David Manley knew he wanted to be a coach and pursue a career in athletics when he was in the seventh grade.
Manley was influenced by some very important teachers and coaches in his life and as director of athletics he wants to make sure student-athletes at the Killeen Independent School District have a quality experience while growing up.
“We want our students to understand the concept that shared sacrifice equals shared success,” Manley said. “We want them to understand and get the benefits of learning to be part of the team. We want to use athletics to teach character that will help them the rest of their lives.”
Manley took over as the KISD director of athletics on June 7, six years after wrapping up a successful run
at Ellison as the boys head basketball coach.
Manley had been the principal at Harker Heights since 2011. He said he welcomed the challenge of getting back into athletics.
The new director of athletics said that one of his goals is to help create athletic programs where kids learn the skills needed in their respective sports as well as lessons for the rest of their lives.
“We want to leverage athletics to improve student learning,” Manley said. “If we’re doing that, then we’re helping the overall student. Those knees wear out a long time before the brain does and this is what’s going to make a living for the rest of their lives.”
And the worlds of athletics and administration are more similar than people would think.
“I always tell people it is coaching, but in a different context,” Manley said. “It’s still about working with people, trying to help people grow and developing powerful teams of professionals to impact student learning.”
Manley began his coaching career in 1987 when he took a position as an assistant coach at Copperas Cove under Billy Gillespie during the 1987-88 season.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State in 1987 and a master’s degree at Tarleton State in 2007.
Manley took over at Ellison during the 1994-95 season and sparked a 19-year run where the Eagles made the playoffs.
But before all of that, Manley was a student-athlete at Perrin High School, part of the Perrin-Whitt ISD in the northern part of Texas. Life was tough for the young man as neither of Manley’s parents graduated high school and they married at a young age.
“All they ever did was work for a living all of their lives,” Manley said about his parents.
As a young athlete, he met David Wood, his football and basketball coach, and Tara Henderson, an English teacher, two individuals that had lasting influences in his life.
“In David Wood I saw the possibility of a different life, I saw how excited he was to have that life and through athletics, that was my way out of that cycle of poverty,” Manley said. “Those two were really the ones that made the difference in my life.”
Manley said one of the challenges facing the KISD is keeping up with the age of information.
High school seniors have grown up with widespread internet access and middle school students are around the same age as Facebook.
“We’re living in an information age,” Manley said.
“Everybody’s texting, everybody’s expecting immediate results, immediate information. That landscape has changed and coaches today have to be able to embrace that environment and have the skills-set to be successful in that environment.”