Brian McManus completed his milestone 30th season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program in 2016. With a remarkable career record of 484-88-51, he finished the 2016 campaign with the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history. What began as a three-month interim appointment back in 1987, is now officially a three-decade legacy of success.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches at any collegiate level, McManus has compiled the 10th-highest win percentage in NCAA women's soccer history at .816 through 2015. He is tied for fourth among all divisions in wins, fourth in all-time win percentage in Division II history, and third in win percentage among active Division II coaches.
At the conclusion of a 2-1 overtime triumph over Western Washington in an NCAA Division II Championship national quarterfinal in Denver, Colo., on Nov. 16, 2012, McManus attained career victory No. 433, passing Gabe Mejail of Merrimack College (MA) for sole possession of the No. 1 spot all-time among coaches with at least 10 seasons at a Division II school. Through 2015, McManus has three more wins than Mejail.
A Legendary Career
McManus has directed UCSD to seven national championships, with five at the NCAA Division III level and two more Division II crowns. The Tritons have advanced to the national semifinals an incredible 15 times in his 29 years. Under his guidance, UCSD has qualified for the NCAA postseason in all 13 seasons during the Division III days and all but three (2004, 2013, 2014) of 16 years since the move up to Division II, including eight in succession prior to 2013.
McManus' teams went 36-7-2 (.822) in the NCAA Division III Championship between 1987-99 with two runner-up and three third-place finishes alongside five titles, and have since gone 23-10-3 (.681) with two crowns, two runner-up and one third-place effort in 13 Division II installments. The 23 wins rank No. 5 for the Division II tournament behind Franklin Pierce (42), Grand Valley State (36), Metro State (26) and Saint Rose (24).
A three-time NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year honoree, McManus was the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 2001 and the West Region Coach of the Year in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2010 and 2011. He has also received UCSD's Excellence in Coaching Award a total of four times, for 1995-96, 1997-98, 2000-01 and 2012-13.
Through 16 years of Division II and California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) competition, McManus' Tritons have won the CCAA South Division 11 times (out of 14, with divisions no longer utilized) and the CCAA Championship on a record nine occasions, most recently as the reigning champs from 2015. His sides are perfect in CCAA finals, having advanced to nine of them (8-0-1). McManus has earned CCAA Coach of the Year distinction six times, more than any other, in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2016.
Division II Days
The 2015 season saw a welcome end to a first-ever two-year hiatus from the NCAA tournament under McManus, his Tritons turning a No. 4 seed for the CCAA Championship into a ninth banner and subsequent automatic berth. They outscored their three tourney opponents, 10-3. UCSD had been picked to finish seventh in the preseason coaches' poll. Entering the NCAA Championship a winner of six straight and eight of nine, it wound up 15-6-1 following a 2-1 defeat to Seattle Pacific in a driving rainstorm in Bellingham, Wash.
The 2014 squad went 5-0-1 down the stretch, with four of those matches away from home and just a single goal allowed, to snatch an improbable return trip to the CCAA Championship after a lone absence from the event in 2013, out of UCSD's 16 seasons as a league member.
The Tritons reeled off seven straight victories to begin 2012, outscoring opponents 19-3 in the process. In a nailbiting year that ultimately saw UCSD play a program-record 10 overtime matches, going 5-1-4 in such contests, a group of 10 seniors led the squad back atop the CCAA, earning its first league title since 2008 after outlasting No. 7 Sonoma State on penalty kicks in the CCAA Championship final in Carson. UCSD navigated its way through three rounds of the NCAA Championship before avenging its loss to Grand Valley State in the 2010 title match, taking a 2-1 decision in the national semifinals in Evans, Ga., behind second-half strikes by McManus' then-sophomore tandem of Cassie Callahan and Izzy Pozurama. A 77th-minute goal enabled No. 2 West Florida to edge the Tritons for its first national crown. UCSD was left with a 17-3-4 overall mark and a second West Region trophy and national runner-up placement in three years.
