2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 5/1/2014 10:39 PM

Manning circles back to opportunity at Schaumburg

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Marty Manning grew up as a basketball player in the Schaumburg Athletic Association.

Manning grew up as a high school basketball coach in Huntley.

So, in a way there were growing pains as Manning weighed whether or not he should leave one quality job for another after the top spot at Schaumburg opened up when Matt Walsh resigned in March.

"It immediately intrigued me," said Manning, who was the star point guard of Hoffman Estates' 1996 Class AA Elite Eight team. "But it took me some time to decide whether to do it or not."

Manning ultimately decided a week ago to head back to the Mid-Suburban League and take over at a school that was once his biggest rival. But it was more than just eight successful seasons at Huntley that made for a difficult decision.

"To be honest, I still have mixed emotions, when you put as much time and effort into it as I did and you live in the community," said Manning, who was 162-68 with five regional titles and four consecutive Fox Valley Conference Valley Division titles at Huntley. "I've watched these kids from second grade on at basketball camps come up and it's tough to leave something like that. It's not like I'm leaving on bad terms with anyone so that makes it really difficult.

"But the opportunity to coach at Schaumburg, to be a part of that community, was too good to pass up. Those jobs don't open up very often."

Schaumburg was in the early stages of growing into a state power under Bob Williams when Manning was playing at Hoffman. Williams, who was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame last Saturday, took the program to a state title in 2001, a fourth-place finish in 1999 and another Elite Eight trip in 2006.

The Saxons' success continued under Walsh as they were 87-58 with three sectional final trips in his five seasons. Manning knows this isn't a major overhaul, especially since his staple of man-to-man defense fits right in to what Williams and Walsh established.

"I don't think our players will have a huge learning curve with me coming in," Manning said. "Matt and I were tutored the same way ... and Matt preaches a lot of things I believe in.

"Obviously there will be differences, but it will be a little more of a different offensive philosophy."

Manning is quickly getting a feel for his new job in meetings with players and observing spring league games and open gyms. He has a lot of familiarity with a Schaumburg coaching staff that includes former Hoffman point guards Jonny Reibel and Bob Cosentino.

Knowing the Huntley program is in good shape helped ease some of the angst Manning had about his decision. The talent level is high, school enrollment is expected to eventually hit 3,000 and a new fieldhouse will be completed soon.

But Manning has no doubts he is making the right move.

"I'm excited," he said. "I've been able to meet the players over the past week and I'm looking forward to getting back into the competitiveness of the MSL and going up against the great coaches already in the conference."

• Marty Maciaszek is a freelance columnist for the Daily Herald. You can reach him at marty.maciaszek@gmail.com.

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