Friday, October 22, 2010
Legends of the Fall, Chapter 9
Baptiste John "Bap" Manzini was a standout football player during the Great Depression era at Monongahela High School. Manzini went on to Saint Vincent College, where he was team captain in 1942.
His success at the college level caught the eye of the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played for two years and was an NFL All-Pro and even the MVP of the Pro Bowl. Manzini left the pros to coach St. Vincent in 1946 and 1947 before he returned to the NFL with the Eagles and the Detroit Lions in 1948.
A couple jobs later, Manzini became the head football coach at Bellmar High School, where he remained for 14 years and compiled an 84-38-7. When Bellmar became part of Belle Vernon Area, Manzini went to coach at Thomas Jefferson and never had a losing record in 16 seasons. Manzini's teams at TJ went 119-36-1.
His final game as head coach came in the 1980 WPIAL Class AAA championship when the Jaguars beat favored Aliquippa, 28-8.
The Mon Valley Sports Hall of Famer is enshrined in numerous halls of fame and he remained in coaching as an assistant at Belle Vernon and California among others. Manzini died on May 9, 2008 at the age of 87.