PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles High School has selected a builder of bodies to be its next molder of men.
Troy Mann, 40, an assistant coach of the 2017 Roughriders football team, and a physical trainer and owner of Fitness West in Port Angeles, has been hired to lead the team.
Mann is a 1996 graduate and former football player for Clallam Bay. He earned a bachelors’ degree in exercise physiology from Central Washington and played some semipro football for the Olympic Peninsula Eagles before moving on to coach in the Future Riders youth football program and with Port Angeles.
Mann is married to Kelly Mann, an emergency room nurse, and the couple have three children ages 14, 10 and 4.
Port Angeles Athletic and Activities director Dwayne Johnson described Mann as “task-oriented, enthusiastic and comprehensive.”
“Coach Mann is committed to his community and brings a winning attitude that will spill over to the student athletes in the football program,” Johnson said. “Mann understands progressions and fitness levels that students can attain. He is a great fit for the Roughrider Football program. We are excited about the potential that he brings to the program.”
Mann’s hiring, which was approved by the Port Angeles School Board at its meeting last Thursday, ends a search that began soon after the December resignation of previous coach Bret Curtis.
Curtis went 4-23 in three seasons as the head coach of the Roughriders, including a 3-6 record in 2017 that saw Port Angeles snap a 17-game losing streak.
Many contributors from the 2017 team are expected to return and the forward momentum from last season’s campaign is what Mann is seeking to maintain in his first year in charge at the high school level.
“The bond that we created with the kids, that was a huge step in the correct direction as far as trying to better this program,” Mann said. “We didn’t know who would want to step in and take things on and I felt that [2017 volunteer assistant] coach Jered Reynolds and I were a big part of the change in the culture and the attitude, so I put my name in the hat.”
Mann said he has been working with a group of Rider football players in the weight room almost since the 2017 season wrapped.
“I’ve worked with the kids since November conducting an offseason weight and strength and conditioning program,” Mann said.
“We’ve started planning and developing a program and I am working on building a staff right now. I have some good people in mind and I’m hoping to get that finalized soon.”
TeeJay Johnson, a Riders’ defensive tackle who will be a senior this fall, loves the hire.
“I think its one of the best moves PA has made in a long time,” Johnson said. “He’s an all-around great guy. He has great character, he’s a great coach and he believes in us, he belives in hard work and belives in what we can accomplish.
“We haven’t had coaches since November and he’s opened his arms, opened his day up to us for training and you can tell he wants us to be the best people we can be.”
Mann said building up the program’s roster has been his initial focus.
“Numbers … I want to get the numbers up there,” he said. “I want more kids involved and I think that’s already happening. You win a couple games and it gets kids interested.”
He feels his nearly two decades worth of experience as a physical trainer will help build his players both physically and mentally.
“I want to create accountability and I want the kids to know that they need to be the best in everything they do — not just on the football field but in the classroom, at home. Whatever hat you are wearing I want them to know they need to be proud of what they produce.
“That’s where my specialty is. I’ve been working with folks for 18 years getting them out of their comfort zone, changing their lifestyle, changing their diet. We all stop playing football at one point, but if you have a good foundation you can really set yourself up for success.”
He’s created social media accounts on Instagram (roughriders_football) and Twitter (Roughriders_FB) to connect with kids and the community.
Another way that Mann envisions success for Port Angeles is bringing together the youth and middle school football programs.
“I think it’s real important that we marry all the programs together,” Mann said. “I want to get the community involved with thee entire process. The famous saying is ‘It takes a village to raise a child and it will take a village to make this program successful.
“So we want to offer clinics for little league coaches and stay in the same terminology and use the same schemes all the way through. There can be different playbooks sure, but if the terminology is the same it will help the kids learn and adopt much faster.
“And we’ll invite the middle school coaches up to our summer practices in May. Come help, come learn our style, come see what techniques we will be using. We all can learn from each other and make each other great.
Scheme-wise, it all depends.
“We really have to fit our offense and defense around the athletes that we have,” Mann said. I want to be able to utilize our athletes and get them on the field.
“We have a lot of interest, there’s a lot of talk about more students coming out to play, and I’m excited to see that. And once they get out there I think the kids will really enjoy themselves.”
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]