the Jayhawks never had finished in the upper half of the Big 12 North and KU's best Big 12 mark had been 3-5.

Kansas is in midst of an overhaul of its facilities that includes a new multimillion-dollar training complex and practice field. With 15 starters back, the Jayhawks figure to be ranked in most preseason polls and are looking to play in back-to-back bowls for the first time in school history.

MY SUMMER VACATION

Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen just got back from Mexico. He wasn't on vacation; instead, he was teaching football to a college team in Monterrey.

"I was surprised at how well they play," Christensen said. "They are well-organized."

There is a passion for American-style football in Mexico. In 1994, an exhibition between the Cowboys and Oilers drew a crowd of 112,376 at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. In 2005, the Cardinals and 49ers played the first NFL regular-season game at the same stadium, drawing 103,467.

They have been playing college football in Mexico since the early 1920s. Today, several schools compete in the National Student Organization of American Football. To locales, it's the ONEFA: Organizacion Nacional Estudiantil de Futbol Americano , Mexico's version of the NCAA that was founded in 1978.

Christensen visited UANL ( Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon ; in English, it's Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon), a public school in the Monterrey suburbs. He was invited by coach Pedro Morales, and it was all about spreading the gridiron gospel.

It's not uncommon for Mexican coaches to visit U.S. college campuses to glean knowledge, but few U.S. coaches travel south of the border to offer instruction.

"Oh, they are into it," Christensen said.

It's easy to see why any team would want to pick the brain of Christensen, who is one of the hottest names and brightest minds in the game. Missouri's offense ranked No. 5 in the nation last season, averaging 490.3 yards during a 12-2 season that saw the Tigers on the precipice of playing for the national title before losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

"The players down there obviously aren't of that level. But they hold their own," says Christensen, who recently visited with Bowling Green to share ideas with Falcons coach Gregg Brandon.

Morales had watched instructional videos of Christensen's version of the spread offense. He also had seen highlights of Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel picking apart defenses en route to being a Heisman finalist. The coach developed a relationship with Christensen in recent years, finally coaxing him to visit Mexico to teach him and his players the finer points of the offense.

"We got over a communication barrier," says Christensen, who says Morales is a former doctor in the area. "They probably had one or two guys who could play I-A football."

A few players born in Mexico have dotted NFL rosters over the years, but most have been kickers, such as Raul Allegre, Efren Herrera and Max and Tony Zendejas.

The Aztec Bowl has been a season-ending staple to the Mexican college football season since it first was played in 1947. Since '97, the game has pitted NCAA Division III all-stars vs. Mexican all-stars. In that time, the Mexican team has won once, 34-31 in 2003.

So, had the players at UANL heard of Missouri, which figures to be ranked in the top five or 10 in preseason polls?

"Oh, yes, they have," Christensen said. "They watch football on TV down there."

KEEP AN EYE ON GILBRIDE

It's no secret the heat is on Syracuse's Greg Robinson. In fact, Orange A.D. Daryl Gross has said as much, stating the program needs to make progress or a change will be made.

Kevin Gilbride could be a guy who emerges as a candidate. He showed again last season that he still is a top-notch coach, coordinating the New York Giants' offense. The Giants scored 373 points in 2007, the fifth-most in franchise history. And Gilbride has played a huge role in the development of quarterback Eli Manning.

Word is Gilbride would like to coach in college especially in the Northeast (he's a native of Connecticut). Gilbride hasn't worked in the college ranks since a two-year stint in 1987-88 as an offensive assistant at East Carolina. He gained fame by coordinating one of the NFL's most prolific attacks with the Houston Oilers from 1990-93. Gilbride also was head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 1997-98.

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com.



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