He still has Maryland football in his blood, and on fall
Saturdays when the Terrapins are playing at Byrd Stadium, you
can find Mark Manges in section 208, row G, seat 2. Not that you
won't hear him first. The 42-year-old Manges is the most
vociferous supporter on the club level, cheering with the same
passion that fueled his play as a tackle-busting quarterback for
Maryland from 1974 to '77.
Manges grew up in a football family in a football town,
Cumberland, Md. Though he was recruited by the national powers,
he went to Maryland with the hope of lifting it to prominence.
He did just that as a junior, in 1976. The Terrapins became more
popular in the state that year than crab cakes, winning their
first 11 games to earn the No. 6 ranking before losing to
Houston 30-21 in the Cotton Bowl. "The support came out of
nowhere, and it was everywhere," recalls Manges. "Getting to
experience that was the reason I chose Maryland."
The 6'3", 220-pound Manges passed for 1,145 yards in '76 on only
139 attempts. He rushed for 448 yards and blasted holes that
helped his running backs gain many more. "We ran the sprint
option, and we were a tough, ball-control team," he says. "Coach
[Jerry] Claiborne had a simple rule for his quarterbacks: If you
can't block, you can't play."
Because of a broken right hand Manges missed half the 1977
season, in which the Terrapins went 8-4. He lasted one year in
the NFL as a backup with the St. Louis Cardinals and then worked
a variety of sales jobs until an old rival hired him in 1989.
Former Syracuse quarterback Bill Hurley had just started the
Collegiate Scouting Network, a national service that helps high
school athletes get college scholarships and financial aid
packages. For nine years Manges has canvassed Maryland and
Northern Virginia for the network. "I love that I'm helping kids
and able to stay in sports," says Manges. "I worked with 125
kids in Maryland last year, and now all of them are playing
their sport in college."
Manges lives in Laurel, Md., with his wife, Janie. While he's
easygoing most of the time, once he takes his seat at Byrd
Stadium, it's as if he's taking snaps again. "I'd call the way I
act during the game 'controlled aggression,'" Manges says.
"Sometimes I get a little worked up, but I'm just trying to be
as supportive as I can."
COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. [Cover of October 4, 1976 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED featuring Mark Manges]
COLOR PHOTO: MITCHELL LAYTON [Mark Manges]
He ran for 448 yards in 1976 and blasted holes to help his
running backs gain many more.