Manning Living a Dream

New Michigan assistant Roy Manning sat down for an exclusive interview with GoBlueWolverine's Sam Webb Wednesday to discuss his return to Ann Arbor. The former Wolverine discussed his initial journey to Michigan out of high school, his coaching influences, how he got his start in coaching, his recruiting philosophy, and much much more.

On his journey from Saginaw to Michigan

“I was fortunate enough to play with some great great players. Charles Rogers, Terry Jackson, LaMarr Woodley… we all came from the same place.  It’s interesting… Charles was the #1 receiver in the country at that time, so obviously he is going to get a lot of attention.  I’ll never forget coming here to summer camp and the first thing they told me when I walked up to registration was, ‘hey, you’re from Charles Rogers’ school!’  I never told anyone, but that always stuck with me and was something that just motivated me to say, ‘hey, no, this is Roy Manning’s school.’  That’s something that still to this day… I just want to make an impact wherever I’m at.  Then from there I had a great camp, got offered, and the rest is history coming here to Michigan.”

On his major influences…

“Definitely Don Durrett, my high school coach.  I’m so excited.  I heard he is going to go back to coaching my high school, Saginaw high this year.  Obviously my dad and parents were both great influences and were always instilling that confidence in me and that work ethic, and always kept me going no matter what the case may be.  Outside of my dad probably the greatest influence someone has had on me is Lloyd Carr.  Just being here and playing for him those five seasons… you never quite appreciate him until you leave this place. I think a lot of what I do and my philosophy on coaching… I really get it from Coach Carr.  I’m just appreciative of those people.  To be back here around Brady, who was obviously on staff when I played… so many people… even Coach Mattison, Coach Borges and those guys on offense taking me under their wings here a few years ago.  I can’t forget to mention Butch Jones giving me my first job in coaching.  Just so many people to thank and so many people are responsible for me being where I’m at."

On getting into coaching…

“It’s really an interesting story.  I had just been cut in the NFL by the Bengals and I moved back here.  I told myself, ‘I’m going to give this NFL one more shot.’  So I moved back here to Ann Arbor to train.  At the time Rich Rodriguez was the head coach and they just welcomed me with open arms… allowed me to train here and all those things. I’ll tell you what… I use to go upstairs and talk to Coach Rodriguez all the time and just pick his brain and tell him, ‘hey, I think if the NFL doesn’t work out, coaching is something I legitimately… I’ve always kind of had that bug… that question.  It’s probably something I may want to think about doing.’  He really helped me out a ton with kind of just telling me what to expect in this profession.  Coach Rod is the one that hooked on with Butch Jones.  So that’s really how I got my start in coaching.  So he had as much to do with me being where I’m at as anybody.”

On transitioning back to coaching defense…

“I think that the more I’ve been around these guys here and the more I’ve been in this playbook, things are just coming back a lot quicker than I thought they would.  Like you said, I played the position, so it’s just a matter of refreshing some those old techniques and relearning the verbiage and things like that.  But you talk about truly a dream come true… to have an opportunity to play in the NFL, and then now as a coach… obviously my dream was always to come back here.  So I’m on top of the world right now, to be honest, and just excited and ready to get to work.”

On his recruiting philosophy…

“The biggest thing to me in recruiting is just relationships and honestly, being yourself. I think that I don’t try to be anyone that I’m not.  I think I just try to be Roy Manning, and I’m honest with the kids because I can associate with where they’re at right now and kind of give them insight.  I’ll tell a kid, ‘this is what you have to honestly expect.  I don’t want to sell you something. I want to give you honest factual information and let you kind of make your decision from there.’  But I’ll be relentless because I’ll tell you what… those kids are going to understand that, ‘I’m not just recruiting you here, you’re going to be a part of my family too because I’m a Michigan Man.’ So it’s going to be important to me that I recruit the right type of kid.  That is all part of the process.  Like I said… I’m going to be relentless.”

“In terms of areas… we haven’t hashed everything out yet. I would assume that I’ll probably pick up some of Coach Montgomery’s areas.  I know he was out east in Virginia and North Carolina, and I think he did some things in Ohio. Wherever I’m going to go people are going to know that Michigan is there because I truly am Michigan and I love Michigan.”

“I (in the past recruited) northeast Ohio… that Cleveland area, also parts of Michigan… Detroit and some of the surrounding areas. Then I actually went to Louisiana and made a little headway there.  The biggest thing to me is if you can recruit, you can recruit.  You hear people talk about this area and that area, but I think if you have a charismatic personality and people can just feel the realness from you and know that you sincerely have their best interest in mind, you can recruit in Alaska… go anywhere.  That’s my mentality and that’s my approach in recruiting.”

For much more from Manning, listen to the interview in its entirety here.

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