John D. “Jack” Manley, the first administrator of health, physical education, recreation and athletics and a Title IX pioneer at what is now the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville, died of bladder cancer Dec. 14 at his Catonsville home. He was 94.
“They really don’t come any better. Jack was such a great man,” said Brian Farrell, director of athletics at CCCB. ”These are the things I tell people here. The teamwork, loyalty and the family atmosphere that Jack Manley fostered and developed 63 years ago still permeates within all our athletic work here at CCBC Catonsville.”
Buck Workman, was department chair of wellness at CCBC, who oversaw sports, physical education and recreation, until his retirement a decade ago.
“I’ve known Jack longer than most people in life. I was a high school student at Catonsville and then worked with him at the college,” Mr. Workman said. “We go back a good 60 years. I think Jack had a unique quality and that he was able to communicate and get along with people. He just had a knack for getting along with people as a teacher and as a department chair.”
John D. Manley, son of Connor Manley, an elevator operator, and his wife, Agnes Manley, was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, and later moved with his family to Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood.
He was a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute where he had been an outstanding basketball player. He was recruited to play basketball at what was then Wake Forest College. In 1945, he left the college and enlisted in the Army during World War II.
“Three months after he enlisted and before he went overseas, the war ended,” said his daughter, Deana L. Holler of Catonsville. “So, he spent the next two years playing on the Army’s basketball exhibition team and played such teams as the Harlem Globetrotters.”
After being discharged, he returned to Wake Forest where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1951. After teaching physical education at Centreville High School, now Queen Anne’s County High School, Parkville High School and Catonsville High School, he was hired in 1959 as the first administrator of health, physical education, recreation and athletics at what was then known as Catonsville Community College.
Mr. Manley oversaw the development of 22 intercollegiate sports and the implementation of women’s sports at the local, regional and national level. He also coached men’s basketball, cross country and track and field, and attained full professor status in 1977.
In 1980, Mr. Manley received a commendation from Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes for his work with Title IX legislation. He was cited in Sports Illustrated for his “tireless and innovative support of organized collegiate women’s sports,” according to a biographical profile submitted by Mr. Manley’s family.
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools and sports.
“I always felt that athletics was just as important for women as they were for men,” Mr. Manley explained in a 2013 Baltimore Sun interview. “Of course, at that time, not very many people felt that way because they did not have too many sports in college. From the very beginning, our women got the same uniforms, same meal allowance as the men.”
“Jack was a great guy and I tell everybody that he hired 18 people without a search committee who spent their entire careers at the college,” said Phil Mooney, a professor in CCBC’s wellness program. “I owe my entire career to him.”
He added: “I think his two big things at the college were Title IX and the cardiac rehabilitation program.”
“He was completely engaged in the total welfare of the student-athletes, cofounding the first regional Medical Aspects Sports Seminar with Dr. Ramsay Thomas to address the specialized medical care of student athletes,” according to the profile. “Mr. Manley partnered with Dr. Raymond Bahr, Dr. Mike Keleman, and Dr. John Murray to create the first cardiac rehabilitation program outside of a hospital setting, the Prescribed Active Cardiac Exercise program — or PACE — in this region at Catonsville Community College.”
He also devised a program at CCBC for recreation, health and physical education that was compatible with four-year programs at Towson University and the University of Maryland, College Park and designed a gymnasium that “set a new standard for facilities,” The Catonsville Times reported in 2014.
“Nobody had what we had at the time. We were way ahead as far as facilities and programs went,” Mr. Manley told the newspaper.
In 1973, Mr. Manley brought his physical fitness message to older adults when he established the Senior’s Fitness Program in the CCBC campus that offered seniors the opportunity to exercise, swim and socialize. He headed the program until 1984 when he was inducted into the Maryland Physical Fitness Hall of Fame.
He was inducted in 2003 into the National Junior College Athletic Hall of Fame, Region 20, and in 2014, was honored when CCBC named its Athletic and Wellness Center after him.
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“Jack was easygoing and I never saw him raise his temper, especially around young faculty like me,” Mr. Mooney said, with a laugh. “He was all about teaching students and their welfare.”
Even though he retired in 1984, Mr. Manley continued to be a presence at CCBC, where he was involved in a variety of projects. He was a board member of the Catonsville Community Foundation and volunteered for nearly three decades with the Forty West Lions Club. He was also a founding member of the Maryland Senior Olympics.
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In 1992, he and his wife, the former Berchie Lloyd, who he had married in 1948, spearheaded the revival of the Lurman Woodland Theatre on the Catonsville High School campus, an outdoor amphitheater that offers free concerts on weekends during the summer. In recognition of his community work, he was named grand marshal of the 60th Catonsville July 4th parade in 2007.
“When he retired he continued to stay active and had been active his entire life,” Mr. Workman said. “Jack was just a fine individual and I never heard anyone ever say anything bad about him.”
Mr. Manley was a member of the Catonsville United Methodist Church.
Plans for a celebration-of-life gathering to be held in the spring are incomplete.
In addition to his wife, who was a Republican member of the Baltimore County Council from 1990 to 1994, and his daughter, Mr. Manley is survived by his son, Darien L. Manley of Catonsville; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Another son, Neil H. Manley, died in 1987.