Publication: Lawrence Journal-World
Title: “Ex-player accuses Mangino of mistreatment”
Date of publication: Dec. 2, 2009
By Dugan Arnett
(First place article in 2010 in Associated Press Sports Editors’ “Breaking News” category)
Amid denials from Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino that he has physically and verbally abused players during his eight-year tenure in Lawrence, one former player has provided documentation of mistreatment he says he suffered under the coach.
Cory Kipp, a defensive lineman under Mangino in 2002 and ’03, told the Journal-World this week that he endured significant injuries to his hand as a result of a punishment carried out by the coach — a claim backed up by multiple former players, as well as photos taken shortly after the incident.
“It must have been the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” Kipp said.
Mangino, the subject of an internal university investigation into his treatment of players, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to Kipp, who started all 13 games at nose tackle during the ’03 season, the incident transpired as follows:
At the beginning of an afternoon workout in August of ’03, Mangino told Kipp to see him after practice to undergo punishment for the player’s failure to weigh-in earlier that day.
Kipp figured the punishment would be running “cross-fields” — something he and another former player said was a typical penalty for such an infraction — but was instead told to “bear-crawl” across the AstroTurf field at Memorial Stadium on his hands and feet.
Kipp began the crawl and, after moving several yards, felt a burning sensation in his hands. On multiple occasions, Kipp said, he stopped to complain that the turf was burning his hands — according to a University of Arkansas report, artificial playing surfaces have been documented at up to 199 degrees in temperature — but was ordered by Mangino, who was walking alongside the crawling player, to keep going.
By the time Kipp had finished, the skin near the heel of his right hand had been completely seared, and photos provided to the Journal-World depict blistering and a sizable area of missing skin.
As a result of the injury, Kipp said, he was forced to undergo extensive treatment on his hand by then-head football trainer Carol Jarosky throughout the next three weeks, and although he said at least two members of the coaching staff were aware of the injury, he was told to practice through it.
“It wasn’t like because my hand was burned, I took a couple days off,” Kipp said. “They made me practice.”
Each day for three weeks, he said, Jarosky — who did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment — would treat and wrap the hand before workouts, using multiple layers of padding. But in the days immediately following the injury, Kipp said, he would return to the locker room after practice with the padding soaked through in blood.
Asked to examine the photos for his opinion on the severity of the damage, Birmingham, Ala.-based dermatologist Conway Huang confirmed the injury was either frictional or heat-related.
If heat-related, Huang wrote in an e-mail to the Journal-World, it was consistent with second-degree burns.
Since allegations arose two weeks ago that Mangino had regularly verbally and physically abused players, however, the coach has contended that he has done nothing inappropriate in his running of the program.
During his weekly radio show Nov. 19, for instance, he lashed out at former players and parents who had spoken out against him, insisting their allegations were an attempt at “15 minutes of fame.” Asked following Saturday’s 41-39 season-ending loss to Missouri whether he’d be willing to tone down his approach if implored to do so by university administrators, meanwhile, he responded, “You’re coming with the assumption that it needs toned down. How I coach is how I coach. Ninety-nine percent of the kids here appreciate it.”
Three other players contacted by the Journal-World confirmed the incident, including Sid Bachmann, a defensive tackle on the ’02 and ’03 Kansas teams, and former fullback Austine Nwabuisi.
“The thing was, that day, it was so hot on the field,” Bachmann said. “... We were running cross-fields, and it was so hot that the bottom of my feet were burning. I could feel the bottom of my feet — through my socks and my cleats, they were burning.”
Despite the severity of the incident, Kipp said an apology — or any sign of remorse on the part of Mangino — would have been enough to move on without any hard feelings.
“If he said that he was sorry, and he didn’t realize (the turf) was that hot, then I would have accepted his apology and that would have been that,” Kipp said. “But I never got that.”
What’s more, during a team meeting later that season, Kipp says Mangino brought the incident up in front of coaches and players — a story confirmed by Bachmann.
