MANNFORD — Dustin Kinard puts a lot of trust in fate. Despite being released as Charles Page High School’s head football coach recently, he put his trust in things working out in his favor.
And they did.
On Monday night, Kinard was approved as Mannford’s new head football coach after spending the last 13 seasons at Sand Springs at the helm for the Sandites.
“I’m a believer in everything happening for a reason,” Kinard said. “Something like this is a big reason why.”
Kinard fills the void left by Richard Tuberville, who stepped down after the Pirates went 3-7 during the 2019 season. But despite the change of scenery, Kinard and his family are able to stay put because of Mannford’s close proximity to Sand Springs.
“Even had I lived not as close as I am, after I interviewed for the job I would have taken it,” Kinard said. “The admin team and leadership at Mannford made it feel right. Even had I lived in Texas, I would have taken the job. The leadership at Mannford just absolutely made it feel right.”
In 13 seasons at Sand Springs, Kinard guided the Sandites to 64-74 mark with seven playoff appearances. In 2015, his Sandite team reached the Class 6AII championship game, which Bixby won 38-28.
Now he’ll have to shift is rival to focus from Sapulpa to Bristow and Cleveland.
“We can’t like either one anymore,” Kinard quipped.
Mannford — a team that’s only made the playoffs once since 2007 — will be a place that Kinard enters and tries to implement success right away.
“It’s all about building good relationships with kids,” Kinard said. “After you build those relationships, the players know how hard you work and they’ll start to be all-in just like you.”