Jackie Manuel, a tri-captain on North Carolina’s 2005 national championship team and one of the top defenders in Tar Heel history, will reunite with his former coach C.B. McGrath at UNCW.
Manuel will join McGrath’s staff as an assistant coach after one season as an aide for Matt Lottich at Valparaiso. Manuel becomes the second member of McGrath’s staff following the appointment of Doug Esleeck on Wednesday.
“Jackie was a great player for us at North Carolina and I’m very happy to have him on our staff,” said McGrath. “He’s seen a lot of basketball and knows what it takes to be a winner.
“Jackie works very hard, loves working out with and developing young players, and wants them to be successful. He hung his hat on his defense, but he will do anything he can to make the program what it can be.”
Manuel, 34, moved to Valpo in April of 2016 after spending four years as an assistant coach under former teammate Wes Miller at UNC Greensboro. In 2015-16, the Spartans collected their first postseason bid since 2002 when they advanced to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). During Manuel’s four years in the Gate City, five Spartans earned All-Southern Conference honors, including three First-Team selections.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to work with Coach McGrath and come back home,” said Manuel. “I played for Coach McGrath in Chapel Hill and worked with him in 2011-12, so I know he has a brilliant mind with high expectations for winning.
“I expect us to continue the winning tradition and I want to do my best to help Coach McGrath be successful. I’ve been known for my defensive mindset and I’ve been playing basketball for awhile, so I have an understanding and feeling for the game. I’m also familiar with the area from a recruiting standpoint and will continue to build and cultivate relationships in North Carolina and bring in great players.
“UNCW has a wonderful program and it will be a terrific place to raise my family. We’ve traveled to the area a lot and really like it.”
Before taking the position at UNCG, the West Palm Beach, Fla., native served one season as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at North Carolina in 2011-12. The Tar Heels won 32 games and the ACC regular-season title, advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight in Manuel’s season on staff.
Manuel played professionally for five years before launching his coaching career. He averaged 18.0 points during the 2010-11 campaign for the Miyazaki Shining Suns in Miyazaki, Japan. He spent the previous four seasons in the NBA Development League with the Erie Bayhawks (the minor league affiliate of the New York Knicks), the Iowa Energy (Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards) and the Los Angeles D-Fenders (Los Angeles Lakers).
A 2005 graduate of North Carolina, Manuel earned All-ACC Defensive Team honors in his final two seasons, starting 85-of-126 games over four years in Chapel Hill.
Manuel was inducted into the 2016 Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame after fashioning an outstanding prep career at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach.