- RELATED: 2006 Athletes of the Year
Brothers Eric and Tyler Manring took over the Barron Collier boys tennis program prior to the start of last season. In two years at the helm, the Manrings have guided the Cougars to consecutive Class 3A state titles.
Not a bad way to start their coaching careers.
Barron Collier dominated the state tournament after a close win last year, beating second-place St. Thomas Aquinas by seven points. The spread would have been even bigger if not for a controversial disqualification of No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles player David Irvin.
For their coaching efforts, the Manrings have been chosen as the Naples Daily News Coaches of the Year for the spring.
“We knew we’d have a good chance of repeating with the kids we had coming back,” Eric Manring said. “And adding Reid Carleton at number one singles really made a huge difference. It made us a much deeper team.“
Carleton, a nationally ranked Pennsylvania native, gave the Cougars a dominant No. 1 player and allowed everyone else to slide down a spot. The Cougars were rarely challenged, posting a 15-0 overall record and cruising to district and regional titles.
Erik Corace, Jonathan Drew and Charles Johnson each won their respective flights at states, with Corace and Carleton teaming up to win the team and individual doubles titles.
The Manrings related well to their players. Each played for the Cougars in the 90’s. Tyler Manring won an individual doubles title in 1997.
“I think that’s a big help when you have tennis guys coaching the team,” Tyler Manring said. “Some high school tennis coaches aren’t really tennis guys, making it hard to give any kind of advice. I think the kids respect us and listen to what we have to say, although with this group, you really don’t have to say much. These kids are match tough and know how to win.“
The Manrings have certainly enjoyed coaching the Cougars the last two years, but feel there may be even better days ahead. Carleton, Corace and Drew return, and Tripper Carleton (Reid’s younger brother) will also join the team. Tyler Manring played Tripper Carleton in a city tournament, losing in straight sets.
“Tripper’s a monster, he’s really going to help us next year,” Eric Manring said. “We could have three or four legitimate No. 1 players. It’s going to be an exciting group to coach.“
With very little local competition, the Manrings would like to beef up the non-district schedule.
“We’d like to get a regular-season match with St. Thomas Aquinas in there if possible,” Eric Manring said. “We need to find ways to challenge ourselves and that would be a good match to get.“