Manlius High School “Red Devils”

Manlius High School – 1937
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Manlius, Illinois (photo courtesy of Kenneth Rodgers)
Manlius HS Building Identification Stone
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Displayed in Front of Manlius Grade School 2013

The History of the Manlius High School Red Devils

The peaceful village of Manlius and its 375 residents sits approximately 1/2 mile east of Il. Rt. 40 and 4 miles north of Interstate 80.  This is approximately 12 miles northwest of the Bureau County seat of Princeton.

The Manlius school system was started in 1913.  That year the people coerced a student from Buda High School to tranfer to Manlius High School so they could honor a graduating “class” in their first year of existence.  Therefore Laura Rennick serves the distinction of being the first graduate of Manlius High. The Manlius school system also took students from the nearby village of New Bedford (population 100) and produced some incredibly talented and successful athletic teams over the many years it was in existence which will be highlighted furhter on down the page.

In the early 1990s the high schools of Manlius, Walnut, Wyanet, and Buda-Sheffield Western all researched the possibility of consolidating into one school district.  This consolidation effort became a reality in 1995 as the four schools make up what is now known as Bureau Valley High School.  A new school building was built on Il.Rt. 40 just west of Manlius.

The old high school building, pictured above, was demolished in 1997.  The building, originally built in 1920, had the “new addition” on your left, which included a gym, added on in 1931 .  The memories created in the building should live on forever. (School photo and information courtesy of Kenneth Rodgers, MHS Class of 1944)

Manlius High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                     1913

Year HS Building Built:       1920

Year Gym added to HS:      1931

Year closed:                      1995

Year Building Torn  Down:   1997

School nickname                Red Devils

School colors:                    Red, Black, and White

School gym:                       Bollman Fieldhouse, New Bedford

School fight song:               “We’re Loyal To You Manlius”

 We’re loyal to you Manlius High.

                                                We’re red and we’re black, Manlius High.

                                                We’ll back you to stand

                                                ‘Gainst the best in the land

                                                For we know you have sand, Manlius High.

                                                Rah! Rah!

                                                So crack out the ball, Manlius High.

                                                We’re backing you all, Manlius High.

                                                Our team is our fame protector:

                                                On! Boys for we expect a

                                                Victory from you Manlius High!


                                                Che-he, cha-ha, cha-ha-ha-ha,

                                                Manlius High School,

                                                Rah, Rah, RAH!


                                                Fling out that dear old flag of

                                                Red and Black,

                                                Lead on your sons and daughters

                                                Fighting for you

                                                Like men of old, on giants.

                                                Placing reliance, shouting defiance


                                                Amid the broad green plains that nourish our land,

                                                For honest Labor and for Learning we stand.

                                                And unto thee we pledge our heart and our hand,

                                                Dear Alma Mater, Manlius High!


The Red Devil athletes were known throughout the years for their competitive nature.  The Manlius “Red Devils” were known as the “Maroons” until a nickname change occurred in 1940 to the “Red Devils”.

Competing in the old Little Eight (until 1958), Blackhawk (until 1976 –

For more information on the Blackhawk Conference check out John Ballentine’s article on the GREAT CONFERENCES page of this site.), and then Indian Valley Conferences (through its closure), as well as many years ran concurrently in the Bureau Valley Conference,  MHS brought many conference championships as well as some IHSA District and Regional hardware.  The basketball team competed for many years in the then infamous Bollman Fieldhouse in New Bedford.  At one time this gym was THE premier gym in the area, playing host to several Conference tournaments as well as several District and Regional tournaments.  The gym building still stands, now used in a private capacity.

Next to the Bollman Fieldhouse is an older, now unused baseball diamond. It is believed that Red Devil Baseball teams once played there (A side note is that New Bedford hosted a couple of national Softball tournaments in the 1930’s and 1940’s). The more successful teams according the IHSA web site ( are listed below.

Manlius High School Football Field
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Ken Bourquin Field
Bollman Field House
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Home of the Red Devils


1937-38     5 – 7      District Champions                   Coach George Taylor

1938-39   18 – 5      District Champions                   Coach George Taylor

1942-43   20 – 7      District Champions                   Coach Vernon Bohles

1946-47                 Little 8 Conference Champs     Coach George Keist

                             District runner-up

1948-49   13 – 7      Little 8 Conf. Champs (8-0)       Coach Gilbert Veach

1950-51   13 – 11    District Champions                   Coach Richard Zuege

                             Beat LaMoille 44-42

1951-52   22 – 5     District runner-up                      Coach William Gleich

1955-56   26 – 2     Little 8 Conference Champs      Coach Willard Boyer

1956-57   26 – 3     District Champions                    Coach William Jenkins

                            Little 8 Conference Champs

1962-63   20 – 2     District Champions                    Coach William Jenkins

1963-64   22 – 2     Earned State Ranking of 16th   Coach William Jenkins

                            20 – 0 start!

