Creighton has learned the sad news this evening that former Bluejay head men's basketball coach John J. "Red" McManus has passed away. McManus was 88.
McManus was head coach of Creighton's men's basketball team as it rose to national prominence from 1959-69, including NCAA Tournament bids in 1962 and 1964. He led the program to a 138-118 mark on the sideline, and was a 1979 inductee into the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame.
Among the players McManus coached were Paul Silas and Bob Portman. It was during his tenure that Creighton began playing all its home contests at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. When the University played its final regular-season game at the Civic in 2003, it was McManus at center stage as he flipped the switch to "turn out the lights" in postgame festivities.
He remained close to the program, continuing to make several road trips a year with the team, and was still referred to as "Coach" by recent Creighton men's basketball mentors Dana Altman and Greg McDermott. In 2012, McDermott invited McManus to practice for his 87th birthday, where the team serenaded him with "Happy Birthday".
"Red McManus will be remembered as one of the greatest Bluejays of all-time," said Creighton Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen. "His passion for life is something we'll cherish with fondness as we remember all that he did within the Omaha community and for Creighton."