2006 Ken Manning  Lancaster - Westby.jpgKen Manning was born in Fort Mammoth, New Jersey to David and Alma Manning and given the name David Kenneth Manning, Jr. States Ken, "I have always been proud to have Dad's name but I also knew something was up if Mom called for me using my full name! My parents have always encouraged me and been there for me, both physically and spiritually. Without them I would not have had the competitiveness or courage to attempt all that I have done."

Ken wrestled for Ithaca High School (1974), UWC-Richland (1976), and UW-Platteville (1979). Wrestling was the sport that was to help him with football and eventually grew to be his favorite due to its rewards, internal pride of accomplishment, and grounding nature.

In 1979 Ken became a Vocational Agricultural Instructor and assistant wrestling coach at Lancaster Community Schools. In 1981 Ken became the head coach and asked his good friend and co-worker Chuck Rasmussen to be his assistant. For twelve more years they built Lancaster into one of the premier Division II school powers. Lancaster was consistently ranked in the top ten over those years, capturing two State Runner-up trophies' (1989, 1993) and a State Championship (1990). 

In the summer of 1993 Ken and his family moved to Westby where he became the Guidance Counselor and wrestling head coach for Westby Area High School. "This was not an easy decision as we left behind many great friends and a solid program, yet, the excitement of becoming a counselor and trying to build another program eventually won out," stated Ken. Ken was joined by assistant coach Mike Marr the following year and, they too, quickly became good friends with the same goal in mind. Westby's program was on the rise as they won many conference and regional championships. In 2001 Westby participated in the State Team Tournament making Ken one of just a few coaches to take two separate teams to wrestling's final four.

During Ken's twenty-four years of coaching he has coached 37 state qualifiers, 24 state place-winners, including 4 State Runner-ups and 5 State Champions. Ken coached two teams to the State Team Championships with Lancaster (1993 - 2nd) and Westby (2001) and won many team invitational championships with both schools, including the prestigous Bi-State Classic.

Throughout the years Ken has been very active in other aspects of wrestling. The SWAL/SWC Wrestling Tournament was the brainchild of Chuck and Ken. "Chuck and I started talking one day about how great that type of tournament would be and the more we talked the more we decided that this just had to take place. I think Chuck knew that I was crazy enough to pursue this endeavor." A few years later Ken was instrumental with the Mississippi/Coulee Wrestling Invitational being born and it too continues to be a very successful stage for wrestling. Ken is a WIAA official and works as many matches as he can as long as they do not interfere with Westby wrestling events, he someday hopes to officiate in the State Tournament. He has participated in the Badger State Games along with winning some National AAU age group tournaments. He has traveled with Larry Marchionda to Japan coaching the Wisconsin Youth Team and had the privilege of taking all three of his children throughout those years. He has been active with the WWF as an exchange team coach, National Dual Meet and individual coach for the Oklahoma and Fargo tournaments, a district representative, and Vice Chairman. Ken has represented the WWCA as a 7% committee member, on the WIAA Rules Advisory Committee, District Rep, Awards Chairman, President Elect, President, Past President, and currently serves as a co-chair for the Fall Clinic as well as chairing the WWCA Yearbook.

Ken, the Principal at WAHS, lives in Westby with his wife Lori and two step sons Chris and Nick. His daughter Jill and husband Chris, expecting their first child in November, also live in Westby, while son Paul attends Concordia College where he is a senior majoring in Physical Education, Health, and Adaptive P. E. with plans to teach and coach wrestling someday. Youngest son Tyler is a senior at Westby and plans to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice after graduation.

Ken attends Westby United Methodist Church and is active in other community events. He still participates in two softball leagues, a coed league with his daughter and an over 30 league with some of his colleagues. Ken coaches the city league baseball team where his step sons participate in during the summer months. One may even see him running sometime during the day along the streets of Westby.

Ken states, "There are so many reasons for me to believe that I have been blessed. Both Lancaster and Westby allowed me to work with some great young people, as well as some fantastic parents. To come into these two communities and build the friendships that are still going on today has been an awesome experience." 

"I am very humbled to have this honor bestowed onto me. To be inducted into the George Martin Hall of Fame, with all of the great people who are honored and with those being inducted tonight, goes beyond anything I could have imagined. I wish to thank Bob Skubal and the committee for thinking of me. One can not do this alone. It takes a "family" effort for this to happen. I thank the wrestlers, parents, communities, assistant coaches, and school district administration of Lancaster and Westby for their belief in me as they gave me the opportunity to work with their most prized resource, their children. If not for all of you I would not be where I am today. "