The search for the next high school football coach at Ringgold High School went much smoother than last year.
Less than two months after Mike Zmijanac resigned from the position after a winless season, the district approved former Ringgold graduate Darwin Manges as head coach during a school board meeting Tuesday.
“Expect the Ram pride to come back to the tradition we are accustomed to,” Manges said. “With hard-nosed and very disciplined football players, you are going to know when you come into Ringgold and play a football game.”
Manges graduated from Ringgold in 1985 and was a member of the 1982 WPIAL Class 4A Division II championship football team. He played at Edinboro University before suffering an injury.
He bounced around the high school and college coaching ranks in Delaware. Manges was the head coach at Dover High School from 1999-2005 and Christiana High School from 2006-2010. He spent two stints as an assistant coach at Wesley College, a Division III school in the Atlantic East Conference.
“He has a wealth of experience on his résumé as a football coach,” athletic director Laura Grimm said. “Being an educator, he also has a lot of experience on the administrative and educator side, which makes for a well-rounded coach. He brings a lot to the table for us.”
Manges served as an athletic director and the dean of students for the past several years at Delmar (Del.) High School, not coaching to spend more time with his family.
Zmijanac, who was hired last April, resigned in late November because of “personal reasons.” He was hired as the football coach at Seton-La Salle less than one month after resigning.
Ringgold opened applications three times last winter for the vacant position before finally hiring Zmijanac. The process of hiring Manges came nearly three months earlier this year.
“I know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m very confident we’ll be able to get things done,” Manges said. “Even though I’ve been gone, I’ve never lost touch. I’m blessed and grateful for this opportunity. Ringgold is a very special place. The time was right to make this dream come true.”