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West Hancock's Mark Sanger named regional coach of the year

West Hancock's Mark Sanger named regional coach of the year


For the second consecutive year, West Hancock head football coach Mark Sanger has added a coach of the year award to his home trophy case.

On Thursday afternoon, the Iowa Football Coaches Association (IFCA) named Sanger as the Class A, Region 1 Coach of the Year for 2020. The award comes after a season in which the Eagles finished 9-2 and made it to the state quarterfinals, where the team lost to Grundy Center, 20-14. 

Sanger took over the head coaching duties before the 2019 season, after longtime Eagles head coach Bob Sanger, his father, underwent treatment for leukemia. That season, West Hancock went on to win the Class A state title, and the Sangers were named the Class A Football Coaches of the Year. 

After the elder Sanger's death in February of 2020, Mark was named the team's full-time head coach. 

In his two seasons calling the shots for the Eagles, the team has a 22-2 overall record, and finished first and third in the state in rushing yards in 2019 and 2020, respectively, with a total of 125 rushing touchdowns. 

At West Hancock, few things have changed on the football field in the past several decades. With an offense focused on running the ball, and a defensive line that has historically shut down opposing teams, there isn't much that Sanger needed to change. 

"If it isn't broke, don't fix it," Sanger said. "That's an old adage, and that is the way we've been. We've thrown some wrinkles in, and we've done a few things different, but nothing that would be changing things."

While the award is his, Sanger deflects credit to his fellow coaches and the successful system they have put in place. 

"It feels good, and the thing is, it's the product of a system," Sanger said. "We had a great group of kids coming through, and to be honest, it's probably our veteran coaching staff that we have. We've got guys that have been coaching for 20 something years, two or three of our assistants have. That is where the program really takes stride."

2020 IFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners

8-Player: Region 1- Brian Wilken, Newell-Fonda; Region 2- Jeremey Christiansen, Fremont-Mills

Class A: Region 1- Mark Sanger, West Hancock; Region 2- Duane Matthess, Nodaway Valley

Class 1A: Region 1- Mike Swieter, SE Valley; Region 2- Eric Trudo, Van Meter

Class 2A: Region 1- Cody Hackett, West Marshall; Region 2- Dustin Colt, Camanche

Class 3A: Region 1- Derrick Elman, Humboldt; Region 2- Mark Hoekstra, Carlisle

Class 4A: Region 1- Sam Anderson, Urbandale; Rusty Vanwetzinga, Pleasant Valley

Shane Lantz covers sports for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at, or by phone at 641-421-0526. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneMLantz. 


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