Warde J. Manuel, who has had a distinguished career in intercollegiate athletics that ranges from being a student-athlete to a director of athletics, became the Director of Athletics at the University of Connecticut in March of 2012.
Manuel, a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan where he played both football and track and field, had most recently been the Director of Athletics at the University at Buffalo for six years.
His first academic year of 2012-13 was a highly successful one for UConn teams, highlighted by the women's basketball team winning the NCAA Championship. In addition, UConn teams from men's soccer, field hockey, women's lacrosse and baseball all took part in NCAA tournament play while the women's diving and men's and women's track and field programs were all represented in NCAA individual championships.
This success more than continued into the 2013-14 academic year as UConn won three national championships for the first time in school history - men's basketball, women's basketball and field hockey. In addition, the men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals.
UConn was just one of four schools nationally that finished in the top ten of the Capital One Cup on both the men's and women's side.
Manuel directed UConn's acceptance into membership of Hockey East, the nation's premier men's ice hockey conference, as the Huskies begin play in the league in 2014-15.
Ground was broken for the UConn Basketball Champions Center in the spring of 2013 and the facility opened in the summer of 2014 to service both the Huskies' men's and women's championship basketball teams.
Manuel oversaw a coaching transition in men's basketball with the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun and the hiring of former Husky student-athlete, NBA player and UConn assistant coach Kevin Ollie.
In December of 2013, Manuel hired former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco as UConn's new football coach.
During his tenure, Manuel also hired new head coaches for the UConn men's and women's ice hockey, volleyball, women's track and field and softball program.
The UConn Division of Athletics once again had an outstanding rate performance in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2014 as all three national championship teams posted a perfect 1000 single-year score while field hockey also had a perfect 1000 four-year score. A total of 14 UConn teams posted perfect single-year scores of 1000 and five had multi-year scores of 1000.
The men's basketball team has had APR scores of 978, 947 and 1000 in the past three years as Manuel has helped develop a comprehensive academic plan for all UConn programs.
Manuel has already become a key leader in the American Athletic Conference and has been named a member of the league's Finance Committee.
Manuel led a 20-sport program at Buffalo and the Bulls enjoyed an unparalleled period of success during his time there from an athletic, academic and community service perspective. Buffalo enjoyed great on-field success during Manuel's time as the football team participated in the 2009 International Bowl and the men's basketball team made postseason appearances in three of the his final seven years. Olympic sports also thrived under Manuel's leadership with accomplishments such as three-straight Dad Vail Regatta titles by the rowing team, six wrestlers earning spots at the 2011 NCAA Championship and the women's tennis team making an appearance in the 2008 NCAA tournament.
Manuel was honored by Sports Business Journal as a 2008 national 40-Under-40 honoree after receiving the same honor from Business First of Buffalo in Fall of 2007. Manuel has served on a number of national and conference committees and boards.
In June of 2007, Manuel accepted the Opportunity Award by all-time tennis great Billie Jean King, as Buffalo was recognized by the Women's Sports Foundation as one of four "standout" colleges and universities in the nation for outstanding achievement in providing equitable athletic opportunities for its female student-athletes.
Prior to his time at Buffalo, he was the assistant and associate director of athletics for the University of Michigan, where he oversaw that school's football and men's basketball programs. In February 1998, he was named an assistant athletic director at Michigan with responsibilities for overseeing operational facets of the university's athletic program. He was named an associate athletic director in September 2000.
Born May 22, 1968, Manuel is a native of New Orleans, who was a high school All-American football player and played for the University of Michigan under its legendary coach, Bo Schembechler. Manuel earned multiple letters and started at defensive end in his sophomore year. His football career was cut short by a neck injury and he subsequently earned two letters on the Wolverines' track and field team.
After graduating from Michigan, Manuel was coordinator of the university's Wade H. McCree, Jr., Incentive Scholars Program from June 1990 to August 1993. The program is a partnership with The President's Council of State Universities and Detroit Public Schools that helps students prepare for higher education at public universities in Michigan. He subsequently worked briefly as an academic advisor with the Georgia Tech Athletic Association before being named assistant athletic director of academic affairs.
In the course of working on a PhD in social work and psychology at Michigan, he earned a master's degree in social work in 1993 and an MBA from Michigan's Ross School of Business in April 2005.
Manuel and his wife, Chrislan, have a daughter, Emma (19), who is in her junior year at UConn, and a son, Evan (15).