In a similar move from 18 years ago at West High, Rich Cornford is taking over a football program from Dennis Manning.

The difference this time around is the two are making a collaborative effort at Ridgeview.

Manning has stepped down after 10 seasons as the head coach at Ridgeview and will become a coordinator for Cornford, who will take over as head coach.

“My wife and I talk about it for a long time. It’s been fun to sleep well for the last two years,” Cornford said. “But I was coaching freshman football here and track last year. I was coaching all of the time. But it’s just more about taking on all of the head coaching responsibilities.”

Cornford was asked to resign as the head coach at Frontier after the 2016 season, where he coached for nine seasons and compiled a 49-50 record. He then moved over to Ridgeview and became the frosh/soph football coach before the 2017 season and was a coach on the track and field team in 2018.

Cornford was also the head coach at West for seven seasons before coaching at Frontier. 

Manning expressed a desire to step away from his duties as head coach where he has held that role at West and Ridgeview for the better part of the last 20 years.

“The last few years I have been looking for something different,” Manning said. “I love Ridgeview and Rich just had a burning desire to be a head coach again and we decided on a collaboration. It strengthens our program and we get stronger. I am happy. Rich is happy and I am glad he has a home here at Ridgeview.”

Cornford said he was going to interview for the head coaching vacancy on Wednesday at Centennial before he was approached by Manning and Ridgeview principal Steve Holmes.

“(Manning) came to me and said that he was thinking about this and a different role for himself,” Cornford said. “He knew I wanted to be a head coach again. Dennis is happy at Ridgeview and coaching here. I am going to take over the head coaching responsibilities.”

In 2001, Cornford took over for Manning as the head coach at West where Cornford was the defensive coordinator for the Vikings under Manning the previous three seasons. 

“That’s the thing about it. We are just great friends and really enjoying working with each other,” Manning said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Cornford compiled a 103-76 record in 17 seasons as a head coach at West and Frontier. While as the head coach at West, the Vikings beat Tulare Union 53-28 for the Central Section Division II title in 2005 and Cornford was named the BVarsity All-Area Coach of the Year in 2002.

Manning has been the head coach for 16 seasons dating back to 1998, the last 10 coming at Ridgeview. Overall, Manning has a 124-73-1 career coaching record that includes three section championships during a span of six seasons from 2011-16 where Ridgeview advanced each season to the section championships. 

Ridgeview won the D-III title in 2012 and consecutive D-II titles in 2014-15 where the Wolf Pack advanced to the CIF Southern California regional playoffs. Manning was named All-Area coach of the year in 2014.

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