For Delaware Valley College football coach, G.A. Mangus, the initials G.A. stand for George Alford. But Bill Manlove, the former Widener coach who served as defensive coordinator under Mangus, has his own interpretation.
“I don’t know if the G stands for Genius, but I know the A in G.A. is for amazing,” Manlove told Drew Markol of the Doylestown Intelligencier. “He talked about how this team was going to win when we weren’t and he’s backed it up.”
In just three seasons, Mangus has turned around a once-forlorn football program, transforming a team that did not have a winning season in 18 years — and went through five head coaches in that time — into the 2004 Middle Atlantic Conference champions. He is the Maxwell Club’s choice for the 7th annual Tri-State Coach of the Year Award.
In the 2004 season, Mangus led the Rams to a 10-0 regular season record and earned the school’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. In the post-season, Delaware Valley won two more games before falling to Rowan in the quarterfinals. The 12 victories in a single season was a school record and it would have seemed impossible just a few years ago.
When Mangus accepted the job at Delaware Valley, he said the program was “like intramural football. (Players) were out here so they could tell the girls, ‘Hey, I’m on the football team.'” He spent the first year, in his words, “weeding out” those players and identifying the ones who were willing to pay the price to win. He inherited 86 players and by the end of the 2002 season, only 44 remained.
Mangus and his coaching staff brought in more than 100 freshmen for the 2003 season and he began shaping his team. Mangus played quarterback for Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant there. He set high standards and expected his players to meet them. In 2003, the Rams won nine games and lost only two, finishing just one game out of first place in the MAC. In 2004, Mangus’ team took the next step, winning the title, earning him the nickname “The Magic Man.”
“We’ve got two classes that we’ve recuited here now,” Mangus told Ed Kracz of the Intelligencer. “That’s what we set out to do, to not only get good players and good student-athletes, but most importantly, I wanted character. That’s what this place needed. It was an extremely non-character locker room when I took this job and that’s why they were losing for 20 years. They had a locker room full of knuckleheads.
“(In 2002), we had four students who came to games with bags on their heads. That was about all the excitement we had. Now we have students with their bodies painted, beads on, raising hell, cheering ‘Undefeated’ all that stuff. They’re having fun.
“All these (players) needed was someone who believes in them and something to believe in,” Mangus said. “I never thought we were doing it wrong. Now I’ve got players telling me they love me. And I’m telling them the same thing.”
A native of Georgia, Mangus came to the Tri-State area in 1995 when Bill Cubit, who coached the quarterbacks at Florida while Mangus was a graduate assistant, brought Mangus to Widener as his offensive coordinator. From there, Mangus moved to Ursinus College in 1999, where he helped that program post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than 40 years. Mangus reflects the Spurrier influence, including wearing the trademark visor on the sidelines.
“We’re probably competitive to a fault,” Mangus said, referring to himself and his former coach. “I don’t care what other people think. When they see me on Saturday, I’m more like a basketball coach. I’m going to run up and down the sideline. I’m not going to hide my emotions. After a game, I’m worn out. I think the kids like that. Ultimately, all they want is to be part of a winner.”
Delaware Valley College