A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Coach Manuel now considers himself to be a "full blooded" Texan. A natural athlete, he starred as a shortstop, quarterback, and point guard at Northern High School and in 1994 was inducted into the Northern High School Sports Hall of Fame. Manuel earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in education from Western Michigan University, where he was captain of the baseball team and was selected to the Mid-American All Conference Team. His first Houston area head baseball coaching position was at Davis High School and in 1997 he was inducted into the Milby High School Baseball Hall of Fame as a former coach.
Those who know him recognize Rocky Manuel as a devoted, caring, and sensitive family man. His wife of twenty-nine years, Lisa, an athlete in her own right, was inducted into her high school Hall of Fame in 2000. She teaches high school in the Cy-Fair Independent School District. They have three children. Robert, who played at Sam Houston State University is now pitching in the Red Sox organization. His daughter Patricia, a former Bellaire Varsity Volleyball and Softball player, is a kindergarten teacher at Gregg Elementary School in Houston, while his youngest daughter, Marissa, hung up her Bellaire cheerleader pompoms, is a Texas Tech grad and is now a teacher in the Houston area.
Coach Manuel holds a special place in his heart for his high school coach Dave Reeves, his college coach Fred Decker, as well as Don Jackson and the late John Rapacz, who had the vision to hire Rocky for his first coaching position. Finally, Coach Manuel acknowledges his father, his best coach and friend, the late Robert Manuel. As Coach tells all of his players, your best coach is always "your dad." Robert Manuel was Rockys' best fan. In his retirement in Houston he never missed a game, as he rooted for Rocky and the Cards. Robert Manuel left us all with a genuine feeling of love and devotion toward his family that each of us would be proud to emulate.
Bellaire Baseball is Coach Rocky P. Manuel. He wears his feelings on "his sleeve," and his love for the game and his players are his life. All who he has touched are fortunate. As is true of all great coaches, the discipline, dedication and just plain hard work that he demands of his players year round reveals upon graduation a love, respect and friendship that lasts a lifetime. All may not be major leaguers in baseball, but Coach Manuel's goal is for them to be major leaguers in life. So here's a "tip of the hat" and thanks to coach Rocky Manuel, "the best of the best."
BY THE NUMBERS
* 20 years in BHS (since 1991)
* Over 900 total career wins
* Over 600 career wins with BHS
* Winning percentage: 82.04%
* Average # wins per season: 29.4 (highest 39 - 08’)
* 3 trips (94’, 99’, 08’) to State tournament
* 2 State championships
- 94' Bellaire over Corpus Christi Moody (2-1)
- 99' Bellaire over Duncanville (13-2)
BHS ranking at some point during the baseball season:
- State: 10 years ranked #1
- Nation: 7 years ranked #1
* USA TODAY - 1999 National Coach of the Year
* Collegiate baseball - Coach of the Year
* American Baseball Association - Coach of the Year
* Texas Sportswriters Association - Coach of the Year
* All Greater Houston - Coach of the Year
* EASTON - National Coach of the Year
* Texas High School Coach of the Year
* NHSBCA District 6 Coach of the Year
* HISD Coach of the Year
* 15th Annual RBI Foundation High School Coach of the Year