1964-65   21 – 5     District Champions                    Coach Ken Bourquin

1977-78   10 – 8     Bureau Valley Conf. Champs    Coach Con Gursh

1979-80   20 – 5     B.V.C. Champs/IVC 2nd Place   Coach Don Gursh

1980-81   15 – 9     B.V.C. / I.V.C. Champs               Coach Don Gursh

Notable Roundball Athlete

Bill Rudiger – Was one of the leaders of the Manlius teams of the early 1950s.


There are very limited resources on the IHSA website regarding Manlius Red Devil football.  One name speaks VOLUMES for the football program.  Coach Ken Bourquin coached the Red Devil program from 1959 – 1994.  He is listed as one of the top all-time winningest football coaches in IHSA history (164 wins).

There were also many great seasons in the 40s and 50s which have been researched but whose information is unavailable.  It is known some of those teams were inducted to the Bureau County Sports Hall of Fame in the 2001.  If you have information regarding these or any other Red Devil teams that were conference champs or had only 1 or no losses please drop us a line.

An update regarding teams of 1969 – 72 was sent to us by Duane “Hayhook” Blackert.  The Red Devils had three undefeated seasons of conference championships (1969,’70, and ’72) sandwiched around a fourth season in 1971 in which the Red Devils went a not to shabby 7 – 1 – 1.  The Red Devils were led by legendary Coach Ken Bourquin who was assisted by local legend Coach Joe Ricci“Hayhook” advises that in 1969 a total of 55 out of the 65 eligible boys in Manlius HS were members of the football program.

The 1969 Red Devils were led by halfback Ed Potter.  The 1970 squad was led by halfback Butch Harp, and the 1972 squad was led by halfback Dennis Hartz and quarterback Joe DeBrock“Hayhook” thanks Coach Ricci for giving him the nickname because of his ability to use his large wingspand at his defensive end position to contain the opposing team’s sweeps.

Two other items regarding the Manlius HS football program include that the team co-oped with Tampico HS from 1989-1994 and enjoyed great success as well.  Also there was one particular game in 1991 which is still marked as the second longest game in IHSA football history.  Playing the Annawan Braves the Manlius/Tampico boys came out with a 5 Overtime victory winning 7 – 6!  What a game that must have been.  The seasons written about on the IHSA web site are listed below.

More history and seasonal records below are provided by John Roberts, avid Manlius High School fan!

-1920 *Manlius had it’s first football season this year.

Coach’s name was Lewis E. Perry

-1923 *Manlius didn’t play Rock Falls that year in football, but they did beat Neponset 71-7 in a non-conference game, and they played an alumni game with people from the town which they beat 26-0 that year. Manlius also outscored their oponents a total of 373-27. Coach Lewis E. Perry.

1924 *Manlius won “Little 6” conference with 3-0 record. Ohio and Sheffield weren’t counted in this year, no explaination is given. Their two losses this year came 12-0 to Rock Falls, and 27-7 to Princeton, as well as wins this year like a 22-21 win over Bradford, 6-0 win over Neponset, and they outscored all opponents 227-66. Coach L.D. Anderson.

1925 * Coach L.D. Anderson.

1926 *This year still had Bureau Township High School playing Manlius as they defeated MTHS 60-0. BTHS also won the “Little Six” conference Championship that year. Coach S. Fred Calhoun.

1927 * Coach T.L. Traughber. Beat Buda 24-0 after losing to Buda 37-0 earlier in the season, and after a (2-5) start on the season.

1928 * Coach T.L. Traughber. Third in “Little 6”, after playing tie games with Champs Walnut, and 2nd place team Buda.

1930 *Coach Thomas L.. Traughber. Tied for second in “Little 8” with record of (5-1-1).

-1935 *Played four games in the “Little 6”, with a record of 2-2 including a 2-0 forfeit to Walnut. Finished (2-3-1). Coach Chester Shermann.

1936 *First year of playing 8-man football in now “Little Eight” conference. Tied Manlius alumni team, and lost to Conference Champion, Wyanet. Second in conference. Coach George Taylor.

1938 *Coach George Taylor. (3-4-1), (1-3-1) in “Little 8”.

*First year of “Little 8” traveling trophy for all boys’ sports. First team to win it 3-in-a row keeps it for good.

1940  1 – 6 – 1                                                            Coach George Taylor

1941  1 – 6 – 1                                                            Coach George Taylor 

1942  7 – 1 – 1  Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach Vernon Bohles

1943  7 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach Bobby Theus

                      Outscored opponents 311 – 13!

