AMES, Iowa (AP) — On Monday morning, Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads and offensive coordinator Mark Mangino talked about the direction of the Cyclones.
By the time the conversation ended, Mangino was on his way out of Ames.
Rhoads made the surprise announcement that Mangino, the former Kansas head coach, has left the program just seven games into his second season with Iowa State.
Rhoads wouldn’t say whether Mangino quit or was fired. Rhoads also declined to discuss the specifics of his final talk with Mangino.
Passing game coordinator Todd Sturdy will take over for Mangino, starting with Saturday’s game against Texas (3-4, 2-2 Big 12).
“Mark and I couldn’t get on the same page on a few important items,” Rhoads said. “We tried to talk that through again this morning in an effort to get us moving in a different direction. In the end, Mark was not interested in that. I wish that wasn’t the case.”
The move came on the same day Iowa State promoted sophomore quarterback Joel Lanning to a starting role over senior Sam Richardson. Rhoads said Lanning’s promotion was not the reason Mangino left. Mangino won 50 games at Kansas before resigning in 2009 after an investigation into how he treated his players.
The fact that Rhoads and Mangino couldn’t solve their philosophical differences will put even more heat on the head coach, who is just 7-24 since the start of the 2013 season.
The Cyclones (2-5, 1-3) have dropped three straight by an average of nearly 26 points per game, and they will have to win four of their last five simply to earn bowl eligibility.
Athletic director Jamie Pollard told The Associated Press that he supports the decision by Rhoads, now in his seventh season at Iowa State.
“Being the head football coach requires you to be a leader, and you’re the CEO. Most people think it’s about X’s and O’s. But it’s about leading a really big organization. So with that comes tough decisions,” Pollard said.
Rhoads said there won’t be “drastic changes” made by Sturdy for the offense, which is averaging 26.9 points per game.
The biggest change will be the switch to Lanning.
Richardson has been Iowa State’s starter since the end of the 2012 season, but he has thrown just three touchdown passes in 104 attempts in Big 12 play — the same number of touchdown passes Lanning tossed in a 45-27 loss at No. 2 Baylor over the weekend.
“The biggest piece that came out of Saturday’s performance was the energy level of our football team … when (Lanning) took over,” Rhoads said.
Mangino’s departure was so swift that Rhoads didn’t have time to tell his players about it before addressing reporters at his weekly news conference.
Lanning found out he would be starting from Sturdy early Monday. Lanning then went to class — and found out that Mangino was leaving only minutes before meeting with reporters.
“It was kind of, like, shocking,” Lanning said.
Tommy Mangino, Mark’s son and Iowa State’s wide receivers coach, will remain in his current role.