After pointing out a tackle that Kipp had missed during the previous week’s game, Mangino allegedly threatened to burn the player’s other hand if he ever missed a tackle again.
“I looked at some of the assistant coaches when (Mangino) said that, and they just had their heads down,” Bachmann said. “Our (defensive line) coach had his head down and he was just shaking his head.”
At the urging of his roommate, meanwhile, Kipp took photos of the damage following the incident and strongly considered approaching athletic director Lew Perkins before deciding against it due to fear of retribution — namely, worries over a potential decrease in playing time or the revocation of his scholarship.
Kipp, who now lives in California, said he agreed to speak publicly about his experience after hearing Mangino’s denials of earlier allegations involving his mistreatment of players.
“I’m doing this,” Kipp said, “because I’ve got proof how horrible a coach he is.”
Publication: Lawrence Journal-World
Title: “Meet Baby Mangino: Wichita infant now famous KU fan”
Date of publication: Feb. 22, 2009
By Dugan Arnett
WICHITA — Not long ago, it came to light that Baby Mangino — the rotund infant who recently earned a great deal of national attention for his Halloween costume depicting Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino — did not actually go trick-or-treating as a college football coach.
This was revealed on a Tuesday evening last month, as Baby Mangino was lounging on the carpet of his family’s home, sucking on his fingers. Baby Mangino, who is actually 8-month-old Bode Lubbers, lives at the end of a cul-de-sac in an affluent Wichita neighborhood with his mother, Angie; father, Billy; and five older sisters who sometimes tie his hair into a ponytail. Bode has big, curious eyes, a plop of sandy-colored hair and arms that are simultaneously soft and blocky in nature — like marshmallows stacked on top of each other.
Apparently, being a celebrity baby — like Bode very much is — is kind of like being an ordinary celebrity in the sense that people tend to make assumptions about you and your personal life. And at the moment, Angie was clearing up some common misconceptions about her son’s All Hallows’ Eve exploits.
“Everybody likes to think that Bode went trick-or-treating as Mark Mangino,” she explained. “But five-month-old babies generally don’t go trick-or-treating.”
Transforming your baby into a bite-sized version of Mark Mangino, it turns out, is not an especially difficult task. It requires a miniature KU tracksuit ($24.99, Target), a tube of brown Mary Kay eyeliner ($10, consultant) and approximately five minutes time. Having each of these things handy one evening a couple of weeks before Halloween, Angie — long noticing the resemblance between Bode and Kansas’ Orange Bowl-winning coach — tugged the tracksuit onto her son, penciled on an eyeliner mustache and snapped a photo. Pleased with the outcome (“He gave us his best Mark Mangino look that day,” Angie admits), she drove to Walgreens, had 20 “Happy Halloween” cards printed, sent them to some friends and family members and kind of figured that that would be that.
Instead, the photo was met with quite a bit of fanfare, and before long, it had found its way onto the Internet, where — as is known to happen in these sorts of situations — one person sent it to another person who sent it to another person, until one day, presumably, someone at the sports-media Web site Deadspin.com opened an e-mail, found a mustachioed infant looking back at him, and decided — understandably — that this was something that needed to be shared with the world.
And so it was.
Since then, Baby Mangino has been popping up all over the place. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, hosts of ESPN’s ultra-popular “Pardon the Interruption” program, devoted a portion of a recent show to Baby Mangino, as did MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Bode has been featured on multiple local news channels, meanwhile, and not long ago, he earned the distinct honor of being named Deadspin’s Sports Human of the Year, after winning an online competition pitting him against such household names as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, ESPN personalities Erin Andrews and Chris Berman and the writer/editor Buzz Bissinger.
