Dave Manwiller to be inducted into Hall of Fame

posted Tue, Sep 12, 2017 by Jon Buzby

Dave Manwiller will become the 28th member of the SODE Hall of Fame.

Dave Manwiller spent his entire professional career teaching special education. And when he retired after 33 years as an educator and football coach, he decided to keep making a difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities as the Area Director for the Kent Wild Kats.

“After 33 years of teaching special education, the continuation of involvement with Special Olympics seemed natural,” he said. “No matter how a day goes, it always gets better when I attend practices, summer camp, the plunge or any other event.”

The next event Dave attends will be one during which he will receive the organization's highest honor, when he is inducted into the Special Olympics Delaware Hall of Fame at the Night of Heroes on October 11. 

“This is an honor I never dreamed of receiving," he admitted. 

Dave served as the Charlton School’s Special Olympics program director for more than 20 years, coordinating the school’s involvement in several sports including soccer, bowling, basketball, roller skating, and track and field. He was pivotal in keeping the school involved in the program through staff changes and budget cuts, and leading up to and even after his official retirement, helped ensure a smooth transition for his successor.

“He saw to it that all students were able to participate at some level if they wanted,” said Merry Jones, whose daughter attended Charlton. 

As an Area Director, Dave oversees every aspect of the Kent Wild Kats including coach and athlete recruitment and retention, scheduling, family involvement, and several other aspects that often go unnoticed. He is also the first to pitch in whenever asked, whether it be serving as a counselor at summer camp or working on the operations team at the Polar Bear Plunge.

“No matter how big or small the request, he addresses every concern from our coaches, athletes and parents with sincerity and expertise,” Jasper and Vanessa Little agreed. “His positive attitude, level-headedness, and great leadership skills set a wonderful example for all to follow and reflect greatly upon Special Olympics Delaware and the Kent Wild Kats.”

“I am very humbled to be honored with a Hall of Fame induction,” Dave said. “It is a reward and honor in itself to watch an athlete smile or get a hug from an athlete who is just genuinely happy to be a part of our program."