12-12-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele


Manning steps down as Hartford football coach

Well, the rumors have been rampant around Hartford for the past few weeks regarding the future of the football program. And, unfortunately, for Indian fans, the rumors are indeed true. Just before the holiday break, head coach Brad Manning submitted his official letter of resignation, ending his three-year stint as the coach of “the tribe”. The search for the next leader of the Indians is officially underway, as the job listing has been officially posted.

Manning leaves the football program having gone 17-12 in his three seasons as head coach, and 15-10 in games within the Southwest 10 Conference. He led the Indians to winning seasons in all three of those years, and made the playoffs on two different occasions: 2017 and 2019. Before becoming head coach, he spent several years as an assistant, spending time both here at his alma mater and one season in Lawrence. Many will remember him from his high school playing days, where he was the Indians starting quarterback, and was an integral part of the success Hartford enjoyed in the early 2000s.

In addition to the head coach, the resignation letter also included the majority of the coaching staff from this past fall. While many names are on the official resignation letter, one of the more notable names was Terry Manning. The longtime coach spent the better part of three decades as an assistant coach, many of which were as the defensive coordinator. Terry Manning will be remembered for his tough style of coaching, but earning the respect of those who played for him. He was also on the coaching staff in 1993 that delivered Hartford their lone football state championship in school history.

Hartford Athletic Director, Nick Blackmer, was surprised to receive Manning’s letter of resignation. In comments released to the Hartford Press Box, he stated, “Brad has dedicated a significant portion of his life to athletics here in Hartford, first as a player and then as a coach. The contributions that the entire Manning family has had on the football program are countless. The Hartford Athletic Department thanks Brad for his dedication to our student-athletes on the football field over the years.”

Meanwhile, what will Coach Manning do now that he doesn’t have to look at film after film and procrastinate on offensive schemes? It gives him more time to spend with his wife, Sarah, and their growing family. He most likely has some different projects outside the coaching arena he wants to accomplish. However, he will continue to be a teacher in the Hartford Public Schools, so he’s not going anywhere. But, after more than a decade of dedication to the sport, both as a player and coach, he is entitled to break from that and enjoy the next chapter of his life.

The Hartford Press Box thanks Coach Manning and his entire family for their support of Indian Athletics, and wishes them nothing but the best! As the head coach search continues, stay tuned to the Press Box for more information.

Hartford winter athletics beginning in earnest this week!

The Hartford Press Box has been quiet since the fall sports season ended a few weeks back, but a new season is always around the corner! Fans have seen the previews, and have received the inside information on all the Indian teams. But now, this week, the winter sports schedule begins, with three of the four winter sports teams seeing action for the first time. It is an exciting time to be an Indian fan!

The sports schedule tipped off on Tuesday, Dec. 10, when the Hartford Lady Indian Basketball team traveled to Cassopolis for a match-up against the Lady Rangers. These two teams played each other twice in conference competition last year, with Hartford sweeping both games that were decided by nine points or less.

The Hartford Indian Wrestling team began their season one day later, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, by traveling to Gobles to compete in a triangular meet against the host Tigers and Colon. The wrestlers competed in the same event last year, and were swept by Gobles and the Magi. However, with more weight classes covered, the Indians have the good possibility of winning many more team duals this year.

The Hartford Lady Indian Basketball team will be on the court to begin the home schedule for Hartford Athletics on Friday, Dec. 13, by hosting the Centreville Lady Bulldogs in conference action. In the recent team preview, it was stated that Centreville will be the favorite to win the Southwest 10 Conference again this year. The Lady Bulldogs finished 23-1 last year, and swept Hartford by big margins in their two meetings last season.

Saturday, Dec. 14 is the busiest day on the schedule in the coming week, with three teams competing in athletic competitions. Both the Hartford Indian Varsity Basketball teams will be in action at Watervliet, with the Lady Indians playing first at 4:30 p.m. and the Indian men follow around 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The two teams were a combined 4-1 against their rivals last year. Also, the Indian wrestlers will