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Danny Manning, who famously willed the Kansas Jayhawks to the 1988 national championship against the Oklahoma Sooners, has officially thrown his name into the mix for the Kansas athletic director job after Jeff Long was fired for the Les Miles debacle.
But would Manning even be qualified for the position? The Jayhawks legend went 116-140 as a coach at Tulsa and Wake Forest before being fired in 2020. If he has managerial experience with an athletic department, it sure doesn’t show up on his Wiki page.
There are also the NCAA investigations that took place after Manning left school in 1988. Kansas was hit with three years of probation starting in 1989 after an investigation revealed Danny had been taking a few dollars from a booster, making the Jayhawks the first NCAA basketball champions not allowed to defend their title. According to a 1988 Sports Illustrated story, the Jayhawks program “nearly got the so-called death penalty, meaning their basketball program would have been shut down.”
Danny Manning tells me he is interested in becoming the next athletic director at Kansas.
— CJ Moore (@CJMooreHoops) March 10, 2021
Let’s also not forget how Manning ended up at Kansas in the first place. Long story short, Larry Brown hired Ed Manning, Danny’s father, to be his assistant after the elder Manning had spent the previous four years of his life as a long-haul truck driver. Ed Manning had a basketball relationship with Brown that dated back to Ed’s days in the ABA where Larry was his coach.
One thing led to another, and Ed Manning was moving his family from North Carolina to Kansas to become Brown’s assistant. Meanwhile, Danny was about to become a senior in high school who was trying to decide between North Carolina and Kansas.
That’s right, Larry Brown hired Danny’s dad off the streets as a truck driver, landed the son, boosters were caught giving Danny money, and Kansas wins a national title only to go on probation. Larry and Ed take off for the NBA. So does Danny. And the Jayhawks go 19-12 a year later and stay home for March Madness.
KU hasn’t missed the Tournament since.
Would Danny be the best hire for Kansas? It’s now up to the school’s administration to decide how much administration experience Danny has.