UCSD went undefeated during its first 12 games (8-0-4) of 2011, its longest such streak since 1994. The Tritons went on to capture their 10th CCAA South title in school history with a 12-1-3 conference record. McManus earned CCAA Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career and NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. Ranked No. 1 in the West Region for the NCAA tournament, the Tritons were downed by Chico State 1-0 in the second round. UCSD finished the year ranked 19th in the nation with a 13-3-4 overall mark. The team earned the NSCAA All-Academic Team Award with a 3.22 GPA.
McManus led the 2010 UCSD squad to its most wins since 2006 (19-3-3) and first national championship match since 2001, advancing to the NCAA semifinals with upset wins over No. 9 Seattle Pacific and No. 8 St. Edward's. The Tritons knocked off undefeated No. 1 Saint Rose in the national semifinals before falling to No. 5 Grand Valley State in the national championship match. The Tritons did not lose a match between Sept. 19 and Nov. 5, and they rattled off 10 consecutive victories through October.
After directing his 10th UCSD team to a Final Four, McManus was named NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year. In addition, the NCAA honored McManus as coach of the Division III Women's Soccer 25th Anniversary Team. He compiled a 230-28-19 record in 13 seasons at the D-III level while winning five national championships and nine regional titles.
The 2009 Tritons advanced to the West Region championship for the first time since 2006 and finished with a 15-5-2 record. Through the campaign, the Tritons played freshmen and sophomores at 10 of the 11 starting spots. Although UCSD ultimately fell in penalty kicks to Cal State Dominguez Hills, the Tritons were able to host the first, second, third and quarterfinal rounds of the NCAA postseason.
During 2008, the Tritons earned an automatic berth into the NCAA postseason after winning the CCAA Championship on their home field. With a loss in the second round of the West Regional against fourth-ranked Seattle Pacific, UCSD ended its season at 15-4-4.
In 2007, the Tritons won their eighth straight CCAA South Division title with a 9-2-2 league mark, earning another berth into the NCAA tournament.
The 2006 campaign, during which McManus was named CCAA Coach of the Year, witnessed the Tritons repeat as conference champions after UCSD posted a 13-1-2 mark during league play, winning its seventh straight CCAA South Division title.
McManus guided his squad to another CCAA crown in 2005 with a 4-3 victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills on Nov. 6.
In 2004, his team won its fifth straight CCAA South Division title before falling in the semifinals of the CCAA Championship, while in 2003, he guided the Tritons to a fourth successive CCAA title.
After consecutive national titles in UCSD's first two years at the NCAA Division II level, McManus led his squad to a third straight conference crown and an appearance in the Division II Far West Region final in 2002.
Triton Soccer Stadium played host to the CCAA Championship and each round of the NCAA Championship in 2001, with standing-room-only, stadium-record crowds for the national semifinals and final.
Division III Dominance
McManus led the Tritons to a total of five NCAA Division III national championships, including a title in 1999, their final season at the Division III level. Under his direction in Division III, UCSD was the only team in the nation to participate in every NCAA tournament since 1986. In all, the Tritons were crowned NCAA regional champions nine times and national champions five. Remarkably, UCSD lost just one regular-season game to a Division III opponent in the school's history.
In 2002, McManus' squad produced two All-American, four All-West Region and five All-CCAA selections, including the CCAA Freshman of the Year in defender Heather Szafraniec. The 2005 team boasted the CCAA Player of the Year and an NSCAA/adidas All-American in Megan Dickey, along with five All-CCAA and three more NSCAA All-Far West Region honorees.
At least two of McManus' former standout players, Dawn Lee and Kristin Jones, went on to become successful coaches in their own right. The duo, currently guiding the girl's varsity squads at Cathedral Catholic and La Jolla high schools, respectively, have combined for nine CIF San Diego Section Division 3 titles since 2001, facing off in the title contest three times. Jones has also been on McManus' Triton staff for 12 years since concluding her playing career.
McManus, who first came to UC San Diego as an assistant under legendary men's soccer head coach Derek Armstrong in 1986, is a native of Scotland. He played professionally for Raith Rovers and Aberdeen and spent 11 years as a semi-professional player and coach. He also coached semi-pro soccer in Los Angeles, and previously coached the boy's team at Torrey Pines High School.
McManus and his wife, Sandra, are long-time residents of La Jolla. Their son and daughter-in-law are the parents of twin boys.