YOUNGSTOWN - Mark Mangino has been out of coaching for the past couple of seasons.
The 56-year-old New Castle, Pa., native was out of coaching since he resigned as the University of Kansas coach on Dec. 3, 2009.
A couple of months later, Mangino and his wife, Mary Jane, moved from Lawrence, Kan., to Naples, Fla.
He waited for the right opportunity to come along. That time came when Youngstown State University coach Eric Wolford called his former assistant coach from Kansas State - Mangino. Wolford asked Mangino if he would join the YSU staff as the team's assistant head coach and tight ends coach. Mangino would be the Penguins recruiting coordinator as well.
"The time was right," Mangino said. "It had to be somewhere where I wanted to go. This is a place where it's near and dear to my heart."
Mangino, who had a 50-48 record from 2002-09 at Kansas and led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl victory, said coming back to the area where he grew up was important. Coming back where his wife is from was equally special.
"When you're in this crazy profession, you're all over the place," Wolford said. "The people that usually suffer is your immediate family. You only got parents for so long. That was a big deal for him."
The biggest deal was coming to YSU to help Wolford. It's a drastic change from his recent home in Naples, Fla., where Mangino has seemed to lose weight from his coaching days at Kansas.
"I remember riding my bike (Thursday)," Mangino said. "The birds were chirping and the sky was blue. Weather doesn't make a difference in my life, people do. That's why I'm here at Youngstown State. I care about the people here. I care about people like Eric and I want to help this program get to the next level."
Mangino is part of a host of new YSU assistant coaches brought in this year.
Former Vanderbilt assistant coach Jamie Bryant, a Fredericktown, Ohio native, is the special teams coordinator and assistant linebackers coach at YSU.
Eric Gallon, a former teammate of Wolford's at Kansas State, is the new YSU running backs coach. Gallon, the Wildcats feature back, was a three-year letter winner and one of Kansas State's most decorated running backs.
Kurt Beathard, the son of former San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard, is the new YSU wide receivers coach. He spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois.
As for Mangino, he was rumored to have been a candidate for the Colorado vacancy.
"The Colorado thing. I got up one day and saw it on the internet like everyone else," Mangino said. "I don't know where it came from. I decided to inquire about it. It really never got any traction."
He also was rumored to be part of Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma. Mangino was on Stoops' staff as offensive coordinator when the Sooners beat Florida State for the BCS National Title in 2000.
"Repeats are not always a great idea," Mangino said. "Look at Joe Gibbs. My name is good in Oklahoma. I figure I'm going to keep it that way."
The same can't be said of his time in Kansas.
According to published reports, Mangino resigned from the Jayhawks because of harsh treatment of his players and some other alleged incidents.
"I've known the guy since 1991," Wolford said. "I know what kind of coach he is. Everything that happened is just allegations. I'm sure he's bound by his contract. The way he left Kansas he's not allowed to elaborate on exactly what took place. It's part of your settlement.
"I wouldn't either. There's always two sides to every story. I would never put our program in any jeopardy."
Mangino, who was national coach of the year in 2007, implemented a "Character First" initiative, which helped his players be better people off the field. He also instituted an advanced cardio screening program and a stringent policy on concussions.
"I'm very proud of my work in Kansas, both on and off the field," Mangino said. "There way more positives than anything with the Kansas situation."
He said he's confident in his coaching style.
"There are plenty people around me and watch me how I coach my teams," Mangino said "I've been very, very fortunate to have success at most places. If you watch my work, your glass is half full. If you've just listed to second-hand information and sources that are not close to me or not follow me closely, than you may have a different opinion."
However, the only opinion that mattered was Mary Jane, who is recovering from breast cancer. They had to consider the change in doctors, the area, but when it came down to it, both of them agreed YSU was the right move.
"My wife is a coach's wife," Mangino said. "She loves it. She loves me. She needs a team desperately to cheer for, she said. It was a no brainer at the end of the day we were coming to Youngstown."