Former Overland football coaching legend Tony Manfredi is set to be inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The organization announced the five members of the 2017 Hall of Fame class — its 54th class of inductees — and it included Manfredi, who spent close to three highly-successful decades as head coach of the Trailblazers.
The Pennsylvania native had a 172-88 record as Overland’s head coach and guided the program to the postseason 13 times. The Trailblazers made it to the state championship game three times and won the school’s only state football championship in 1993 with a team that included an eventual NFL player in Brian Kelly. Overland also played for the state championship in 1995 and 2003 as well.
Many of Manfredi’s former assistant coaches have gone on to success at various programs around the Cherry Creek School District and elsewhere. Included in that group is Mike Schmitt, who guided Eaglecrest to an 11-1 season in 2016.
The CHSCA 2017 Hall of Fame class also includes former Chaparral High School volleyball coach T.J. Ellis, former Fowler High School girls basketball coach Greg Fruhwirth, former North Park High School volleyball/basketball coach Randy Hodgson and former Classical Academy High School cross country coach Alan Versaw.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast (3155 S. Vaughn Way) in Aurora. Ticket prices are $42 per person for the event, which includes a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Reservation forms can be found at www.colohsca.org or by emailing the organization’s executive director, John Burke, at [email protected]
The last Aurora coaches to go into the CHSCA Hall of Fame came in 2015 when now-retired Grandview volleyball coach Patty Childress and current Regis Jesuit boys basketball coach Ken Shaw made the cut.
Past Aurora inductees also include Bob Caviness (1988), Guy Gibbs (1985), George Barrows (1971) and Bill Hinkley (1968).
Manfredi — a former assistant coach at Mullen before joining the Overland staff as an assistant in 1979 — became only the second head football coach since Overland opened in 1978 when he was hired to follow Ken Milano. He took over as interim head coach during the 1981 season and got the job permanently in 1982 — a “no-brainer” of a choice according to Tony Schenbeck, who was Overland’s athletic director at the time — in time to help the program get onto its feet when it finally had full senior classes.
The Trailblazers reached the playoffs for the first time in 1984 and made it a habit after that, battling toe to toe with Centennial League rivals like Cherry Creek.
Manfredi stepped away from the program after the 2010 season to attend to the health of his wife, Sheila, who he has been married to for 37 yards. The couple has four children: Anthony, Kella, Tamara and Michael.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel