Former Fort Lee High School Athlete Now Head Soccer Coach
Demba Mane, a member of the Fort Lee Public School District’s custodial staff, was among the fall sports coaches appointed by the school board this week, and he’s got some big shoes to fill as a first-year varsity head coach.
The Fort Lee Board of Education Monday appointed coaches for the 2012-2013 fall sports season at its regular business meeting, and one former Fort Lee High School student and current member of the school district’s custodial staff couldn’t have been happier.
Demba Mane waited toward the back of the high school library, where the meeting took place, for the school board to get to the part of the meeting when members vote on resolutions. That’s because one, listed under “personnel” on the agenda, would make him the new head coach of the Fort Lee Bridgemen varsity soccer team if approved.
The resolution passed, meaning Mane will take over for longtime head soccer coach Bob Ciccone, who stepped down last year after 23 years on the soccer coaching staff and 15 as head coach.
Mane, who has 10 years experience coaching sports, including girls track and girls freshman basketball, in addition to serving as an assistant coach for the boys soccer team, has some big shoes to fill.
Ciccone, whose overall soccer coaching record with Fort Lee was 161-97-15, was named Big North Coach of the Year last season, and his team won the Big North American Division title.
After being appointed to replace Ciccone, Mane described his feelings as “excited and eager.”
“Because it means that all the hard work as an assistant under Coach Ciccone has paid off,” Mane said. “At the same time, I am extremely excited that I am able to be a head coach in the same program that I played in high school; not a lot of coaches are able to say that.”
A native of Guinea-Bissau on the western coast of Africa, Mane, who came to the U.S. with his diplomat parents in 1991 just a month prior to his freshman year in high school, said he’s already put some of his players to work.
”We started [practicing] in late June,” Mane said. “We have consistently had a good turnout. I expect us to be competitive and enjoy the experience.”
Mane keeps it simple when it comes to coaching, describing his philosophy as follows:
“Work hard and come to practice every day, be consistent in play and attitude and always have fun.”
The new head soccer coach also talked about what he’s learned as an assistant over the years and how he can apply that to his new role, saying he expects the transition to be a smooth one.
“I was an assistant coach for 10 years in the Fort Lee program,” Mane said. “I have learned from Coach Ciccone the importance of discipline and organization. I expect the transition to go well, as the kids already know me and how I work.”
Just starting out as a head coach and taking over for someone who was so successful means in part that Mane isn’t under a lot of pressure to make changes—at least not in the short term.
“I would like to link up my program with the town's rec. soccer program,” he said. “That's the future.”
As a Class II, Step 1 head coach, Mane will earn a stipend of $7,829, but for now Head Coach Mane, it’s not about the money.
“The most rewarding part of coaching is working with kids and watching them improve,” he told Patch in December. “High school sports give one many rewarding memories, and I hope to help kids become successful students, athletes and adults.”
See the table below for a complete list of fall sports coaches appointed by the Fort Lee BOE Monday.
|Daniel Bautista||Soccer||Boys Assistant Coach||II||2||$6,524|
|Courtney Baiardi||Tennis||Girls Head Coach||III||1||$4,893|
|Brandon Barron||Soccer||Girls Assistant Coach||II||1||$5,955|
|Daniel Cirone||Football||Assistant Coach||I||2||$7,148|
|Edmund Garrison||Cross Country||Head Coach||II||2||$8,975|
|George Hill||Football||Assistant Coach||I||2||$7,148|
|Kelly Horton||Volleyball||Assistant Coach||II||2||$6,524|
|Colin Hourigan||Football||Assistant Coach||I||2||$7,148|
|Steve Klapach||Soccer||Girls Assistant Coach||II||2||$6,524|
|Demba Mane||Soccer||Boys Head Coach||II||1||$7,829|
|Brian McCarthy||Soccer||Boys Assistant Coach||II||1||$5,955|
|Calogero Pagano||Football||Assistant Coach||I||2||$7,148|
|James Puliatte||Volleyball||Assistant Coach||II||2||$6,524|
|Michael Raftery||Football||Assistant Coach||I||2||$7,148|
|Barbara Schwartzfarb||Cross Country||Assistant Coach||II||2||$6,524|
|Billy Straub||Football||Head Coach||I||2||$10,049|
|Gregory Tavoularis||Soccer||Boys Assistant Coach||II||2||$6,524|
|Philip Zappel||Soccer||Girls Head Coach||II||2||$8,975|
|John Ziemba||Volleyball||Head Coach||II||2||$8,975|