Manny Matsakis

Hi, I’m Manny Matsakis. I am the Head Football Coach of the Defiance College Yellow Jackets. My primary objective at Defiance College is to mentor our coaching staff and players to create a championship football program that contributes to our campus and the “Black Swamp” region of northwest Ohio in remarkable ways.

Historically, the success of each football program that I have had the privilege to run has been tied to running a system I have created called the Triple Shoot Offense. I created the Triple Shoot Offense in 1996, after being a pure Run & Shoot proponent during my years coaching at Hofstra University (1991-1993). I saw a problem that limited our ability to win football games at Emporia State and I solved it with my offense. This offensive system has most successfully been matched up with an aggressive defensive scheme and the combination of these has been labeled the “Sting and Shoot” at Emporia State and now it’s called the “Swarm and Shoot” at Defiance College.

I am the founder of American Football Monthly, a trade journal that I created to help coaches improve our profession. I have been fortunate to put myself in a position to succeed both on and off the gridiron and would like to help you do the same.


My Content

My mission is to help football coaches that are high achievers, win on the field and in life by implementing the essentials of my philosophy & methodology that I have been able to learn from some hall of fame coaches as well as bonafide masters.

To that end, I write about X’s & O’s, coaching football, leadership, productivity, and personal development. Ultimately, I give you an “insider’s perspective” of my life as a career football coach. You can find out more on my Start Here page.


My goal is to create insightful, useful content that you can put to work in your personal and professional life. If you consider yourself a high achiever – someone who wants to optimize their life as a football coach – then this blog is for you.

I typically post once a week, and occasionally more. To make sure you don’t miss my latest posts, you can subscribe via e-mail. It’s quick, easy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

My Coaching Background

Head Football Coach: Emporia State University (KS), Texas State University, Bethany College (KS), Enka High School (NC) and Defiance College (OH).
Assistant Head Coach: Texas Tech University.
Offensive Coordinator: Hofstra University (NY), University of Wyoming, Capital University (OH), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) and Widener University (PA).
Special Teams Coordinator: Kansas State University and Texas Tech University.
Tight Ends Coach: Kansas State University.
Receiver Coach: Barberton High School (OH).

This Is What Some People Think About Me

[endorsement cite=”Bill Snyder” byline=”Kansas State University”]Coach Matsakis is very detailed and meticulous about what he does. He’s well organized, and he has a flair for doing things that are unique. He’s an innovator that motivates his players and I think that’s beneficial in college football today.”[/endorsement]

[endorsement cite=”Mike Leach” byline=”Mississippi State University”]Manny Matsakis had been the head coach at Emporia State in Kansas and started the magazine American Football Quarterly. I hired him as my assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. Manny is someone I relied on to help me build the program in Lubbock. He is very organized and can wear numerous hats administratively while coaching our players at a high level.”[/endorsement]

[endorsement cite=”Mike Kelly” byline=”Winnipeg Blue Bombers”]I first met Manny Matsakis in 1988 and found him to be one of the most intriguing and innovative thinkers that had ever been introduced to me. I continue that belief as I have traveled a path with him through his inception of American Football Quarterly (now Monthly) magazine and AFQ University clinics, to our parallel head coaching experiences to Manny serving as my offensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League and here at Widener University. He takes a sensible approach born from the extensive study of the history of offense with insight to inherent weaknesses of the defense and eliminates the clutter of preparation to efficiently manage the time of his staff and his life.” [/endorsement]

My Associates & Influences

I have been very fortunate to have worked with and be mentored by some of the finest coaches in the business. It’s not every day that a young football coach gets to become part of the greatest turnaround in college football history. Having the opportunity to work with Bill Snyder at Kansas State has been very instrumental in my organizational processes.

