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Oklahoma football: After wife's cancer treatments, Mark Mangino is ready to get back to coaching

by Jason Kersey Published: October 18, 2012

Mary Jane Mangino's illness opened her husband's eyes to the importance of keeping things in perspective. Many coaches, and especially successful ones, are so focused on winning that they can lose sight of other priorities.

“You get wrapped up in your football team and trying to make them better, trying to win games, and your vision becomes like a tunnel,” Mangino said. “Next thing you know, you have no idea what's going on. Your kids are involved in things, and your wife tells you but you barely hear it or retain it. You become obsessed with this quest for winning and excellence.

“I think my wife's situation here has really changed my perspective. I think what I've learned is that life is precious, so let's enjoy it.”

After Mary Jane's final treatment a few weeks ago, she gave her husband an explicit order that he intends to follow.

“She's given me a directive: Go find a coaching job,” Mark Mangino said. “So we'll see what happens. I don't know where it will be. Could be anywhere.”

Could it be Oklahoma? Mangino was an OU assistant from 1999-2001; he was offensive coordinator for the Sooners' national-title run in 2000.

Mangino's daughter lives in Tulsa, and he's been back to Norman “five or six times” since leaving Kansas, he said.

“There are no openings there, and I don't anticipate any openings there, at least not as we speak,” Mangino said. “Would it be something I would think about if there was an opportunity? Yes, but I just can't sit around and wait to see if something happens at Oklahoma.”

Still, he said he loved his time in the Sooner State because of the people.

“The Oklahoma people remind me of the people from where I'm from in Western Pennsylvania; we just felt so comfortable there,” Mangino said. “We felt like we were at home.”

Mangino is open to being either a head coach or an assistant; one thing he won't be, though, is so engaged that he loses sight of what really matters.

“It has really woken me up and my priorities have changed, but don't think I ever lost the desire to win,” Mangino said. “That's still something that's very, very important to me.

“How I go about it ... I think I'll change that course a little bit the second time around.”