The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

October 17, 2013

Harold Raker's high school football column: Former Colts coach Maniskas at home in Halifax

Peyton Manning and Matt Maniskas, although not even acquaintances, are forever linked by the 2010 NFL season.

You know Manning, he of the Hall of Fame performances for the Indianapolis Colts and, currently, the Denver Broncos.

Both were fired, so to speak, by the Colts.

And each is happy with his new gig.

The Colts had famously released Manning because of concerns that a neck injury might turn the quarterback into a shell of his former self. They moved on, staking their future on Andrew Luck.

When coach Jim Caldwell struggled to win games, his solution was to ax his entire defensive staff, which included Maniskas.

The latter had joined the Colts at the request of his former defensive coach at the University of Pittsburgh, Larry Coyer. Ironically, Coyer had come to Indy from Denver.

So Maniskas, who played football at Pittston Area and who had left his wife, Kristen, behind in Harrisburg to pursue his NFL dream, went back home.

He put his family, which today includes Kristen and their 16-month-old son, Zachary, ahead of any ideas of chasing another NFL job.

Shortly after the birth of his son, Maniskas interviewed for a position with the Minnesota Vikings. Then Kristen developed serious complications from the pregnancy, resulting in a 40-day hospital stay.

"I couldn't leave. It was one of those life-or-death circumstances. I decided I would stick around here and (return to) coaching high school football," said Maniskas, who previously served as an assistant on then head coach Bob Folk's staff at Newport.

He had already left his pregnant wife at home while working for the Colts.

He spoke with other coaches, including Coyer, who had to move his three children numerous times while coaching in the pros.

"You get a different perspective. I didn't want to do that to my son every year for 18 years, move him from school to school, and tell my wife we have to pack up again.

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