Big 12 lunch links: Mitchell's death touches OU, Kansas

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Oklahoma quarterback and Kansas coach Jack Mitchell was one of the pivotal figures in the athletic programs in the history of both schools.

Mitchell was the first All-American quarterback at Oklahoma in 1948 under Bud Wilkinson. He still holds the NCAA career record for punt return average more than 60 years after he stopped playing.

He then went on to a successful coaching career at the University of Wichita (now Wichita State), Arkansas and Kansas. Only Glen Mason coached the Jayhawks longer than Mitchell's nine-season tenure there.

Mitchell's death Sunday at the age of 85 in Sun City, Ariz., sparked several interesting stories that provided much context to his rich life. The Lawrence Journal-World's Dugan Arnett delves into his coaching career at Kansas, where he attracted Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and John Hadl.

The Topeka Capital-Journal's Kevin Haskin detailed some of Mitchell's endearing qualities as a player, coach and businessman. And the Oklahoman's Berry Tramel provides a look at his memorable playing career at Oklahoma and why he might have been the ultimate dashing Sooner quarterback.

Good stories indeed. They don't make 'em like Mitchell anymore.

Here are some other missives from across the conference this afternoon.

  • Native son Mike Leach returned to Cody, Wyo., over the holiday weekend to introduce his family to his old stomping grounds, Richard Reeder of the Cody Enterprise reports.

  • Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul plans to enter a plea Tuesday in connection with his DUI stop on April 12, attorney Eric Whitney told Lori Pilger of the Lincoln Journal-Star.

  • Former Texas wide receiver Sloan Thomas is helping UTSA build its football program from the ground up, Austin American-Statesman columnist Cedric Golden writes.

  • The Boulder Daily Camera's Kyle Ringo analyzes the major questions facing Colorado before the start of preseason practice. And he also answers questions about Tyler Hansen's recovery, Josh Smith's transfer and other topics in his weekly chat.

  • Dave Matter details the win-loss records of Big 12 coordinators and provides his plan for a playoff incorporating the current bowl structure in his "Case of the Mondays" blog.

  • Nebraska offensive line coach Barney Cotton told Lane Grindle of Nebraska Sports Nightly on Monday that the Cornhuskers still plan to use Jacob Hickman at both center and guard when they begin preseason drills on Aug. 8, Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star reports.