Manlove elected to Hall of Fame

Bill Manlove was carried off the field after Widener's win in Stagg Bowl V.
Widener athletics photo

Former Widener football coach Bill Manlove had the ultimate honor bestowed upon him as he was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Manlove will become the third from Widener to be inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame. Two-time All-American Billy “White Shoes” Johnson entered as part of the Hall’s first class in 1996 and three-time All-American Tom Deery was enshrined two years later in the third class.

The ceremony will take place during the Enshrinement Festival from July 15-16 in South Bend, Ind. Manlove is one of six who will be honored in the Hall Divisional Class, which includes players and coaches from Divisions I-AA, II, III and the NAIA.

Also elected is Mickey Kobrowsky, a back for Trinity (Conn.) from 1933-36, predating Division III. Kobrowsky was chosen by the Divisional Veterans Committee.

One of the true gentlemen in all of athletics, Manlove coached 23 seasons at Widener (1969-91) and guided the team to NCAA Division III championships in 1977 and 1981. He also was a part of 10 Middle Atlantic Conference championships, seven NCAA Tournament appearances and four undefeated regular seasons during his tenure.

During Manlove’s time, 31 of Widener’s student-athletes were tabbed All-America, three were drafted by National Football League teams and 20 were signed by either NFL, World Football League, United States Football League or Canadian Football League squads.

Manlove, who also is the school’s former director of athletics, is the program’s winningest coach with a 182-53-1 record for a .773 winning percentage. Widener was 9-5 in the NCAA playofs during his time and 2-0 in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the Division III title game.

Among his great players include Johnson and Deery. Johnson (1971-73) was an explosive rusher and kick returner who set a multitude of MAC records before embarking on a storied NFL career. Deery led Widener to a 42-3 record during his four years (1978-81) as a standout defensive back and kick returner, helping the team to the 1981 national championship.

Manlove was honored as MAC Coach of the Year nine times. He was named AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Division II-III National Coach of the Year in 1977 and Regional/District Coach of the Year in 1977 and 1980.

He was very involved with college football by being a part of NCAA Communications Committee, Football Rules Committee and Division III Football Committees. He was elected to the AFCA Board of Trustees in 1983 and served as the association’s president in 1991. Manlove has also been ECAC Committee Chair and MAC President.

Manlove began his coaching career as an assistant at Gloucester City High School from 1957-59 before becoming head coach for five years. He moved to Oakcrest High School as head coach and was an assistant at Lafayette from 1967-68 before taking the job at Widener. Manlove went on to Delaware Valley in 1992 for four years before coaching five seasons at Division I-AA non-scholarship LaSalle.

Overall, Manlove owns a 212-110-1 record in 32 years as a collegiate head coach.

Manlove graduated Haddon Heights High School in 1951 and enlisted with the U.S. Army. He received his bachelor's in education in 1958 and his master’s in 1960 from Temple.

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