Mangino to face old team, looking for first win over KU at Iowa State


Jenna Reeves/ Iowa State Daily

Offensive Coordinator Mark Mangino poses at football media day.

Ryan Young

ISU offensive coordinator Mark Mangino has been around the game for a long time.

Starting his career at Youngstown State in 1985, Mangino worked his way up fast. Over the past several decades, he has coached at Kansas State, Oklahoma and Kansas, just to name a few.

But when he plays against former schools, like he will Saturday when the Cyclones host the Kansas Jayhawks in their Big 12 opener, it doesn’t mean as much to him as it used to.

“I’ve been coaching against friends of mine for a long, long time,” Mangino said. “When you’re in the same conference for over 20 years like I [am], you are going to run into people that you’ve coached with or have coached for you. This is not a new experience for me.”

But it was perhaps his time at Kansas that stands out the most on Mangino’s long résumé. Mangino took over as the head coach of the Jayhawks in 2002, and it looked like he had his work cut out for him.

Prior to Mangino’s arrival, Kansas was the victim of six consecutive losing seasons. Even in his first year at the helm, the team only won two games. But Mangino stuck with it, and, by 2007, the Jayhawks had done something that the program hadn’t accomplished in a long time.

Kansas won 11 games in a row that year and climbed as high as No. 2 in the polls. They even upset the then-fifth-ranked Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Mangino’s leadership paid off, and he was pummeled with coaching honors after the 2007 season. In fact, he was given 14 different national coach-of-the-year awards, including recognition from the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association and ESPN.

After leaving Kansas in 2009, Mangino took a short leave of absence from the game. But, in 2014, ISU coach Paul Rhoads was able to add the award-winning coach to his staff.

“He has an imaginative offensive mind and an ability to play to his players’ strengths. [He has] a track record of winning and a tremendous familiarity with the Big 12 Conference,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads in March 2014 when he first hired Mangino.

“In terms of calling plays and executing a game plan, he is top shelf … and is respected throughout the coaching ranks.”

And already, Mangino has made an immediate impact. He helped the Cyclones to rank in the nation’s top 50 in passing yards, throwing for nearly 3,000 yards last season.

Iowa State also racked up over 500 yards of offense on two occasions and combined for 82 points in back-to-back games in 2014, the first time since 2008.

But Mangino has yet to beat his former team while at Iowa State. Last season, the Cyclones fell to Kansas 34-14.

The Cyclones have put that game in the back of their minds and are just focused on starting out conference play 1-0 — something they haven’t done since 2002.

“Kansas is a good team, I’m not going to try to knock them or anything,” said running back Mike Warren. “It’s going to be a tough game. They’re going to give us a battle, because they want to win too.”

This season, Kansas is under new management. Head coach David Beaty is in his first year at the helm for the Jayhawks and is trying to keep them afloat after an 0-3 start.

Beaty isn’t an unfamiliar face to ISU coach Paul Rhoads and his staff though. Back in 2009, Beaty actually appled for a job as a wide receivers coach at Iowa State. And while he didn’t get the job, Rhoads said that he is still very impressed with what Beaty has done so far.

“You could tell that he was a guy that was going to get along extremely well with his players,” Rhoads said. “[Beaty] had an abundance of knowledge when it came to receivers and the offensive side of the ball.”

But this year, the Jayhawks have had their share of trouble. Kansas is winless and is second to last among Power Five teams in total defense. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Kansas has a 9.9 percent chance to win Saturday, which is its best win percentage among the remaining games on its schedule.

But even though the Cyclones are a near 16-point favorite, they say they can’t afford to overlook Kansas. And even if things don’t go Kansas’ way at times, Mangino knows that they can’t afford to let up.

“They have a system, and they have a philosophy, and they’re going to stick with it,” Mangino said. “You can see that there are some times that you think they should make a play, and they don’t, but there’s no panic. You can see where they’re trying to build something. They’re trying to lay a foundation, and there doesn’t seem to be any panic.”