Dino Mangiero retires as Mater Dei Prep football head coach
Dino Mangiero has retired as the head coach of Mater Dei Prep's football program after five seasons, Shore Sports Network has learned.
Mater Dei Prep athletic director Rich Buckheit confirmed Mangiero's retirement when reached on Thursday morning and said that Taylor Groh has been elevated to the position of head coach. Groh was the Seraphs' offensive coordinator last season and has been on staff since 2019. He was previously an assistant coach at Monmouth University, Fairleigh Dickinson and Montclair State.
"Taylor Groh has been appointed as the head coach so it should be as fluid (a transition) as possible," Buckheit said. "The school wants to keep the program stable and has decided to hire from within."
"There's not much to it," Mangiero said. "I'm retiring and I'm going to look at my options going forward, do some things I haven't been able to do in the past."
Hired before the start of the 2016 season, Mangiero transformed Mater Dei from an also-ran into a perennial powerhouse in his short time at the small catholic high school located in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown.
Prior to Mangiero's hiring, the Seraphs had never won more than eight games in a season, had only reached the playoffs nine times in 51 years and had won only one NJSIAA playoff game in program history. Since then, however, Mater Dei has been among the best teams in New Jersey. With Mangiero at the helm, Mater procured several impact transfers and began to attract talent from all over New Jersey.
In his first season, Mater Dei made history by going 12-0 and winning the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 2 state championship via a last-second hook-and-lateral play in a 26-20 win over Holy Spirit. In Mangiero’s five years at Mater Dei, the Seraphs went 43-10 with three division titles and reached either the Non-Public Group 2 or Group 3 state final every season. There was no NJSIAA postseason in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mangiero, 62, came to Mater Dei Prep after a long and successful career at Poly Prep in Brooklyn. He was the head coach at Poly Prep from 1995 to 2001 before leaving to take a job as an assistant at Indiana University. He also coached at Wagner College on Staten Island. He returned as Poly Prep's head coach in 2006 and coached through the 2015 season.
Among the standouts he coached during his career is Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who starred for Mangiero at Poly Prep. Mater Dei has churned out several college recruits and multiple FBS players under Mangiero, including Clarence Lewis (Notre Dame), Juwan Mitchell (Texas) and Dom Giudice (Michigan).
"That's the most important thing," Mangiero said. "We've had some really good kids go to some really good colleges - Boston College, Notre Dame, Michigan - so I'm happy about that more than anything else. You win some, you lose some, that's high school football. It's about helping the kids further their education."
"In Dino's years of football experience, both in the NFL and college and his success at his former schools, he was a master at preparation and building and sustaining a football program," Buckheit said. "What he's done for student-athletes over the course of his lifetime has been extraordinary. Whatever wisdom he has imparted on the current coaching staff, we hope they understand that in order to keep the program going forward with the same success they have to have that same type of approach."
A graduate of Curtis High School on Staten Island, Mangiero was a defensive lineman at Rutgers University from 1976-1979 and was a third-team Associated Press All-American as a senior. He was inducted into the Rutgers football Hall of Fame in 1992. Mangiero also played six seasons in the National Football League as a defensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, retiring after spending the 1987 season with New England.
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