It would be understandable if Bode’s recent foray into the national limelight resulted in boosted feelings of self-importance, but he has mostly managed to remain level-headed about the whole thing. Yes, he kind of expects his parents to wait on him hand-and-foot, and sometimes, in the occasion that his apple juice is not presented in a timely manner, he can get a little whiny. But otherwise, he is a very easygoing and likable baby. When he smiles up at you, with drool leaking out of his mouth and dribbling down his chins and landing in a pool on his Kansas football T-shirt, it is very difficult to dislike him — even if you are trying to.
When he is not busy impersonating college football coaches or appearing on SportsCenter or winning sports human of the year awards, Bode spends a great deal of his time engaged in normal baby pursuits: eating jars of Gerber baby food, playing in his Johnny Bouncer, being chauffeured about town by his parents. His favorite pastime, however, seems to be challenging the structural integrity of various household items. He does this by picking up an object, looking it over for a moment or two, and then placing it in his mouth, where it is subjected to a lengthy and strenuous gnawing-on.
Stationed on the floor of his family’s living room on a recent Tuesday afternoon, for instance, Baby Mangino feasted upon — at one point or another — a yellow plastic block, an elastic headband, his fingers, a toy race car, a string of his sister’s hair and the rubber nipple on his bottle of apple juice.
“His doctor says he’s a snacker,” Angie explained.
Due largely to these snacking tendencies, Bode’s frame has developed a bit of girth over time. Despite entering the world at a very average 7 pounds, 11 ounces, he is now tipping the scales at a very husky 27 pounds (and growing). As a result, Angie sometimes finds herself surprised at just how robust her only son has become. A few weeks before Christmas, for example, she was shopping at the department store Von Maur when she decided it might be a good idea to pick up a “Baby’s First Christmas” outfit for Bode. She looked and looked, but unable to find an outfit in her son’s size — 18 to 24 months — Angie approached a sales clerk.
“Excuse me,” she said. “I cannot find anything bigger than 12 months.”
“Well, you wouldn’t want a size 18 months,” offered the clerk, “because it wouldn’t be their first Christmas.”
In the case of their youngest child emerging as an Internet sensation, Angie and Billy express feelings of bewilderment, like they are not quite sure, in the aftermath of it all, how the whole thing seemed to happen. But seeing as how it did happen, they have decided that the appropriate next step would be to snap a photo of the Manginos together. Currently, it is unclear if Adult Mangino is aware of Baby Mangino’s existence — or how, exactly, the 2007 national college football coach of the year feels about being immortalized by an 8-month-old infant from Wichita.
This has not managed to dampen the family’s hopes, however.
“We just need somebody to set us up with Coach Mangino,” Angie said.
Right about then, Bode, who was in the process of consuming the head of a toy penguin, emitted an extended burst of flatulence that sounded a little like a machine gun. His older sisters, recently home from school, giggled from across the room, and Angie looked down at her smiling baby, made a funny face and said, cooingly, “You’re gassy!”
She then turned back toward a visitor, smiled and went on to say she hopes a meeting between the two Manginos can be arranged sooner rather than later.
“After all,” she said, wiping a stream of slobber from Bode’s chin, “He’s not going to look like Mark Mangino forever.”
Publication: Charlotte Sun-Herald
Title: “The Dugout: An American Institution”
Date of publication: May 21, 2008
By Dugan Arnett
PORT CHARLOTTE -- At any given moment, the dugout of the Murdock Little League Yankees smells like a mixture of sweat, bubble gum and farts.
It is a cramped space — you can't walk more than a few steps without tripping over a loose helmet or glove or bat — and it is hectic, filled with 11- and 12-year-old boys in plastic cleats, click-clacking their way back and forth, digging in their bags, checking the batting order, trying to find some bubble gum to pack inside their cheeks.
It is loud, the result of an endless stream of chatter emanating toward the field. It is hot and it is rowdy and it is a headache waiting to happen.
It is also, as it happens, the greatest place on earth.
* * *
If you believe the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a dugout is "either of two low shelters on either side of and facing a baseball diamond that contain the players' benches." But if you know anything about anything, you know that the dugout is a lot more than that.