Here’s a staff photo at K-State …

Kansas State Staff 1994
Kansas State Staff 1994

[callout]In the back row of this photo (L-R) are Mark Mangino (Former Kansas HC), Mo Lattimore (Longtime D-Line Coach at KSU), Dana Dimel UTEP HC), Bill Snyder, Rod Humenuik (Longtime NFL & CFL O-Line Coach), Myself, Greg Porter (Kickers Coach). Front row (L-R) Rod Cole (Strength Coach), Mike Stoops (Former Arizona HC), Del Miller (Longtime OC at KSU), Bob Stoops (Former Oklahoma HC), Bruce Van de Velde (FBO & Former AD at Iowa State), Jim Leavitt (Former South Florida HC).[/callout]

If that experience wasn’t enough …

I enjoyed working with Mike Leach as his Assistant Head Coach in Lubbock, Texas. Our staff at Texas Tech was a virtual think-tank as we embarked upon taking the Red Raiders to the upper echelon of the Big XII conference.

Here’s a staff photo …

Texas Tech Coaching Staff 2001
Texas Tech Staff 2001

[callout]In the back row of this photo (L-R) are Dennis Simmons (Oklahoma WR Coach), Sonny Dykes (SMU HC), Ron Harris (D-Line Coach), Ruffin McNeill (Oklahoma Assistant Head Coach) Dave Aranda (Baylor HC), Dave Brown (DB Coach), Art Briles (Former Baylor HC). Front row (L-R) Robert Anae (Virginia OC), Dave Nichol (Mississippi State WR Coach), Tommy McVay (Longtime FBO), Myself, Mike Leach (Mississippi State HC), Greg McMackin (Former Hawaii HC), Dana Holgorsen (University of Houston HC), Bill Bedenbaugh (O-Line Coach at Oklahoma) Brian Walsh (Defensive Personal Assistant).[/callout]

My Family

I am married to my wife Elizabeth and we are parents to three children, Meredith, Michael, and Eli. My daughter Meredith graduated from High Point University (NC) majoring in Visual Merchandising Design and currently works at Diane von Furstenberg in New York City. Michael graduated from Duquesne University (PA) majoring in Music Composition and Technology and he is currently working on his Master’s Degree at NYU. Our 7-year-old, Eli goes to elementary school here in Defiance, Ohio and he hangs out with his dog, Georgie! He is still getting over the loss of his best friend Spartacus – a 170 pound Great Dane! (Pictured below.)

Eli taking Spartacus for a Walk
Eli taking Spartacus for a Walk

I am the oldest of 4 boys and each of my younger brothers has taken their own path in athletics. Jimmy is the Offensive Coordinator at Pope John High School (NJ). George has been involved with football (Video, Football Operations) as well as in athletic administration at the Division 1 level and is currently the Director of Football Operations at the University of North Texas. My youngest brother Louie coaches special teams at the University of Kentucky.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, working out, cooking, listening to podcasts and staying in touch with people that are important to me.

There’s Something You Should Know About Me

I’m not your typical career football coach.

See, years ago, I started on this journey of entrepreneurship and created five different companies while coaching the game. (I guess I wasn’t busy enough…) I set out to be this football coach that juggled his career along with numerous other ventures on the side. I worked 18-hour days for two decades and rarely took vacations…

[callout]In 1997, I completed my first fire-walk in Denver with Tony Robbins & I thought I could do it all![/callout]

However, I discovered this lifestyle was a recipe for disaster. No matter how driven I was, I just couldn’t do everything and enjoy my life.

I realize now that if I just focus on what is essential in my life I can make the greatest contribution and happily achieve.


Why Should You Listen to Me?

This last point is significant.

I have screwed up quite a bit along the way. In that process, I have failed forward. I’ve learned so many lessons that I will share with you to give you that profound knowledge which is so critical to being a professional in today’s football coaching environment. Over the years, I have been so fortunate to have developed outstanding relationships with so many coaches and influencers. My podcast launch is the next phase of a contribution to our profession. Enjoy these episodes and subscribe to get updates.

My Contact Information

You can contact me via e-mail or follow me on Instagram and Twitter.




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