Angelina College held a press conference to introduce the new men’s basketball and men and women’s soccer coaches to the community Thursday in Shands Gymnasium.
Kyle Manary is the new men’s basketball coach for AC and Freddy Drago is the new men and women’s soccer coach. Drago will be creating an entirely new soccer program for AC as the decision to create the program was made earlier this year.
Manary grew up in Livingston and played basketball until suffering a career ending injury. He then graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and became a coach there for a number of years.
“We have already signed six guys already,” Manary said. “Try outs will be coming up, and I want as many local kids as possible.”
He has coaching experience at Frank Phillips College in the Panhandle and St. Mary’s College of California and with the Dallas Mavericks. Manary also worked with 120 NBA players in player development as well as working with Nike.
Drago grew up in Mexico and played soccer at McMurry University and professionally in Mexico. He coached men and women’s soccer at Cisco College in West Texas for the last nine seasons, and he started the men’s soccer team at Cisco.
Drago said he feels prepared to create the new soccer program at AC. “I did it at Cisco on the boys side,” Cisco said. “It’s a great challenge and it doesn’t scare me.”
Both Manary and Drago have plans to get as much of the community involved in AC Athletics as possible.
“So far what we have encountered in the community is awesome,” Drago said. He explained how taking the job was a “no brainer” because of how much community support there is for the creation of the new teams.
Drago plans to instill discipline, respect, hard work, and most importantly, love in his new players. He wants his teams to think of themselves as brothers and sisters.
Manary plans to elevate and build on what the men’s basketball program has done before in all facets: academics, on the floor, and in the community. He recalled a time when he was younger and the old gym at AC was “full of people. Everyone came out to support the team.” He wants to bring that enthusiasm back to AC and teach his players to build people up and put a smile on the faces of everyone they meet.
Both Manary and Drago continually spoke about how their wives and families are very supportive and excited for their new positions.
Manary is married to Heather and they have three children, Avery, 6, Ava, 3, and Patrick Kade, 3 months. Heather Manary is a second grade teacher at Kurth Elementary. Drago’s wife Stephanie played soccer for Southeastern Louisianna University.