John J. “Red’’ McManus, who built a strong basketball program at St. Ambrose Academy (now Assumption High School) before moving on to bigger things, passed away Tuesday at age 88.
McManus, a graduate of both the academy and St. Ambrose University, had eight consecutive winning seasons at what is now Assumption from 1950-58, compiling 119-45 record. His 1955 team finished third in the state tournament and he also coached the Knights to a state baseball title in 1954.
McManus then spent a year as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa before becoming the head basketball coach and athletic director at Creighton. He went 138-118 from 1959-69 and took the Blue Jays to the NCAA Tournament in 1962 and '64. He was inducted into Creighton’s athletic hall of fame in 1979 and remained close to the school’s programs in the years that followed.
Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen referred to McManus “as one of the greatest Blue Jays of all-time.’’ The school’s current basketball coach, Greg McDermott, posted a comment on Twitter, calling McManus “a leader of men and a friend to many.’’