2019-08-21 sp-emigblog Mangino

As Oklahoma assistant coaches, Brent Venables (left), Cale Gundy (center) and Mark Mangino helped turn around the Sooners’ program. Tulsa World file

You think Bob Stoops’ first Oklahoma staff lived glamorously 20 years ago? Listen to this story from Mark Mangino, the ’99 offensive line coach...

“It was kind of funny. All of us coaches lived in the Residence Inn when we first got there. Then when that initial recruiting period was over they said, ‘You guys gotta go find your own places.’ A bunch of coaches bought houses. I couldn’t buy a house. I couldn’t afford it. I still had a house in Manhattan. When everybody moved into their homes, I slept in my own office.

“A student secretary told me, ‘Coach, you looking for a place to sleep?’ I thought she had a room somewhere. Nope. She said, ‘Coach if you’re gonna sleep in your office, don’t sleep on the floor. We’re throwing out our couch at the sorority house.’ They had bought a new couch. She said, ‘Want me to have the guys bring it over for ya?’

“We moved that dirty old couch into my office. Every time I jumped on that thing to go to sleep at 11 or 12 o’clock at night, dust would fly up in the air. Bob and all the coaches would come in and say, ‘Hey I really like that couch you got there, Coach.’ Bob would come in and sit on it to talk to me. It became a conversation piece.

“I slept on it until finally I said I need a place that I can get some rest. The cleaning lady would knock on the door every morning at 5:30. She was the best. She said, ‘Coach I gotta clean this room no matter what.’ I said, ‘OK, fine. Just don’t run the vacuum. I’ll get into the closet later in the day and I’ll vacuum my own office.’

“She insisted she had to clean everything else. Every morning she’d come in and say, ‘Hey, Coach, how ya doin?’ I’d tell her, ‘Just come in.’ I’m sleeping on the couch with a blanket over me. She’s telling me all her problems and I’m trying to sleep. What are you gonna do?

“Finally before two-a-days started I moved into an apartment complex across the railroad tracks (east of campus). All I had in that apartment were a TV, a mattress and a couple cups and dishes...”


INTERLUDE: Initially, Mangino’s wife and kids stayed in Manhattan, where Mangino had been recruiting coordinator on Bill Snyder’s Kansas State staff, after Mangino accepted Stoops’ offer to join the Sooners. His daughter, Samantha, was a junior at Manhattan High School at the time, and the family didn’t want to uproot her before she graduated. Thus the makeshift living arrangement. Now back to the coach...


“...So yeah, I slept in my office there in the Switzer Center. One time, three or four o’clock in the morning, I heard noise out in the trophy area. People had picked the lock I guess, OU fans that were visiting from out of town. They got in the building and were looking at all the Heismans and Outland Trophies. I went out there in my shorts and t-shirt saying, ‘Whaddya doing here?’

“‘Coach, we’re just looking around... Hey, can you sign this hat for me?’ (laughter) ‘Yeah sure, don’t let the door hit you in the butt.’ It was kind of wild.”

(As for the couch?)

“Oh, we threw it out. Everybody felt bad. I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t need it anymore and it really doesn’t look that good for recruiting.’

“You know what, it was all good. You know what they say in life. ‘You gotta do what you gotta do.’ Most people have to earn their way.”

The ’99 Sooners, coaches and players, earned theirs certainly.

Guerin Emig



Twitter: @GuerinEmig



Sports Columnist

Proud father of Gretchen and Holden. Devoted husband to Christy, who has been my best friend since biology class at Booker T. Washington. I covered the Oklahoma Sooners for 15 years. That was both challenging and rewarding. Now I get to write columns.