The dugout — specifically, the Little League dugout — is where boys go to become men. It's where they learn everything they need to know about life — about winning and losing and how to chew sunflower seeds and what kind of bubble gum is the best for popping and how best to wear their pants in order to maximize coolness level.
According to the Little League International organization, 2,664,540 kids participated in Little League Baseball in 2006, meaning that 2,664,540 kids spent considerable time inside a dugout, meaning that the Little League dugout might as well be named the official headquarters of the male childhood.
This is why the Sun recently accepted an invitation to spend a week in the dugout of the Murdock Yankees, a team that last week began play in the annual Tri-City Tournament in Charlotte County.
The goal was to find out what, exactly, goes on inside a modern day Little League dugout. To hear the conversations. To experience the excitement.
"Good luck," joked Yankees manager John Raffone, Jr., beforehand. "I can't even stand to sit in the dugout during games."
* * *
Indeed, the Little League dugout is not a place for the weak. It is a chain-linked jungle containing a dozen young boys hopped up on slushies and gummy bears and who knows what else. And as you might expect, things can get pretty rough.
One of the most popular pastimes in the Yankees' dugout, for instance, is playing the "Flinch Game". This consists of fake-punching someone in the face in an effort to make him blink or flinch in some way. If the person flinches, he then — per the rules of the game — receives two real punches in the arm.
The thing about the "Flinch Game" is that it is constantly in progress and everyone is playing, whether they know it or not. Before the start of the team's third-round Tri-City Tournament game Thursday night, Yankees outfielder Aaron Weisiger walked over to a visitor in the dugout.
Without saying a word, Aaron pulled back his fist and proceeded to unload a haymaker upon the unsuspecting victim.
When the visitor ducked his head, narrowly avoiding the blow, Aaron yelled, "You flinched!"
He then punched the visitor in the arm with surprising force.
* * *
When they are not punching each other in the arm or trying to finagle concession stand money from their parents, members of the Yankees spend a lot of their time cheering. Cheering is a vital part of the dugout experience, and as such, a good deal of thought goes into what types of chatter will provide the largest competitive advantage.
Typically, the Murdock Yankees implore a "Let's go, Yank-ees!" battle cry during games, which has served them well throughout the season. Last Thursday night, however, they found themselves matched up against a team with the same name -- the Punta Gorda Yankees. This presented an interesting dilemma, because members of the Murdock Yankees were unsure whether a "Let's go, Yank-ees!" cheer would have a positive effect (providing motivation for their teammates) or an adverse effect (providing motivation for their opponents).
After considerable deliberation, team members decided it would be OK to go ahead with the cheer.
* * *
Usually, a Little League dugout is the happiest place on earth, but on certain occasions — namely, when things aren't going well on the field — things can get a little heated. This usually results in players bickering and trading insults.
Among Yankees players, the insult of choice seems to be "So is your face." It is a utility expression, one that can be used as a viable comeback in just about any circumstance. For instance:
Player 1: “You're an idiot.”
Player 2: "So is your face."
Player 1: “You're sooo annoying; get away from me!”
Player 2: "So is your face."
And so on.
Things never get too tense, however, because every so often one of the players will do something like let loose a whopper of a fart -- pitcher Vince Farruggio seems to be the reigning clubhouse farting champion -- and all of the players will giggle and everything in the world will be right again.
* * *
The sad reality of the Little League dugout is that it is a temporary haven, to be occupied only in two-hour increments a couple evenings a week.
So in the minutes following the Yankees' 8-2 victory over the Punta Gorda Yankees last Thursday, as the mosquitoes swarmed and the moths danced around the light towers, players quietly gathered their belongings from the dugout floor.
They trudged forward and said their goodbyes, making their way out of the dugout and toward the parking lot, where moms and dads and homework and the real world waited.
And before long, the dugout was empty, and all that remained was a few bubble gum wrappers, a smattering of sunflower seeds and the faint smell of fart, hanging softly in the night air.