If you are new to college football within the last decade, you may find it difficult to comprehend that there once was a season that saw the Kansas Jayhawks play in, and win, the Orange Bowl. Yes, a decade before the crowning achievement for a season was simply beating Texas on the football field, the Jayhawks had a memorable season that fell shy of winning the Big 12 but saw Kansas make a run for a shot at a national championship. The year was 2007, and this year the school will honor that memorable season for Kansas fans. They’ll also invite back the coach that was on the sidelines at the time, despite his removal as head coach years later amid some controversy.
Mark Mangino will be invited to return to Lawrence, Kansas this season for the school’s season opener against Southeast Missouri State. Mangino and the 2007 team, as well as former Jayhawks Aqib Talib and Anthony Collins, have been invited for a Hall of Fame ceremony. In 2007, Kansas went 12-1, with the lone loss coming against border rival Missouri (the Tigers went on to play for the Big 12 championship as a result of the head-to-head win).
Given how Mangino and Kansas parted ways in 2009, Mangino took some time to consider whether or not he should accept an invitation from the school to return for the Hall of Fame ceremony.
“It just came out of the blue and when they called, it caught me off guard. It was hard for me to say no when your players are going to be honored,” Mangino said to Lawrence Journal-World. “I wanted to be there for them. I think it’s the right thing to do.”
From a coaching perspective, the relationship with players can be an everlasting one. The 2007 season was a special year for both Mangino and his players, so wanting to be there to celebrate the success of the 2007 season has to be difficult to turn down.
Mangino most recently coached as an offensive coordinator at Iowa State in 2014 and 2015.
After dropping to 2-5, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads may be in the final weeks as head coach of the Cyclones. At 31-51 in his seventh season on the job, the time may soon be coming for Iowa State to consider some drastic changes with its program, but for now Rhoads is making changes he feels are necessary to improve Iowa State now. Today that mean cutting ties with offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.
Iowa State and Rhoads made the decision official today by announcing Mangino has been let go as the team’s offensive coordinator. Passing game coordinator Todd Sturdy will take over the role of offensive coordinator for the rest of the season. A lack of cohesiveness between head coach and offensive coordinator appeared to be the tipping point.
“Mark and I couldn’t get on the same page on a few important items,” Rhoads said, per SI.com. “We tried to talk that through again this morning in an effort to get us moving in a different direction. In the end, Mark was not interested in that. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I respect and understand his conviction.”
Iowa State owns the 48th best total offense in the nation, which is not so bad. The Cyclones have stalled inside the red zone though with a scoring percentage of just 75 percent once entering the 20-yard line. That ranks 111th in the nation, with 21 scores on 28 red zone trips. Iowa State has scored just 16 touchdowns on this trips, a touchdown success rate of just 57.14 percent (86th in the nation). Iowa State’s struggles on offense are pretty clear, but there is much more holding Iowa State back from developing a winning reputation.
History alone suggests winning at Iowa State does not come easily, and because of that the bar for success for Iowa State and Rhoads has never really been all that high. However, Iowa State is two losses away from being ineligible for postseason play for a third straight season. Rhoads is absolutely a coach that can keep a good relationship with his players, and that counts for something. The question is whether or not Iowa State would be better off with a different head coach.
Iowa State will make another change with the offense as well. Joel Lanning will be the team’s new starting quarterback starting this week against Texas. Lanning replaces Sam Richardson, who had completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,420 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. In six appearances this season, Lanning has completed 65.5 percent of his pass attempts for 264 yards and four touchdowns while backing up Richardson.
It may have only been a matter of time before Mark Mangino returned to a big time college football sideline. A new year brings a new opportunity for the former Kansas head coach. Mangino has been named the new offensive coordinator at Iowa State. Mangino was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator for Youngstown State last season. The release by Iowa State lauds Mangino for his offensive wizardry at multiple schools.
“I am beyond thrilled to welcome Coach Mangino to the Cyclone football family,” Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said in a statement released by the university Monday afternoon. “He has an imaginative offensive mind, an ability to play to his players’ strengths, a track record of winning and a tremendous familiarity with the Big 12 Conference. In terms of calling plays and executing a game plan, he is top shelf. He has learned from a ‘Who’s Who’ of college coaches, effectively led his own championship program and is respected throughout the coaching ranks.”
Mangino was the head coach at Kansas from 2002 through 2009, building a record of 50-48 and leading Kansas to three bowl wins over that span. Mangino led Kansas to a top ten finish in the AP poll in 2007, climbing as high as second in the polls. It was offense that was the key to the turnaround at Kansas under Mangino, but the program lost momentum toward the end of his career, and he left the program under controversy with allegations of misconduct and various levels of abuse directed at players. Mangino negotiated a resignation from his job as head coach in December 2009.
Mangino will be tasked with turning around Iowa State’s offense. In 2013 the Cyclones ranked 8th in total offense, 9th in scoring, 8th in rushing offense and 7th in passing offense within the 10-member Big 12. Iowa State had 22 turnovers on offense this past season, but Mangino will have one of the Big 12’s top red zone offenses. Iowa State led the Big 12 in red zone scoring percentage, ending 39 red zone trips with 35 scores, including 24 touchdowns. the flip side to that is Iowa State made the second fewest trips to the red zone in 2013 with just Kansas having fewer red zone opportunities.