Iowa State football: Despite issues, big opportunities await Cyclones with Mark Mangino


In the past I have been critical of the idea of Mark Mangino as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator. There are both positives and negatives to hiring anybody with a checkered past, and his hiring is no different.

Nov 30, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Levi Peters (35) hunts the Iowa State Cyclones mascot after the defense held West Virginia Mountaineers scoreless in the third overtime at Milan Puskar Stadium. Iowa State Cyclones defeated West Virginia Mountaineers 52-44 in the third overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Off the field problems led to his release as a head coach at Kansas. Mangino’s players at Kansas were critical of how he conducted himself, and rightly so. Stories of Mangino would argue he was abusive as a coach, and therefore has no place coaching in college football ever again.

Mangino’s body of work speaks for itself, however. He worked under Bill Snyder at Kansas State in the 1990s. He was offensive line coach, and later offensive coordinator for Bob Stoops, helping the Sooners to win a national championship while offensive coordinator in 2000.

None of Mangino’s accomplishments are more impressive than what he did as head coach at Kansas. Anybody who can coach Kansas to an Orange Bowl victory has some idea of how to coach.

Mark Mangino was frankly the best offensive coordinator available. It’s hard to find any coaches nationally who would be a better fit to field a competitive offense in Ames.
Mangino’s past problems off the field may have prevented him from getting a better job, and rightly so.

Part of me is disappointed in this hire. After all, couldn’t Rhoads have hired somebody without a checkered past? Another part of me couldn’t be more excited.

At this point I have some faith that Paul Rhoads hired Mark Mangino in the right way. That he made sure Mangino is a better person now than he was when he left Kansas in 2009.

We’ve all made mistakes. Mangino simply made mistakes that are bigger than most of ours. He is getting a second chance. Perhaps he will even be a positive role model for players who have had off the field issues. If he takes full advantage of this opportunity, Cyclone football will no doubt be changed for the better.