1944  5 – 2                                                                 Coach Bobby Theus

1945  4 – 2                                                                 Coach William Meeks

1946  7 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach George Keist 

1947  7 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach George Keist

                       Outscored Opponents 353 – 37!

1948  4 – 3       Outscored Opponents 193 – 98!

1949  7 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach George Keist

                       Outscored Opponents 262 – 57!

1950  9 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach Richard Zuege

                       18 Game Winning Streak –

                       Longest in State at that time

                      (See Chicago Daily News Article below

“Left Click” your mouse over each

segment to view enlarged version.)

Chicago Daily News Article (Left Click to Enlarge)
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Courtesy of Ron Hewitt
Manlius Red Devils – 1950 (“Left Click to Enlarge)
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Submitted by Ron Hewitt (Chicago Daily News Article)

1951  8 – 1       2nd Place – Little 8 Conference         Coach Bill Gleich

Winning Streak Ended at 22 Games

with a 1 point loss to Ohio in Game 5

1952  7 – 2       2nd Place – Little 8 Conference         Coach Bill Bushell & Bill Gleich

1953  9 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach Bill Bushell & Bill Gleich

1954  8 – 1                                                                 Coach Bill Bushell

                      Outscored opponenets 452 – 54!!!

1956  9 – 0       Little 8 Conference Champs              Coach Bill Bushell

                      Outscored opponents 458 – 56!!!

1958               *First year of entering the.                     Coach Les Conklin.

Blackhawk Conference

1959  0 – 9                                                                 Coach Ken Bourquin

1960  0 – 8 – 1                                                            Coach Ken Bourquin

*Coach Ken Bourquin left for two years

to coach elsewhere before returning to the

Red Devil program in 1964.

1961  4 – 4 – 1                                                             Coach Lou Gehrig Dergo

1962               Blackhawk Conf. Co-Champs              Coach Lou Gerhig Dergo

1963  5 – 3 – 1                                                             Coach Lou Gehrig Dergo

1964               Snapped 20-Game losing streak             Coach Ken Bourquin

to Walnut

1969  9 – 0       Conference Champions                      Coach Ken Bourquin

1970  9 – 0       Conference Champions                      Coach Ken Bourquin

1971  7 – 1 – 1                                                             Coach Ken Bourquin

1972  9 – 0       Conference Champions                      Coach Ken Bourquin

1976  6 – 3       First Year of Indian Valley Conference    Coach Ken Bourquin

1977  5 – 4                                                                  Coach Ken Bourquin

1980  5 – 4       (after 1 – 4 start)                                    Coach Ken Bourquin

1984  5 – 3                                                                  Coach Ken Bourquin

1987  6 – 4   Class 1A Playoff Qualifier                       Coach Ken Bourquin

                   Lost to Walnut 7 – 0

As part of the Manlius/Tampico “Warriors” Co-op Team

1989-90     9 – 2       2nd Round of 1A Playoffs            Coach Ken Bourquin

                              Sweet 16 Finalist

                              Beat Prophetstown 10 – 0

Lost to Sterling Newman 20 – 9

1990-91     7 – 4       2nd Round of 1A Playoffs            Coach Ken Bourquin

                              Sweet 16 Finalist

                              Beat Toulon-Lafayette 20-12

                              Lost to Annawan 7 – 0

Annawan went to Final 4 Rd.

1991-92     8 – 3       2nd Round of 1A Playoffs            Coach Ken Bourquin

                              Sweet 16 Finalist

                              Beat Mt. Morris 12 – 0

                              Lost to Annawan 14 – 7

1992-93     9 – 3       Elite Eight Finalist                       Coach Ken Bourquin

                              Beat Mt. Morris 47 – 0

                              Beat Annawan 21 – 8

                              Lost to Poplar Grove N.B. 15-12

Poplar Grove Finished 2nd

1994-95     9 – 2       2nd Round of 1A Playoffs            Coach Ken Bourquin 

                              Sweet 16 Finalist

                              Beat Mooseheart 34 – 0

                              Lost to Durand 20 – 8


One male athlete at Manlius High School brought home two medals from the IHSA state track meet.  In 1924, Manlius won the Sterling H.S. Invitational. Others who qualified for state are also listed.

1949    Little 8 Conference Champions

1976    Mike Wirth               120 Yard High Hurdles      2nd Place

                                           330 Yard Low Hurdles       7th Place

1977    Kevin Schisler         120 High Hurdles              State Semi-finalist

1980    Tom Bohms              Mile Relay                       10th Place – 3:29.98  

           Matt Sarber

           Rod Jaggers

           Charlie White

1981    Rod Jaggers             100 Metrer Dash               12th Place Finish – 11.09

                                            200 Meter Dash                15th Place Finish 


The Lady Red Devils were not to be outdone.  The only information we have available is the years in which the girl’s basketball teams won their 5 Regional titles.  If you have the season records and coach’s name(s) please drop us an e-mail.

