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By BRIAN LANGLEY
Morgan County News
John Bangley’s stint at Wartburg is over after only 10 games as head football coach.
Bangley says his reasons for leaving are to be with his wife, who is still living in Florida after failing to get a job opportunity in Tennessee.
“I want everybody to know that me leaving here has nothing to do with anything going on here. I had great support from the administration here and the community. I had great coaches to work with. My wife had a couple of shots up here with a job and made the final cut a couple of times and didn’t get anything. We went home over Thanksgiving and talked things over and I need to go home to be with my wife,” explained Bangley.
“I’ve been married 22 years and it (being apart from his wife) has been the hardest thing I’ve done in a long time. She has called me home and I’m going to honor that. I’m looking out for my smaller nucleus family than this big one here (Wartburg).”
Bangley’s team went 0-10 during the 2007 season, but had some highlights, including only trailing Class AA State Champion Alcoa 7-6 late in the first half.
“Dallas (Davis) was never going to judge on a win-loss, he wanted to see some changes and lots of things were changed. We made a big difference. The kids have a great attitude here. They are in a tough conference, but they are learning that they can compete with those people. We did routinely compete with them (Region 2-A teams), and if they start to believe in themselves, I’m sure they will become more competitive as the years go along,” said Bangley.
“We played them (Alcoa) better than the team in the championship game played them. There wasn’t any quit in the kids. They played hard and they never shied away from anybody. We gave some teams fits.”
Bangley praised the work of his coaching staff.
“The volunteer coaches (Chuck Heidel and Bacel Gunter) that I had come out were tremendous help. I couldn’t have asked for a better assistant head coach than Dan (Shoemaker). He was the glue that kept this program together,” explained Bangley.
Bangley along with his son Geoff, a talented freshman quarterback, will both move back to Florida at the end of the semester (Wednesday, December 19). It was a tough decision to move his son once again after he played in Florida as an 8th grader and then as a freshman for the Bulldogs. Geoff Bangley passed for a team-high 479 yards and six touchdowns.
“I hate it for him (Geoff). Who knows what the future would have held for him here. I will try and help Geoff progress and become what he wants to be,” said Bangley.
Bangley’s 2007 team averaged 7.7 points a game and allowed 36.5 points a game. The offensive output was an improvement from a year ago. In 2006, the Bulldogs scored 4.7 points a game and gave up an average of 35.7 points a contest.
“We didn’t get any wins, but I think we can feel good about what happened. I know people wanted us to win, but there was no pressure for that now. They wanted to have the right kind of program and they wanted kids to feel good about what they were doing,” Bangley said.
Coaching may or may not be in Bangley’s plans when he returns to Florida.
“Right now, I don’t have anything planned for coaching. I’m going to go down and be a Dean of Students at a big school down there (Florida). I have always wanted to be a assistant principal to a principal down the road and this is the next step for that. If I could find a positive for me, I get to take the next step professionally,” Bangley said.
Wartburg has now lost 33 straight games and will begin the 2008 season with their third coach in as many seasons. Bangley believes the man for the job is already in here in place.
“If they are going to find somebody here for the job, then I hope they give it to Dan. He is vested in this program and the kids love him and I hope he gets an opportunity,” Bangley added.