Jayhawks To Host Tulsa in Season-Opener
Aug. 31, 2004
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas (0-0) opens the 2004 football campaign on Sept. 4 when the Jayhawks host Tulsa (0-0) in the season-opener for both teams. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. in KU’s Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks have won four of their last five home-openers since the 1999 season and are going for their fourth consecutive win over the Golden Hurricane. Both Tulsa and Kansas took tremendous strides last year towards rebuilding their respective football programs. Tulsa showed an NCAA-best seven-game improvement (from 1-11 in 2002 to 8-5 in 2003) during the 2003 season and finished the year by facing Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks participated in the team’s first bowl game (2003 Tangerine Bowl) and posted the program’s most wins (6) since the 1995 season.
KU head coach Mark Mangino (8-17, .320), who was a driving force in the successful turn-around of two Big 12 Conference football programs prior to his arrival in Lawrence, is in his third season as head football coach at the University of Kansas. Last year, Mangino led the Jayhawks to their first bowl appearance since 1995 when the team faced North Carolina State in the Mazda Tangerine Bowl. Behind a solid work ethic and attention to detail, Mangino’s plan to resurrect the Kansas football team is beginning to pay dividends.
His eye for talent has shone brightly as each of the last two Big 12 Offensive Newcomers of the Year have been represented by Jayhawk football players — quarterback Bill Whittemore in 2002 and center Joe Vaughn in 2003.
Tulsa is coached by Steve Kragthorpe (8-5, .615), who recently completed his first year as the team’s head coach. Kragthorpe, the 2003 WAC Coach of the Year, led the Golden Hurricane to eight wins during his first season at Tulsa — the most wins by Tulsa since 1991. After his outstanding season, Kragthorpe was mentioned for several Coach of the Year awards, including the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award (finalist) and the Eddie Robinson Award (semifinalist). Kragthorpe worked a pair of seasons (2001-02) with the Buffalo Bills and four seasons (1997-00) at Texas A&M before accepting the head coaching position at Tulsa.