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College Football: Local Coaching Legend Bill Manlove Headed to Hall of Fame

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(Coach Bill Manlove is carried aloft by Widener players following the team's win in the 1977 Stagg Bowl.  Photo provided)

(Coach Bill Manlove is carried aloft by Widener players following the team’s win in the 1977 Stagg Bowl. Photo provided)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Bill Manlove’s name is familiar to anyone who coaches college football in the Delaware Valley.  He spent 32 years as a head coach in the area at Widener, Delaware Valley College, and La Salle.

During that time he won 212 games and a pair of Division III National Championships at Widener.  Now, all this success has earned him the ultimate honor: a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Manlove says this was unexpected to say the least.

“Actually, I received (notification) in the mail yesterday — it was my first knowledge of it all,” he says.  “This package came, and in it was a football.  I opened it up and my first thought was, ‘Well somebody’s trying to sell a new football, I guess.’   I opened it up and there is this thing on there that says, ‘You are now a member of the College Football Hall of Fame,’ and I went, ‘Wow.’ “

Hear Matt Leon’s expanded interview with Bill Manlove in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Manlove joins two of his former players — Widener standouts Billy “White Shoes” Johnson (inducted in 1996) and Tom Deery (1998) — in the Hall Divisional Class, which includes players and coaches from Divisions 1-AA, II, III, and the NAIA.

Manlove went 212-110-1 during his 32-year coaching career, but he downplays his obvious talent for coaching:

“I don’t know that I had any better talent than anybody else.   I think if I had a strength, it was utilization of personnel along the line and getting the right people.   I always think our players carried us, and I had some great help from coaches that worked with me.   Someone said to me once, ‘Better to be a good recruiter than a good coach.’  And I said, ‘Better yet to be both. But I’ll take the good recruiter first if we can be.’ “

Manlove is best known for his 23 seasons at Widener University, where he won those two Division III national titles (1977 and 1981) and also claimed ten Middle Atlantic Conference championships.

“We had some great players, and as I said, the coaches were more than coaches, they were friends.  We had such a good time together always, every day was just fun to go to work. And we were blessed of course to win all the time, and that certainly makes it a little better too,” Manlove recalls.

These days Manlove is helping out one of his former players, Jim Clements, a successful coach in his own right at current Div. III power Delaware Valley College.

Manlove will be inducted into the hall during the Enshrinement Festival, July 15-16th, in South Bend, Ind.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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