2007. That's the year that likely comes to mind when you see or hear the name Mark Mangino.
The former Kansas coach put together a magical season in 2007, leading the Jayhawks to a 12-1 season (arguably the best in program history) that included a trip to the Orange Bowl where they knocked off #5 ranked Virginia Tech. They ended the season ranked among the top 10, and after years of disappointment since, that '07 seems has to sometimes feel like a fairy tale Kansas diehards made up to get their kids to go to sleep at night.
After a 5-7 finish in 2009, Kansas decided to part ways with Mangino, and after being away from the sidelines for a few seasons he was he was back in college football as the assistant head coach and tight ends coach at Youngstown State in 2013. For the 2014 and 2015 seasons Mangino was back in the Big 12 for a brief stint back as the offensive coordinator / tight ends coach at Iowa State under Paul Rhoads.
While he hasn't coached since 2015, Mangino is 64 years old and shared on the Life of Fitz podcast recently that he's had opportunities to return to coaching, but hasn't "clamped down" on the bait.
He goes on to share that while he's not out actively looking for a coaching job, if the right opportunity presented itself, he'd be all for a return to the sideline.
"I’m not out looking for a coaching job. I am not. But if something fell in my lap or somebody called me and I thought it was a good opportunity, I would seriously consider it. I still have a lot of energy, I have a lot of enthusiasm, I go visit college, NFL teams all the time, I go help high school teams insert offenses and defenses, things like that. I’m in tune with the game. I know what the game is all about."
“Am I gonna send out resumes? No. If somebody called me and said, ‘Mark, we think that this might be a job that fits you and this is what we’re willing to do.’ Now, I’m not talking about a top 20 job, no. But, ‘a program that fits you and this is what we can do to help get better and everything,’ I’d consider it. I’d consider it.”
Reflecting back on his two years at Iowa State calling the offense, Mangino admits it wasn't the right job for him at the time and he puts the blame for that on himself.
"From the day I got there I was totally uncomfortable. I was constantly worried about, ‘Are we getting enough time to do this? Are we emphasizing the right things? Blah, blah, blah. That went on for quite a while. I worked hard, because I know no other way to do it. I coached the kids up, but I was miscast at Iowa State.
"I made the decision to go there so I don’t point the finger at anybody but myself.”
The Cyclones went 2-10 and then 3-9 with Mangino calling the offense, never ranking higher than 93rd nationally in points per game.
Before taking over the Jayhawks, Mangino had coordinated the run game at Kansas State before later becoming the offensive line coach for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. After Mike Leach left to become the head coach at Texas Tech, Mangino was promoted to offensive coordinator, helping to lead the Sooners to the national title in 2000. After that season, Mangino won the Frank Broyles Award as college football's top assistant coach. He'd stay with Stoops for one more season before taking over at Kansas from 2002-09.
Since his departure from Lawrence, Kansas has cycled through Tuner Gill (5-19 in two seasons), Charlie Weiss (6-22 in two seasons and some change), David Beaty (6-42 in four seasons), and Les Miles (3-18 in two seasons).
That really helps to put in perspective how impressive his success with the program was, and what Lance Leipold is now facing as he takes on one of the most significant rebuilds in college football.
Listen to the full podcast below.