Whether or not you like Turner Gill as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, it's hard not to like him as a person. And that character, integrity and love for his players came through even after a contest where Kansas lost the last possible Border War rivalry game to the Missouri Tigers -- maybe the last of his KU coaching career.
Rumors are swirling that Gill may not last through the weekend and certainly not through more than two years of his five-year deal. Yet according to the Washington Post, Gill's focus was on more relational matters than his job status.
"Gill said Saturday night that he was proud of how much heart his players showed against the Tigers, and that he believes the team has made progress since he took over for the fired Mark Mangino, even if that hasn’t always showed up in the team’s record.
'They’ve always shown that through the season, they never quit,' Gill said. 'I told them I loved them. I tried to acknowledge every one of them, especially the seniors.'"
It's that last line that might leave Gill in good standing with KU fans long after he's gone from the sidelines. If anything, Gill has been a hire for the heart of the team -- showing that coaching is not just on the field but off of it. Of course, most are only interesting in the product on the field in terms of wins and losses. But despite the failure to produce any real fruit in those categories, there's no denying the impact he's made in other ways.