1974-75      3 – 3    First Year for Girls Basketball                Coach Amy Hunter

1979-80      9 – 9                                                               Coach Connie Hahne

1980-81    14 – 6    (2nd Place Finish – Indian Valley Conf.)   Coach Connie Hahne

1981-82    10 – 9                                                               Coach Denise Marquis

1982-83    17 – 6     Regional Champions                         Coach Connie Hahne

1983-84    19 – 6     (Great Record)                                     Coach Connie Hahne

1984-85    15 – 10   Regional Champions                         Coach Bill Lane

1987-88    N.R.A.   Regional Champions                         Coach Chris Olds

1988-89    12 – 10   Regional Champions                         Coach Chris Olds

1994-95    20 – 7     Regional Champions                         Coach Chris Olds


The girls volleyball team also brought home some IHSA hardware.  More information is needed regarding this team as well as any other good MHS Lady Red Devil volleyball teams. One interesting fact is that the first season at MHS lasted from September to January with only 11 games being played.

1976-77    2 – 9      1st Season                       Coach Amy Hunter

1983-84   13 – 8                                             Coach Pat Brokaw

1992-93   11 – 15   Regional Champions       Coach Mae Jaggers

Manlius HS Regional Volleyball Champs 1992-93
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Submitted by Jayme Hall Kepner

Pictured above are, left to right, as follows:

Mindy Stebbins, Andrea Blackert-Etheridge, Jill Hunt-Atkinson, Erin Haton, Trisha Rasmussen, Coach Jaggers, Jillian Draper, Brooke Bolin, Trisha Ratliff-Johnson, Jayme Hall-Kepner, and Dawn Foes-Michlig

(Alicia Shofner is absent from the photo)

After the 1992-93 season Manlius began a co-op with Tampico in volleyball.  Jayme Kepner tells us the following about the final Manlius High School volleyball team:

” We (1992-93 team) were the first team at Manlius to win the regional in volleyball, and it was all Manlius girls.  I was a sophomore that year, and I played along with 2 other sophomores, 1 freshman, and a couple of juniors as there were not a lot of upperclassmen who went out, hence the co-op the following year.”


The following information was provided by avid Manlius fan and alumnus Dave Oloffson regarding the Lady Red Devil track program.

1978  Bureau Valley Conference Meet Champions  Coach Teri Klasek

1981  Catherine Christensen     3200 Meter Run        Placed 12th at State Meet

1982  Catherine Christensen     3200 Meter Run        Placed 9th at State Meet

1985  Renee Fordham               Long Jump               Qualified for State with 16′ 7″ leap


While it is not known if Manlius ever had a Girls Bowling team after Title IX, there were teams before then that competed in IHSA Postal Tournaments (as they were later called). In 1965, Manlius placed in second in the tournament.


The Red Devils played baseball at Bollman Field, located about 100 feet from Bollman Field House in New Bedford.  The field was set up for men’s fastpitch softball, so the homerun fence was relatively short allowing for some great games.  The sport was discontinued at the high school in 1975. The baseball teams used the New Bedford field starting in the late 1950’s through at least the 1960’s.

The World Softball Tournament was held there in 1955, 1956 and 1957 hosted by the owner Earl Stickel who constructed the fieldhouse and ball diamond. Rhw results of the tournament can been reviewed at the following web address provided to us by Ron Peterson:


For small schools such as Manlius, placing in IHSA activity events were tough to do because of bigger school competetion. However, in 1974 and 1975, Manlius students Debbie Morgan and Steve Oloffson were represented in the top five in their respective events. In 1974, Morgan took fifth place in Humorous Interpretation and in 1975 she teamed with Oloffson to take fourth in Humorous Duet Acting.


In football the name Ken Bourquin is closely tied with Manlius as well as Illinois High School lore.  Mr. Bourquin went an incredible 164 – 141 in the 30+ years he coached at Manlius High School.

In boy’s basketball Coach William Jenkins won 3 District titles and had a record of 138 – 61 during his 9 seasons at the school (1956-1965). He moved on to Polo and amassed a career total of 297-162 from 1956 to 1976. Jenkins is an inductee in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and still coaches lower levels at Polo.


If you have any further information you would like to share with others on this web site please complete a School Submission form, contact us via e-mail at,  or write us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il. 60631

Manlius Baseball Field & Grain Elevator 2012
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Photo by Roberta VanBriesen
Abandoned Grain Elevator, Manlius, Illinois
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Photo by Roberta VanBriesen 2012
New Bedford Grade School
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New Bedford, Illinois
Manlius HS Football Field
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Press Box
Manlius Cinder Track
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Manlius Grade School
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