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Mangiero brings experience as new Mater Dei football coach

By Matthew Rocco

Dino Mangiero, a former NFL defensive lineman with coaching experience on the high school and collegiate levels, will take over as Mater Dei Prep’s head football coach next season.

Mangiero will lead the Seraphs after serving as head coach at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York. He spent 12 seasons over two tenures with Poly Prep. In between, the Rutgers University All-American was an assistant coach at Indiana University and Wagner College.

“Experience is the best teacher,” Mangiero said in an interview. “As a head coach, just like anybody else in your early years, you make a lot of mistakes. Hopefully, you learn from those mistakes. I think that’s what experience brings. You’ve been through those tough games, and you know how to get through it.”

Mater Dei athletic director Dennis Tobin said Mangiero is a seasoned coach with a proven track record.

“Dino’s passion for character education and the lifelong success of his players sets him apart. I am confident he will bring Mater Dei Prep football to the next level both on the field and in the classroom,” Tobin said in a statement.

The position became vacant when Shannon Hoadley accepted a full-time management position at the school after one season running the football program. Hoadley, a 1989 graduate of Mater Dei and a retired sergeant in the Essex County Department of Corrections, will begin his role as supervisor of safety and student affairs July 1.

“Although saddened by leaving my former position as head coach, I am excited by the growth and opportunity that Mater Dei Prep has presented me,” Hoadley said in a separate statement. “While I will not be on the football field as a coach, this job will allow me to make a greater impact in the lives of all Mater Dei Prep students.”

Mater Dei, which announced the moves April 27, posted a 3-7 record in the 2015 season. In the first round of the NJSIAA Non-Public, Group II playoffs, the Seraphs lost a dramatic game against then-undefeated Montclair Kimberley Academy, which scored on a last-second Hail Mary pass to win, 13-12.

The Seraphs have seen recent success, going 14-8 in their prior two seasons combined behind standout quarterback Christian Palmer. Prior to the 2013 campaign, Mater Dei hadn’t won a postseason game since 1999.

“I’m thrilled and excited to have the opportunity. I think it’s a privilege to coach high school football, and I feel this is going to be a really successful program,” Mangiero said.

Mangiero said he actively sought an opportunity to coach at a Catholic high school, and Mater Dei was an attractive destination. He was especially drawn by the school’s recent history. In February 2015, Mater Dei announced plans to close the school due to financial deficits recorded over multiple years. But the students and community rallied around the school and raised enough money to keep the doors open.

“I was raised in the Catholic Church. I wanted to coach at a Catholic school, and I liked Mater Dei’s story. The whole idea of them getting behind the school and supporting it — I think it has a lot of potential,” Mangiero said. “It’s more about the people. I met the people who run the school, the principal, the AD. I’m very comfortable with them. They’re great educators and really have the concern of the kids. I think we have a lot in common. I want to surround myself with quality people.”

Before his coaching career, Mangiero had a lengthy career on the field. Mangiero was a member of the famed 1976 Scarlet Knights, which was the last Rutgers team to go undefeated. The Scarlet Knights ended the season 11-0 and ranked No. 17 nationally. In 1978, he was selected as an Associated Press Third Team All-American. Rutgers inducted Mangiero into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.

Mangiero’s pro career started with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played four seasons. He moved to the Seattle Seahawks in 1984, followed by a two-game stint with the New England Patriots in 1992.

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