Cal Poly Hall of Fame footballer Dick Mannini dies at 88
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif .– Richard (Dick) Mannini, a two-time starter on three championship football teams at Cal Poly who went on to coach at Saint Mary’s, Stanford, San Jose State and San Francisco State, died Wednesday in Sonora, California, with kidney failure.
Mannini was 88 years old.
Born in 1933, Mannini served in the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1954 after graduating from high school, with three periods of service in Korea. He was an attacking fullback and defensive linebacker at Cal Poly from 1956 to 1958.
These three teams compiled a record of wins and losses of 24-5, including 8-1 in 1957 and 9-1 in 1958. He was named the team’s best attacking full-back of 1958 (Clarence Brown Award), the Most Inspirational (Charles Hardy Memorial Award) and won the Bob Mott Award for Best Graduate in Physical Education.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1959, Mannini began his coaching career at Chowchilla High School before becoming defensive coordinator at Allan Hancock College, assisting John Madden. The Bulldogs were 23-6 in the three seasons Mannini coached. He was also the head coach of Santa Maria High School, winning three league titles and a 27-5 record.
Mannini then built the football program from scratch at Rio Hondo College, winning four straight league titles in eight seasons and reaching the state playoff semi-finals twice.
He was a defensive coordinator for three years at San Jose State before serving for eight years as head coach and assistant athletic director at Saint Mary’s College, compiling a 45-23-1 record from 1977 to 1984. After an unbeaten and tied season in 1982, Mannini was inducted into the Saint Mary’s Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2008. He joined the Cal Poly Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mannini went on to coach defense under Jack Elway and Dennis Green at Stanford, coaching five NFL rookies, before becoming head football coach and athletic director at San Francisco State. He retired in 1997 and spent most of his retirement in Twain Harte, California.
Mannini was invited by Madden to his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame and was a life member of the American Football Coaches Association.
âThe passing of Richard Mannini is a great loss to our community of Saint Mary’s,â said Athletics Vice President Mike Matoso. “He was one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the program. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”
Mannini is survived by her three daughters, Jan Ertola, Lisa Schultz and Denise Walker, as well as eight grandchildren and several great grandchildren. His wife of 58 years, Sandy, who worked as a secretary at Cal Poly in the 1950s and 1960s, where they met, died in 2016.
The services are on hold.