(KMAland) -- When it comes to the amount of time Bob Mantell put into his coaching career at Treynor, the impact he made was much larger than its 14 years.
Mantell transformed a baseball program and ignited a culture that saw 300+ wins, 11 conference championships and four state tournament appearances. For all of that, Mantell is our latest KMA Sports Hall of Fame announcement.
Following 14 years as the head baseball coach at Treynor, Mantell announced his retirement this summer after accepting a new position in Phoenix, Arizona.
“It’s been a great ride,” Mantell said. “I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s definitely been a labor love, and it’s hard to say goodbye.”
While Mantell leaves the Treynor program in great shape, it was nowhere near a successful program when he found it in 2006.
“The program was in a tough spot,” Mantell said. “We hadn’t had a winning season for a number of years. I found there wasn’t much of a baseball culture, and frankly there weren’t a lot of kids that had an interest in the sport.”
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“The first couple years were a challenge in trying to turn the mindset around for the kids we were working with,” Mantell said. “I think a lot of them saw it as something to do in the summer as opposed to a full-fledged commitment and passion.”
Mantell says they went 6-16 in his first year and 9-16 in year two, but year three was the season things started to turn around for the program.
“I remember vividly in my third year, we were having a tough start to the year,” Mantell said. “We started 5-10 and had a heart to heart with the kids about all the work we’d put in and what we were doing to try to get the kids to believe in themselves. After we had that talk, we rattled off 13 wins in a row, we ended up winning the conference for the first time since 1971 and that was really the start of success for us.”
From 2009 through the 2019 season, Coach Mantell oversaw at least 23 wins in every season except for one. That one exception was the 19-win 2018 group that became Mantell’s fourth state tournament team.
During his career, Mantell was named the 2015 2A Southwest District Coach of the Year by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association and was the 2018 KMAland Baseball Coach of the Year.
While the winning took hold, Mantell worked diligently in other facets. He was the spearhead behind the design of a new baseball field at Treynor in 2009. He helped create bullpens and a second batting cage as well as the baseball clubhouse and press box.
Everything you see in the Treynor baseball program right now – the wins, the 2013 and 2017 West Field of the Year (according to the IAHSBCA), the clubhouse and so much more came straight from Coach Mantell. We’re proud to honor him with a spot in our 2019 KMA Sports Hall of Fame class.
Hear much more from Coach Mantell in the audio file below.
OTHER 2018-19 KMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCEMENTS