HS Then & Now: Seniors Bear A Caring Load For Dulaney
By Keith Mills
Each August the freshman boys soccer players at Dulaney High School arrive for their first practice of the summer and find a senior waiting for them.
"We call it our Big Brother program," said Dulaney coach Scott Manning. "Every senior is responsible for an incoming freshman. They take care of their 'little brother,' whether it's with their grades, getting around school or any problems they're having off the field, whatever it is. Who better to do it? The seniors have all been through it."
Manning is in his fourth season as Dulaney's coach, and if the name sounds familiar it should.
One of the greatest goalkeepers in American indoor soccer history, Manning played eight years with the Blast. In 1984 he was the MVP of the Major Indoor Soccer League championship series as Baltimore beat the St. Louis Steamers. A year later, he was named the league's goalkeeper of the year.
Manning later played with the Wichita Wings and Dallas Sidekicks, but he made Baltimore his home. In 1995, he formed the Gunpowder Football Club, a local soccer team he coached for eight years. Seven years ago, he coached the Overlea High School boys varsity team before taking the job at Dulaney in 2004.
"I never really thought I'd like it," said Manning, now 50 and the father of three. His young Dulaney team finished the regular season 5-5-2 before beating Linganore last week in the first round of the state playoffs.
"What I've found out is if you truly remove the parents from the entire equation it would be more satisfying and fun playing," he said. "You get a lot of good parents who really know what's going on. They don't place a lot of expectations on their kids that the kids can't meet. They're the kids who aren't afraid to work hard. They take coaching and instruction really well. But then you have to go through the nonsense with the really stupid parents. They think they know it all."
Every coach must deal with that part of high school coaching, which Manning said has changed a great deal over the years.
"A lot of the kids today just aren't pushed," Manning said. "They've never had to fight or battle for something -- whether it's for a starting spot or just a spot on the team, or just to work on their game. When they're challenged, they don't know how to handle it."
Manning has never been shy about speaking his mind. His blunt honesty has often rubbed other coaches and parents the wrong way, but his players have thrived under his approach, which was nurtured on the basketball courts, baseball and soccer fields of Rochester, N.Y.
Manning was an outstanding basketball and baseball player at R.L. Thomas High School in Rochester in the mid-1970s. He didn't play soccer until his senior year. One year later, he was the starting goalkeeper at Monroe Community College in Rochester. He led the Tribunes to the nation's No. 1 ranking and the junior college national playoffs.
A year later, he was a sophomore at Cortland State University. There, his life and athletic career took a dramatic turn, thanks to Fred Taube, Cortland's veteran soccer coach whose trust in his new goalkeeper helped Manning mature into a Division III All-American.
“The year before, his team made the NCAA tournament for the first time ever, and they graduated one position, goalie,” Manning said. “We had about 15 guys who wanted to be goalkeepers, and he had a tradition of whomever [Taube] handed the new goalkeeping equipment to, that’s who he’d pick to start the season. It was a symbol. Well, he handed it to me.
“I hadn’t played a whole lot of goal up until then, but he came out and looked and me and said, ‘I don’t know anything about the goalkeeper position, but if you’re willing to put the time in we’ll learn together.’”
That was in August 1976. Two years later, Cortland finished second in the NCAA Division III tournament. In 1980, Manning earned a spot on the United States Olympic team, which did not compete in the Moscow Olympic Games because of President Jimmy Carter’s boycott.
“I’ve had coaches only talk to me because they wanted to use what I said against another player, but [Taube] really cared about my opinion," Manning said. "On the bus on the way to the Final Four my senior year, he asked me what I thought about some things. I never forgot that, and when I started coaching, I made sure I kept the lines of communications open with the players, especially the seniors.”
There are six players in this year’s Lions senior class: midfielder/striker Vince DiPino, sweeper Eric Keppler, midfielder Brandon Frey, defender Reese Shipley, midfielder Michael Steinmetz and forward Ollie Seirafipour. Keppler, an All-State and All-South defender, is headed to Notre Dame on a lacrosse scholarship. Frey has missed most of the season because of a knee injury while DiPino, an All-Baltimore County performer, scored the game’s only goal in the Lions' 1-0 win over Linganore.
“My seniors are responsible for pretty much everything that’s done,” Manning said. “Team goals, rules, discipline. They even have the authority to throw a kid off the team. If a player’s a jerk, and the seniors feel he’s counterproductive, they can ask him to leave. I remember one parent was complaining why we do this or that. I said, ‘I’m not, the seniors are.'"
Manning’s trust in his players carries over to the games.
