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Big plea

Mangino urges Roy Williams to stay at Kansas

Posted: Saturday April 12, 2003 6:48 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Football coach Mark Mangino said Saturday he has personally urged Roy Williams to remain at Kansas.

"I publicly want to say I want coach Roy Williams to stay at KU," Mangino told reporters after the Jayhawks ended spring practice with an intrasquad scrimmage.

"He has set a standard of excellence. He has been very supportive of our football program. I've gotten to know him very well," Mangino said.

Williams, whose teams have won more than four out of every five games during his 15-year career at Kansas, is pondering whether to return to North Carolina -- his alma mater -- where he was a 10-year assistant to Dean Smith.

He rejected the Tar Heels three years ago to stay at Kansas, but now faces the same decision following former Kansas assistant Matt Doherty's resignation at North Carolina on April 1.

Mangino was hired in 2001 to replace Terry Allen, a close friend of Williams. Allen's firing with three games left in the 2000 season infuriated Williams and put him at odds with athletic director Al Bohl, who was fired last Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Mangino has often expressed his appreciation for Williams' support and the way the popular basketball coach even lends a hand during football recruiting, visiting extensively with prospects.

"He cares about the success of football here," Mangino said. "He cares about a lot more things than people think. I've had a chance to spend time here with him this week. I told him face-to-face that I want him to stay."

Williams said Thursday that while he had been in discussions with his alma mater he had not been offered the North Carolina job and would not speak to the Tar Heels again until Monday.

"The people of Kansas want him to stay, the student body, the university," Mangino said. "He is a symbol of excellence. I think we all benefit by having Roy Williams here."

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