He was an all-around athlete, excelling in football, basketball, baseball and wrestling.
He made his mark on the gridiron, playing on some competitive Uhlan squads that posted records of 4-6 in 1984, 5-5 in 1985 and 6-4 in Mannery’s senior season 1986.
“I didn’t start at quarterback my sophomore year,” Mannery recalled. “Phillip Onesko started, he was a senior, but I started started as a defensive back and then I started at quarterback as a junior and a senior.”
German was known for a hard nosed brand of football. Mannery played two-years for Head Coach Tony Tokish and his senior season for Head Coach Ralph Still.
“We were competitive,” Mannery offered. “We just lacked the size and that’s all it was. We had the heart and desire, we just lacked the size playing. We did the best we could.”
Mannery had a chance to show his passing skills as senior when he tossed 13 touchdown passes for the Uhlans.
“My junior year we ran the option,” Mannery stated. “Ralph Still came in and he had a pro style offense from Pitt. When he first started he knew me from the neighborhood in Edenborn and he knew from playing football out in the sandlots that I could throw the ball.
“He wanted to bring that mentality and that offense to German. We had the speed and we had two great receivers in Duane Dupont and Richard Lewis. We threw the ball around a lot and it was fun.”
1986 was the last year for German Township High School before the merger into Albert Gallatin. It was the end of a proud tradition.
“It was sad,” Mannery opined. “I think about it and we had a game against Clairton and it was the end of the game and one of the Clairton fans said ‘you’re good players, but you need a new team.’
“I looked at him and said ‘win or lose they are still my team.’ That explains it, my senior was the last year for German and we played with a lot of pride.”
Mannery also played basketball for the Uhlans. In 1984-85 the Uhlans were 8-11 and 7-3 in Class A Section 21, Mannery tallied a total of 66 points.
He also wrestled and played one year of high school baseball before German stopped fielding a baseball squad.
“I wrestled up until my junior year,” Mannery stated. “I really loved it, but I got too tall and lanky and the guys wanted me to play basketball. I basically did both sports my junior year and they cut baseball my sophomore year.
“I was drafted in baseball my sophomore, junior and senior years in high school. I really didn’t enjoy basketball as much as I did wrestling and baseball. I’ve got to say that baseball is my all-time love.”
Mannery garnered some football honors during his time at German. Earning two All-Tri County awards and he made the Dream Team in 1987.
When Mannery graduated from German in 1987 he had a choice to make.
“Baseball was my sport and I wanted to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals,” Mannery explained. “But my mom said go to school and that’s what I did.
“I was a catcher in baseball and my sophomore year I batted .777. I was skinny and lanky, I was disappointed they cut baseball at German, but I played County League and American Legion baseball.
“There was some very good baseball in Fayette County. I played for Arky Shaffer who was a great coach and a real student of the game.”
Mannery wound up getting a football scholarship to California University of PA.
“I went to visit a couple of Division 1 schools,” Mannery said. “I really wasn’t sold because of my weight, I was 6-foot-2 and about 180 pounds and at D-1 those guys were pretty big. I didn’t choose West Virginia because they wanted me to be a defensive back and they had Major Harris at quarterback. The reason I chose Cal was they came and assistant coach Chuck Colborn said I had an opportunity as a freshman to start. So I signed and when I got there I wasn’t disappointed.”
The Vulcans weren’t disappointed as Mannery fashioned a great career at Cal.
He played under Jeff Petrucci on squads that went 6-5 in 1987, 2-8 in 1988, 4-6 in 1989 and 4-5-1 in 1990. Along the way he put up some pretty gaudy numbers. Mannery is the only quarterback in Vulcan history to start all four years.
In 1987, he was the PSAC-West Rookie of the Year. From his sophomore season on, he made first-team All-PSAC. In 1988 he was an Associated Press All-American, and in 1990 he was an Associated Press All-American, and in 1990 he was the PSAC-West and ECAC Player of the Year.
Some of Mannery’s accomplishments still rank among the top in the record books. When he finished his career, he had 9,125 offensive yards, which at the time was the most in the history of NCAA Division II football. He is number one on Cal’s career passing list with 8,680 yards, number one in total offense with 9, 125 yards and third in touchdown passes with 64. He passed for 413 yards in a game against Slippery Rock in 1990.
“We had a real good offense during my junior and senior years. That is where all of my yardage and records came from. But, records are made to be broken. It doesn’t bother me. I am just proud that I had the opportunity to set those records,” Mannery explained.
When he left California, Mannery went on to play for the Steelers. He made it through the training camp and lasted until the first week of the season. He went into coaching which he did at Cal for two years. He also coached a Albert Gallatin High School while he worked as a teacher’s assistant for socially and emotionally disturbed children. He was a youth counselor at the Mel Blount Youth Home. He now works at SCI Prison in Greene County.
Mannery resides in Greensboro, PA with his wife Kelly. He was inducted into the California University of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 1997.