“The game is about the players,” he said. “During my halftime talks I bring up one or two points, then I go to the seniors. When the game starts, I’m useless. Coaching in the game is overrated. If Eric Keppler wants this player in the game, I’m putting him in. I have that much trust in him, as long as he doesn’t abuse it -- and he hasn’t.”
That trust has also led to some off-field victories that Manning points to with pride. Last month, the soccer program raised more than $2,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the fourth year the Lions have held a fundraiser.
“At the end of every year, I sit down with every returning player, and we go over what they have to do to get better and to step up to the next level," Manning said. "I love the kids who tell you, ‘Whatever it takes, Coach, that’s what I want to do.’ ”
When Manning took over four years ago, 15 freshmen made either the junior varsity or varsity soccer teams. Six are left.
“I felt bad for this senior class because they took the brunt of the changes we were making," Manning said. "I came in and said shirts had to be tucked in and socks pulled up. They asked why, but they did it.
“I’m definitely old school. I just feel things should be done a certain way, and the kids need to be accountable and responsible for what they do. I'm big into the school part of it. Isn't this why the kids are here, to be student-athletes? I really love the self-starter, the overachieving kind of player who will just find a way to get it done.
"It’s funny. A lot of my critics out here say I demand too much out of the kids. But my hope is the games are easy. It’s been great to see kids like Eric Keppler and Vince DiPino grow up and embrace the concepts about being responsible and committed. That’s what it’s all about.”
DULANEY GIRLS RUN TO VICTORY
One of the great streaks in area history continued last weekend as the Dulaney girls cross country team won its 18th consecutive Baltimore County championship.
Hereford’s Kristen Malloy won the race in 19 minutes and 12.4 seconds, 9 seconds faster than Dulaney’s Emma Larkin, who led the Lions to a 4-point win over Malloy’s Bulls for the team championship. Marta Randall of Hereford finished third in 19:35.3 while Dulaney’s Anjelica DiNucci (19:46.6) and Kelly Rush (19:57) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Chelsey Bush and Katie Cox finished seventh and 12th, clinching the win coach for Chad Boyle’s Lions.
Sumanth Kuppali of Perry Hall won the boys race in 16:19.9, but Loch Raven won the team championship behind Mike Glassman (second, 16:50.2) and Dominic Rubino (ninth, 17:22.3).
BLAST CELEBRATE MIKE LOOKINGLAND
It was replica jersey night last Saturday for the Blast as they played the Milwaukee Wave, and First Mariner Arena was filled with youngsters from Annapolis to Aberdeen wearing defender Mike Lookingland’s No. 24.
Lookingland made the MISL All-Rookie team a year ago and is one of many local players drafted and developed by Blast owner Ed Hale, general manager Kevin Healey and assistant general manager Mike Conway.
Billy Nelson (Bel Air High School), P.J. Wakefield (Calvert Hall), Giuliano Celenza (Archbishop Curley) and Lookingland are current players who grew up in the Baltimore area watching such local standouts as Jason Dieter and Barry Stitz play for the Blast.
Lookingland went to Loyola Blakefield, where he was an All-State and All-South Regional selection back in 1999 and 2000. At Bucknell, he was a Sporting News third team All-American and the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
He was drafted by both Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer and the Blast. After a brief outdoor stint with Real Salt Lake, he joined the Blast last fall, where he fits in nicely with a defense that features Nelson and Wakefield, two of the league’s premier defenders.
Lookingland spent 12 years with the Baltimore Bays club program, winning a state cup, four regional championships and a spot on the state’s U.S. Olympic Development team. His dad Mike Sr. and mother Hope are extremely active in area club soccer, while his sister Melissa is an outstanding player at John Carroll, the No. 1 seed in the girls IAAM A Conference playoffs that began earlier this week.
EAGLES AND FRIARS MIAA A TOP SEEDS
Lookingland’s former team is seeded fifth in the boys MIAA A Conference playoffs which begin on Thursday. McDonogh, 18-1-3 and unbeaten in its last 13 games, is the No. 1 seed while Archbishop Curley, coached by Stitz, is seeded No. 2 with a 19-4 record.
The third seed is Mount St. Joseph (13-6), co-champion with Loyola two years ago. The Gaels open the tournament on Thursday against Gilman (9-8-2) at Villa Julie College. The winner of that game will play Archbishop Curley Nov. 6.
Calvert Hall (10-8-3) is seeded fifth and will host Loyola (10-5-3) Thursday. Loyola is coached by another former Blast player, Lee Tschantret. The winner will play McDonogh Nov. 6. The A Conference championship game is Nov. 10 at Calvert Hall.
Issue 2.44: November 1, 2007