WAYNESBORO, Miss. (WTOK) - Head coach Todd Mangum may be in his first year with Wayne Academy, but he comes from 5A Wayne County where he was able to achieve success – including the 5A state Championship in 2015.
Mangum and his staff want to implement that winning tradition within Wayne Academy and for the players to improve, one day at a time.
“We want our players to be better people and better players each and every day and that’s what we work to do: we work to be better every day,” he said.
The players can see the affect Mangum has had on their workouts and desire to win. Senior middle linebacker, Hunter Sanderson, says that the team didn’t always have respect for their coaches but that the culture has changed within the team during the offseason.
“We’re having a different style, we’re having fun,” he said. “We’re enjoying playing the game. We lost that a few years ago, now we got it back. We want to go out here, we want to work hard, we want to give it all we got and make our coaches and our families proud.”
Coach Mangum has been impressed with his players and their desire to excel.
“They want to be successful, they want to be coached,” Mangum said. “They’re looking forward to something different and their enthusiasm has been the first thing that I’ve picked up on.”
Other players note that offseason workouts have become more disciplined and that the team is improving.
“We’re definitely going after it. We’ve been out here every day working hard for about four hours usually,” senior center Josias Reyes said. “We get a small break, but when we’re not taking that break, we’re going after it hard, getting everything done that we need to.”
Sanderson agrees that his team is further along than they were at the same point last season and believes Mangum is what the program needs in order to make a championship run since he’s done it before.
“Coach Mangum knows how much we have to work to go to a state championship,” Sanderson said. “He’s been there – he’s won the big game. I think he’s the final piece for us.”
The Jaguars open the season August 17th against South Choctaw Academy.