By JAMIE BAKER
The Leipsic Board of Education hired Andy Mangas as the school’s new head football coach Wednesday and he couldn’t be more excited.
Mangas replaces Joe Kirkendall, who transformed a struggling Leipsic football program into a perennial playoff team and Blanchard Valley Conference championship contender.
Kirkdendall’s Leipsic teams won two BVC titles and posted a 52-16 record in six seasons during his time head coach before he moved up the road to his alma mater, Patrick Henry, to replace Bill Inselmann.
The success the Vikings have had in recent years was one of the reasons Mangas decided to apply for the job at Leipsic.
“It’s one of the schools around the area that I was really attracted to. They have big kids, some terrific athletes and I got to coach a few of the kids from Leipsic during an all-star game and I was really impressed with them,” Mangas said.
“Joe (Kirkendall) did a great job of getting things going at Leipsic and we’re focused on keeping that success that they have had going.”
Mangas, a football and wrestling standout at Ayersville before going on to play football and wrestle at the University of Dayton, has a wealth of coaching experience.
He’s had three stints as an assistant coach at Findlay High School from 1996-2002, 2006-08 and 2010-12. He was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator in 2002, 2007, 2011-12 and special teams coordinator from 2006-08.
Mangas also has previous head coaching experience. He was the head football coach at Ridgemont from 2003-05.
“I learned a lot when I was at Ridgemont. We were really trying to get the program going there and it’s a lot different situation than here at Leipsic,” Mangas said.
“I think the biggest thing I learned from that experience was to be more patient. When you are a head coach sometimes you just have to look at things with the bigger picture in mind.”
The Vikings lose all-conference quarterback Zach Kuhlman but have a solid group of athletes returning, particularly on the line. While its the skill players that get the headlines in the newspaper on Saturday mornings in the fall, Mangas knows from experience that solid play on the line is the key to a football team’s success.
“I’m a line guy. I’ve been coaching linemen for 17 years and I love it,” Mangas said. “I’ll still be coaching our linemen.
“I have a lot of friends in the BVC and they’ve always told me Leipsic has some of the toughest, biggest, most physical linemen around and that gets me excited.”
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