Doug Mandigo takes over Middlebury football program

Bob Ritter stepping away from coaching duties after over two decades
Bob Ritter stepping away from coaching duties after over two decades
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 10:08 PM EST
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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Middlebury College has had two head football coaches in the last 50 years: Mickey Heinecken and Bob Ritter. Doug Mandigo played for one, and coached with the other, making him a natural fit to succeed Ritter on the sidelines.

“It’s an incredible tradition. These are two people that are mentors to me, incredible people beyond coaching. They’re great dads, husbands, treat people the right way,” Mandigo said. “They instill those values in their players. I want to keep that same foundation that those two mentors of mine have laid the groundwork here, not to mention the success they’ve had on the field.”

Mandigo’s predecessor is taking off the headset, and stepping into the role of assistant athletic director, a decision that has been on his mind for a little while.

“It’s something I had been giving some thought to the last couple years,” Ritter said. “After my 40th season, there just was time for a change for me. I think we have a great staff, a lot of those guys will be able to move up now. I just felt it was the right time.”

Because he’s staying in the athletic department, Ritter’s office remains on campus. Not quite in the huddle, but close enough.

“I’m thrilled. Some people might think I want the head coach to leave and be off campus, I’m actually thrilled he’s going to be here, because I know he’s not going to step on my toes, he’s going to do the opposite,” Mandigo said. “He’s going to do everything he can to support the program and support me. He’s also an unbelievable sounding board.”

Because the offseason never sleeps, Mandigo says he hasn’t yet pictured his first run onto the field as head coach. He has plenty of things to tackle before his first season arrives.

“I told the staff, we have to finish our recruiting class. I’m meeting and getting the players feeling comfortable,” he said. “Those are the two things, the recruiting class, and making sure our players are comfortable with this transition as best they can, especially in a time when they’re stressed with academics and exams. I haven’t thought about past next week, to be honest with you.”