Jan. 21, 1998
Manner Ready for Life after College
By Christina Tecson
Five years ago when senior forward Derek Manner received a phone call from
a Notre Dame assistant basketball coach to see if he was interested in
playing for the Irish, Manner didn't even know where Notre Dame was.
Like many high school students, Manner had not yet thought about where he
would attend college. He didn't have time to think about the future and
where it would lead him. He enjoys the moment, appreciates the people and
things that are in his life at the present.
As a senior at Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, Texas, Manner earned
all-state honors from Texas Basketball and Texas Association of Basketball
Coaches, and led his team to a 25-6 record and district championship. In
his junior and senior years, Manner was averaging more than twenty points
After hearing about the opportunities Notre Dame offered, Manner quickly
checked a map, and started thinking about his future. The first in his
class to verbally commit to Notre Dame, Manner made the decision early in
his senior year after a weekend visit.
"I had to go up here and see it before I really knew," says Manner, "But
once they started contacting me and I looked into what Notre Dame was all
about and what they had to offer, they were definitely strong on the list.
"Notre Dame had an overall package. It had good academics and good
athletics and it just seemed like the right place. Both of those were very
attractive and both of them are strong here. I thought it would be a good
opportunity. Once I came here with my parents and we looked around, and
were up here for the weekend, I pretty much knew that this was the place I
Manner knew, even then, that the Notre Dame experience would impact his
"You see a lot of people come in their freshman year and they've either
been a good athlete or a good scholar," says Manner. "It helps make people
more down-to-earth and become more rounded at Notre Dame because they meet
people that are just like them and they help you become a better person."
But even Manner didn't know then, who he would meet or how that would
change his life when his days at Notre Dame were over.
"I think that it's even gone beyond my expectations as far as what I've
gotten out of this place and the opportunities it's given me," says Manner.
As he looks back on his college years, Manner's good times far outweigh the
"I didn't really have a hard time up here when I got here," Manner says.
"The most difficult thing was my freshman year here with basketball, just
learning a different style of play, learning how to mentally and physically
prepare and get used to playing at the collegiate level and competing
against the teams we've competed against. That was probably one of the
tougher things for me to adjust to."
His mental toughness and play have only improved since. Last year, as a
junior, Manner was one of three Irish players to start all 30 games and was
the fourth-leading scorer on the team at 7.0 points per game and 5.1
rebounds per contest.
Derek Manner was one of three players to start all 30 games last season. (File Photo)
This season he remains consistent with his numbers, averaging 7.1 points
and is the third leading rebounder on the team averaging 6.1 boards per
contest. However, Manner's biggest asset to the team this year has been his
leadership and maturity, serving as co-captain along with Pat Garrity.
But ask Manner about his most memorable experiences at Notre Dame and he
won't talk about basketball. He won't mention last week's win over West
Virginia, where he scored a career-high 15 points and 10 rebounds against a
nationally-ranked team. He hesitates to select his double-digit performance
against Kentucky in 1995, as one of his personal best games because the
The experience that makes Manner smile the most is meeting his fiancee,
Carrie Eglinton, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1996.
"Meeting Carrie is probably the most memorable thing and something I'll
remember the rest of my life," says Manner.
The couple met on Super Bowl Sunday two years ago. Manner was at a friend's
apartment to watch the football game when the two struck up a conversation.
"We knew each other previously, just by running into each other and knowing
the same people, but we never really talked or anything until Super Bowl
weekend," Manner recalls. "We were both in there with everybody else, but
we just sat there and talked. I don't think I watched the entire second
half of the football game. We talked for six or eight hours that evening
and that just kind of started it off. That's when we really felt like we
were good for each other."
Eglinton, who now lives in Connecticut, agrees. She believes the same
qualities that make Manner a good basketball player, are what makes their
"He does such a good job with basketball, but he does such a good job with
everything he does," says Eglinton. "He is so dedicated to everything.
"Sometimes it's hard being apart now, but Derek makes it a lot easier
because he is so dedicated. He gives everything a full commitment and puts
in every effort. It makes our relationship so easy."
One year after they first met, just before returning for the second half of
his junior year, Manner proposed.
"The reason that I thought we were ready and that this was a good time is
that I never in my entire life wanted to do everything I could to make
someone happy," says Manner. "With her, if there's anything out there, I
want to make sure she's happy, almost at any cost. That's when I realized
this is somebody who is real special to me, and to make me want to get
The couple will marry in mid-June.
For now, Manner will concentrate on the season.
"My goal for the team is to go to the NCAA tournament," says Manner.
"That's the goal for the season. I don't have any individual goals that I
feel I want to do as far as basketball goes. The only goal for me is to do
as much as I can to help the team get to the tournament."
Enjoying his last year at Notre Dame, Manner shares an apartment with
teammate Pat Garrity. He delights in his final days as a bachelor when he
can cook his favorite dish, pork chops and green beans, whenever he wants.
Manner admits that the engagement has already affected his lifestyle and
"There's a little more responsibility," says Manner. "You have a job and
you're going to have a life so you have to start thinking about the future
more. I can't joke around here and say, 'Oh, I'll figure out what happens
after I graduate' when I'm getting married and have a responsibility to
Unlike his transition from high school to college, Manner knows exactly
what to expect when he graduates this May. An accounting major in the
College of Business Administration, Manner already has a job lined up with
an accounting firm in Stamford, Conn., 15 minutes from Eglinton.
Leaving Notre Dame, Manner will miss his friends and teammates that he's
grown close to. He still takes one day at a time and enjoys life as it
happens. But graduating from Notre Dame, Manner doesn't mind thinking
about his future.
"I'm ready to be done with classes and homework and that kind of stuff and
go out, get married and have a job, have more of a real life type of
responsibility," says Manner. "That's exciting to me. I look forward to all
the challenges ahead."