Coach Manzini Prepared Players Mentally and Physically

By Paglia, Ron | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 20, 2009 | Go to article overview

Coach Manzini Prepared Players Mentally and Physically


Paglia, Ron, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Bellmar High School's 1959 football team had an abundance of talented players, but the Hurricanes also were led by Bap Manzini, one of the most successful head coaches in WPIAL history.

Lou Comadena also recalled Manzini that way and lauded him for the way he and his assistants -- Jim Hoffman, Tom Banjor, John Trivonovich -- prepared the team mentally and physically.

"Bap trained us to be tougher than our opponents on both sides of the ball," Comadena said. "That meant being quicker and stronger and also out-thinking them. That was a big factor all season. We scored a lot of points on touchdowns, but we had a high number of blocked punts, fumble recoveries and sacks."

Comadena vividly remembers another example of Manzini "breeding toughness."

"We were playing South Union and someone stepped on my hand," Comadena said. "There was a long bleeding gash on the back of my hand, and I came out of the game to have our team physician, Dr. (Vincent) Bolton, look at it. He washed the dirt out and said I needed stitches to close the wound. Bap grabbed my hand, looked at it and said, "Yeah, right after the game. Wrap it up and send him back in.'

He also pointed out that Manzini stayed ahead of many of his coaching contemporaries by attending clinics.

"One year, he went to the University of Maryland and brought back a belly series for us to learn," Comadena said. …

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