Jesuit’s new football coach Ryan Manale takes on special challenge of New Orleans Catholic League

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Ryan Manale

He called it the most difficult of decisions, but when a decision had to be made, Ryan Manale could not pass up the chance to coach at Jesuit.

Manale, who chose a school that has high enrollment and among the most resources of any in the New Orleans area, left an outstanding team and school behind.

The next football coach at De La Salle will be coaching at a fine institution that is now set up to win.

Meanwhile, history tells us that football coaches at Jesuit can have much success.

Of the last nine Jesuit football coaches, only one left with a losing record.

Even that one deserves an asterisk.

In 2006, Sid Edwards spent one season at Carrollton and Banks. He won 4 and lost 6.

However, from Billy Murphy on down to Scott Bairnsfather, all other Jesuit head coaches were either .500 or better.

Some were exceptional.

From 1984 to 1988, Frank Monica won 37, lost 16.

From 2001 to 2005, Vic Eumont won 33, lost 15.

And, from 2007 to 2013, Wayde Keiser won 55, lost 27.

When Keiser vacated the job, Mark Songy returned for a second run as Blue Jays head coach, winning the Division I state championship in 2014.

When the school went looking for a coach to fill the vacancy left by Songy, Jesuit was obviously looking for a top echelon coach.

Scott Bairnsfather was certainly that. He coached Archbishop Shaw to three consecutive class 4A state championship games. As Jesuit’s interim coach this past season, he impressed onlookers both inside and outside the school.

However, it was Bairnsfather’s desire not to be a head coach again.

Jesuit director of athletics Dave Moreau said there were many things that stood out about Manale.

Here’s three above the rest, according to Moreau.

One was the head coach’s concern for the formation of his players.

Two, Manale’s organization and attention to detail.

And three, said Moreau, was Manale’s desire to immerse himself in the culture of the school.

Moreau said he remembers speaking with Manale as he marched as chaperone for the De La Salle marching band in Mardi Gras. His participation then and overall in that school’s culture stood out.

In a league with outstanding football coaches, Jesuit found one with a stellar resume. That’s a good thing since the competition is fierce.

Curtis head coach JT Curtis is closing in on 600 wins.

Holy Cross head coach Nick Saltaformaggio won a state championship at East Jefferson in 2013 and reached another title game at Hahnville.

Brother Martin head coach Mark Bonis coached the Crusaders to the number one seed in Division I in 2020.

Rummel head coach Nick Monica has made the transition from Jay Roth to his leadership seemless, winning a state title in 2019.

St. Augustine head coach Nick Foster, who had a stellar first season in 2020, is building a fine program.

Shaw head coach Tommy Connors has done a terrific job of rebuilding on the west bank.

The New Orleans Catholic League not only has great coaches but tremendous tradition.

Manale, a Rummel graduate, experienced it as a player and assistant. Now he has the chance to prove, not to anyone else but himself, that he is good enough to lead a program in a special league.

In his Metairie home, Manale has quite a coach’s office. His wife will vouch for the fact that he spends countless hours in that cave. That’s what it took to build De La Salle into one of the biggest winners in Louisiana.

Jesuit is getting a coach who is organized, prepared and motivated.

As lagniappe, Manale totally understands the world he is joining.

What the school wants is for him to be the next Gernon Brown or Ken Tarzetti or Ray Coates. No pressure.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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