John Mang: MVAC gets off to a solid start
Dohar, Mang provide
update on start of
new area conference
By Greg Gulas
When the Inter-Tri County League was disbanding and teams were scrambling for a new conference affiliation, Weathersfield Local Schools Superintendent Damon Dohar worked feverishly behind the scenes to ensure that teams from his league would not fall by the wayside.
As the new Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference was being formed — it is one of two new leagues to debut this year, joining the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference — Dohar and his group of superintendents then reached out to former ITCL commissioner John Mang to serve as its commissioner.
The decision by Mang to accept the league’s offer has been embraced by all schools.
Addressing the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at Avion Banquet Center, Mang and Dohar both noted that the league’s first year of operation has gone surprisingly smooth thus far.
“We’re doing some things that we’ve done in the past, just on a smaller scale,” said Mang, who was the ITCL’s assistant commissioner under Paul Andraso for 13 years and also served as Federal League assistant commissioner and its assigner of officials. “Last Friday was our first week for conference football games and all went really well. We’ll use this year to analyze the teams in all of our sports, then see who should play up or down and just make sure everything continues to run smoothly.”
Dohar called Mang, who still serves as assigner of officials for multiple sports in several area leagues, the right man to lead the newly formed conference.
“John does a wonderful job of organizing and handling the league’s daily operation,” Dohar said. “We’re trying to make our league as efficient as possible and furthermore, see problems before they arise so that we can communicate with each other on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis.”
Comprising the eight-team MVAC are seven former ITCL members — Jackson-Milton, Lowellville, Mineral Ridge, McDonald, Sebring, Springfield and Western Reserve — with the Waterloo Vikings its eighth member.
“Travel has always been an issue with conferences of which I have had an association, but travel in the MVAC seems to be reasonable for all of our schools,” Mang added. “Waterloo and their proximity to the other league schools has proven to be an excellent addition while the time it takes to get from school to school has definitely been slashed. Plus, our lower level schools are flourishing.”
Sanctioned fall sports include football, volleyball, golf and both boys and girls cross country.
“One of our first orders of business was scheduling and right we now have a two-year rotation in place,” Mang said. “While numbers are a challenge in football, all schools have junior high programs and that really helps. Our golf championship is set for [Wednesday] at Pine Lakes in Hubbard, while McDonald will be hosting the cross country championship in early October. Everything has fallen right into place thus far.”
Winter sports include boys and girls basketball (some schools have wrestling teams, but isn’t a sanctioned league sport) while in the spring, baseball, softball and track and field are the sanctioned sports.
“Our softball teams will be playing at the beautiful Candelite Knolls Complex in [Bazetta Township] with baseball playing their league games at the highly popular and just as beautiful Cene Park in Struthers,” Mang said. “All of our diamond teams will have the opportunity to experience playing under the lights on Friday night, then will return for a Saturday afternoon game the next day.”
Mang continues to oversee the scheduling of umpires for multiple area leagues and teams, noting that EOAC commissioner Howard Friend is also a very good friend.
“Howard and I go way back, we’re very good friends and work well together,” Mang said. “He’s also an excellent commissioner and will do well with his new league.”
Next week, John Barnes, YSU head women’s basketball coach will serve as guest speaker.