Written by Shelly Poe
Sam Mandich was a two-sport athlete at West Virginia from 1938-41. Earning three letters as a football center, he was part of the 1938 Sun Bowl team that defeated Texas Tech, 7-6. He lettered three times as a basketball guard (career record 36-25) and served as captain of the 1940-41 squad. After graduation from WVU in 1941 with a degree in physical education, Mandich served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1942-46.
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Mandich became one of the most distinguished basketball coaches in the state of West Virginia. In 18 years at Parkersburg High, he won state titles in 1958, 1960 and 1970, and was named state High School Coach of the Year in 1960. He set a record for career wins among high school basketball coaches and had a 70 percent winning percentage. He led eight teams to the AAA state tournament and five teams to the state finals. In 1973, he became athletic director at Parkersburg High; he was named West Virginia's Athletic Director of the Year in 1984 and retired that same year.
Mandich is a member of the Mid-Ohio Sports Hall of Fame and received the Morgantown Touchdown Club's 1973 Proficiency Award. The Sam Mandich Scholarship Fund at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation provides educational awards to Parkersburg High basketball players wanting to attend college.
A native of Steubenville, Ohio, Mandich captained both the football and basketball teams at Weir (W.Va.) High; he led Weir to a state title in 1935 and was named second team all-state in 1936. Mandich and his wife, Anne, reside in Parkersburg. They have one daughter, Mary Beth, and four grandchildren: Ben, Scott, Sam and Heather.