October 4, 1976
He still has Maryland I football in his blood, and on fall Saturdays when the Terrapins are playing at Byrd Stadium, you can find Mark Manges in section 208, row G, seat 2. Not that you won't hear him first. The 42-year-old Manges is the most vociferous supporter on the club level, cheering with the same passion that fueled his play as a tackle-busting quarterback for Maryland from 1974 to '77.
Manges grew up in a football family in a football town, Cumberland, Md. Though he was recruited by the national powers, he went to Maryland with the hope of lifting it to prominence. He did just that as a junior, in 1976. The Terrapins became more popular in the state that year than crab cakes, winning their first 11 games to earn the No. 6 ranking before losing to Houston 30-21 in the Cotton Bowl. "The support came out of nowhere, and it was everywhere," recalls Manges. "Getting to experience that was the reason I chose Maryland."
The 6'3", 220-pound Manges passed for 1,145 yards in '76 on only 139 attempts. He rushed for 448 yards and blasted holes that helped his running backs gain many more. "We ran the sprint option, and we were a tough, ball-control team," he says. "Coach [Jerry] Claiborne had a simple rule for his quarterbacks: If you can't block, you can't play."
Because of a broken right hand Manges missed half the 1977 season, in which the Terrapins went 8-4. He lasted one year in the NFL as a backup with the St. Louis Cardinals and then worked a variety of sales jobs until an old rival hired him in 1989. Former Syracuse quarterback Bill Hurley had just started the Collegiate Scouting Network, a national service that helps high school athletes get college scholarships and financial aid packages. For nine years Manges has canvassed Maryland and Northern Virginia for the network. "I love that I'm helping kids and able to stay in sports," says Manges. "I worked with 125 kids in Maryland last year, and now all of them are playing their sport in college."
Manges lives in Laurel, Md., with his wife, Janie. While he's easygoing most of the time, once he takes his seat at Byrd Stadium, it's as if he's taking snaps again. "I'd call the way I act during the game 'controlled aggression,' " Manges says. "Sometimes I get a little worked up, but I'm just trying to be as supportive as I can."