Mangino hire brings buzz to ISU program

Rhoads gets offensive coordinator at the top of his wish list

Published: January 6 2014 | 9:06 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:43 am in
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 AMES — The buzz that Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads created with his offensive coordinator hire finally wound its way to his pocket.

Rhoads announced Monday that former Kansas head coach and renowned offensive mind Mark Mangino will fill that position on his staff and is expected to overcome weather-based travel woes to hit campus by Wednesday.

So there’s your “splash” hire to replace the fired Courtney Messingham — and Rhoads’ cell phone responded.

“If you couldn’t hear my phone vibrating as we’re talking, yeah, there’s a lot of folks that are very excited about it and for good reason,” Rhoads said.

Mangino’s resume bursts with firsts and bests, along with some baggage.

He was on Bill Snyder’s staff at Kansas State and helped orchestrate a remarkable turnaround.

“A masterpiece,” Rhoads said of the Snyder-led revival.

Mangino coordinated Oklahoma’s offense during its national championship season of 2000. He earned the Frank Broyles Award that recognizes the nation’s top assistant in the process.

“Any time you’re calling plays for a national championship team, you’ve got something about you,” Rhoads said.

In eight seasons as the Jayhawks’ head coach, Mangino produced three bowl wins — including a 2008 Orange Bowl upset of fifth-ranked Virginia Tech.

“He did things at Kansas that haven’t been duplicated since and had never been done before,” Rhoads said.

Mangino’s tenure in Lawrence ended amid controversy in late 2009, however, as some players alleged he had been verbally abusive at times.

Rhoads said he used “due diligence” to investigate the claims of Mangino’s accusers.

“As I speak of recruiting being very important, the thing always at the top of my list is somebody that cares about the welfare and well-being of our student-athletes,” Rhoads said. “There wasn’t a player, a coach, a colleague that I talked to that had anything negative to say about Mark in that regard and how he was going to carry his integrity and the character of our program forward.”

Mangino will try to reinvigorate an ISU offense that produced 24.8 and 24.5 points per game, respectively, in two seasons under Messingham.

In 2007 alone, Mangino coached Kansas to 42.8 points per game.

The 2000 title-winning offense for the Sooners averaged 39 points.

“He knows how to run it,” Rhoads said of Mangino, who was at the top of his wish list. “He knows how to pass it. He knows how to take advantage of the personnel he has in place. He shares my philosophy in regard to running the football — that it is going to remain a mantra of what we do. At the same time, there are no percentages placed on 50-50, or 60-40, or whatever needs to be done to win football games. He gets that.”

Rhoads said Mangino, who coached at Youngstown State last season, also gets that explosive offensive football can spring from simplicity — a straightforward approach.

“We can make the game more complicated than it needs to be and his offense executed with efficiency and ease,” Rhoads said.

Rhoads also announced he’s filled his vacant running back coach position.

Louis Ayeni, Toledo’s associate head coach and run game coordinator the past three seasons, will join the staff in that capacity.

“Lou is really hungry, really aggressive and that personality won me over,” Rhoads said.

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