LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Glen Mason, football coach at Kent State the past two years, today was named head coach at Kansas, replacing Bob Valesente who was fired last month.
Mason, who apparently was turned down in his bid for the vacant coaching job at Ohio State, signed a five-year contract with Kansas worth $78,000 a year.
'The No. 1 change is going to be what I call attitude,' he said 'I tell my players all the time: 'Don't worry about winning.'
'I've always been amazed how individual players try to control winning. What I want them to worry about is individual improvement. As long as they improve, winning will take care of itself.'
Mason, 37, and Buffalo Bills assistant Ted Tollner were the top candidates for the position. Mason becomes the youngest coach in the Big Eight Conference.
'A factor that impressed us greatly was Glen's commitment to the welfare of the student athlete,' said Athletic Director Bob Frederick. 'He is a described in the football community as the best young football coach in America.'
Frederick fired Valesente Nov. 23 after just two seasons. Valesente was 4-17-1 in those two years, 1-9-1 this past season.
Mason was one of four people considered for the job at Kansas after negotiations with fired Ohio State coach Earle Bruce broke down. Others considered at that time were Tollner, former KU assistant John Hadl and Appalachian State coach Sparky Woods.
Last year, Kent State was picked to place last among the nine teams in the Mid-America Conference, but instead, tied for second place with a 5-3 conference record and a 5-6 overall mark. Mason was named the conference's Coach of the Year.
This year, the team also was 5-3 in conference, and was in a three-way tie for second in the conference. The Flashes were 7-4 overall, Kent State's best record since 1976, when they were 8-4 under coach Dennis Fitzgerald.
Kent State beat Kansas 31-17 Sept. 19.
Mason accepted the Kent State job in the spring of 1986 after Dick Scesniak died of a heart attack April 1, 1986, shortly after spring practice began.
Mason was a linebacker at Ohio State. He was expected to start in 1971, his senior year, but broke an ankle the week before the season opener. He graduated in 1972 with degree in education.
He served as a graduate assistant at Ball State in 1972; as offensive line coach and defensive coordinator at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., in 1973; as defensive line coach at Ball State in 1974; as offensive line coach at Iowa State under Bruce in 1975 and 1976; as offensive line coach at the University of Illinois in 1977; and joined the OSU coaching staff in 1978 and became offensive coordinator in 1980.