Waldorf University announced Tony Manna as head coach of the men’s and women’s bowling teams on Monday.
“We are excited to have Tony lead our men’s and women’s bowling programs,” said Waldorf director of athletics Denny Jerome. “With his collegiate athletic experience at Waldorf and helping the men’s program achieve success, we are confident that Tony can step in and do a great job for both teams.”
Manna joins Waldorf’s staff after serving as a volunteer coach during the 2016-17 season, which saw the Warriors qualify for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Sectional Tournament for the second consecutive year. The Waldorf alum competed for the Warriors as a member of the bowling team for four seasons and is eager to help both teams to further success.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to lead the bowling programs,” Manna said. “I am honored to start my coaching career with my alma mater that offers such great academic and athletic opportunities. I am happy to be a part of the culture that the athletic department is building.”
As a senior at Waldorf, Manna rolled a 185.78 average during the 2015-16 campaign and helped the program achieve its first-ever postseason appearance in the USBC Sectional Tournament. The Warriors won their first-ever tournament title in the Stout State Open during Manna’s final season and followed up the feat with a second straight championship in the Jayhawk Collegiate Challenge.
In addition to coaching the Warriors, Manna will also serve as Waldorf’s director of athletic events. Throughout college, he assisted Waldorf’s athletic events staff as a student worker at home football and basketball games. Manna previously worked as a member on the golf shop staff at Bear Creek Golf Course in Forest City. In 2016, he completed an internship with the Owatonna Huskies Bullpen Club in Owatonna, Minn. During the internship, Manna acted as a tournament coordinator while assisting coaches with practice plans, specialized position coaching, financial oversight and field maintenance.
Manna graduated from Waldorf in 2016 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in sport management. Aside from excelling in bowling, he also played baseball for the Warriors for four years as a pitcher and middle infielder.
A native of Omaha, Neb., Manna is a 2012 Central High School graduate. He was a two-year member of the varsity bowling team for the Eagles and finished fourth in the 2011 Omaha Metro High School Bowling League as a junior Manna played baseball for four years at Central, was a two-year varsity letter winner and earned academic all-state honors in 2012 from the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) and Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association (NCPA). He also ran cross country for the Eagles for one season.
Manna resides in Forest City and is currently pursuing a master’s of arts degree in organizational leadership at Waldorf with an emphasis in sport management.
Assuming leadership of Waldorf’s bowling programs, Manna said his priority is for each team to show continuous improvement while climbing the national rankings each season and striving for a USBC or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national title.
“Each and every season, I would like for both teams to increase their rankings as well as bringing in much more talent to complement the current athletes,” Manna said. “The ultimate goal is to compete for a national championship, whether it’s an NAIA title or an intercollegiate title.”
The Waldorf men’s team placed 18th in last year’s USBC Intercollegiate Team Sectionals, posting a 64-game baker total of 11,395 pins in the two-day tournament. The Warriors climbed two spots in the team standings and improved upon the previous year’s performance by 320 pins. It was a strong all-around season for Waldorf, which placed in the top six during six of its 10 regular-season tournaments. The Warriors also qualified for match play in all but two of the eight tournaments that utilized the format.
Meanwhile, the Waldorf women’s program returned to competition last season after a one-year hiatus. The Warriors showed promise with a young and talented nucleus that qualified for match play in three tournaments.
As the Warriors begin gearing up for the 2017-18 campaign, Manna is excited to get to work. The men’s squad seeks its third straight trip to sectionals and the women’s team sets out to achieve new heights.
“Heading into the season, I am looking forward to working with the athletes and helping them gain more knowledge of the sport,” Manna said. “My goal is to help continue strengthening and developing the women’s program. For the men’s team, I want to continue their success and make another appearance at sectionals.”