The man who coached longer at the University of Illinois than any other person died 57 years ago today at the age of 75. Ed Manley, a native St. Louisan, directed Illini men’s swimming and diving for 37 years after being hired by George Huff in 1912.
As a young man, Manley was exceptional in swimming and water polo for the Missouri Athletic Club.
His Illini swimming teams captured Western Conference titles his first two years at Illinois and placed among the top five in the league 24 times. He also developed 20 conference champions in water polo, directing those teams to dual-meet victories nearly 75 percent of the time.
Manley called 1930s performer Chuck Flachmann his greatest single swimmer. Other outstanding Illini athletes he coached included Bill Vosburgh, a member of the 1912 Olympic team; John Lichter, John Griffin and Frank Taylor of the 1915-28 era; Bill O’Brien, who won a national diving championship in the 1920s; John Haulenbeeck, the 1947 Illini captain, and Bob Clemons, a 1950s star.
Manley also was the originator of the intramural sports system at the UI.
After he retired from Illinois in 1952, Manley and his wife, Cecelia, returned to St. Louis, where he became the swimming pro at Westwood Country Club. He also coached at the Clayton and University City pools.
The veteran coach was honored posthumously in 1975 when the university named the historic Huff Gym natatorium the Edwin Manley Memorial Pool.
Here’s a look at Illini head coaches with longest terms of service:
TOTAL YEARS COACH
37 Ed Manley Men’s swimming and diving (1912-17 and 1920-52)
35 Gary Wieneke Cross-country (1967-2002)
32 Yoshi Hayasaki Men’s gymnastics (1973-93 and 1997-2009)
31 Maxwell Garret Fencing (1941-72)
29 Bob Zuppke Football (1913-41)
29 Gary Wieneke Men’s track and field (1974-2003)
28 Paula Smith Women’s golf (1978-2006)
27 Harry Gill Men’s track and field (1904-29 and 1931-33)
27 Leo Johnson Men’s track and field (1938-65)
27 Lee Eilbracht Baseball (1952-78)
24 George Huff Baseball (1896-1919)
23 Gary Winckler Women’s track and field (1985-2008)
22 Leo Johnson Men’s cross-country (1938-60)
22 Ralph Fletcher Men’s golf (1944-66)
22 Don Sammons Men’s swimming (1971-93)
22 Howard Braun Men’s tennis (1938-42 and 1946-64)
21 Lou Henson Men’s basketball (1975-96)
20 Harry Combes Men’s basketball (1947-67)
Sunday: Rayvonte Rice, basketball (27)
Monday: Danny & Zac Braunagel, wrestling (19)
Tuesday: Gene Honda, public address announcer (65)
Wednesday: Josh Harris, baseball (26)
Thursday: Kerry & Kurt Krueger, football (58)
Friday: Jeanne Yoss, volleyball
Saturday: Varun Chopra, golf (20)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.