The Sac-Joaquin Section announced Thursday that Manuel Pires is one of its six Model Coaches for the 2016-17 school year.
Pires is the fifth coach from Sierra High — and Manteca area — to earn the award. The winners are recognized not only for their achievements in athletics, but for what they contribute to the community. Joining Sierra’s longtime girls soccer coach this year are Lynn Barcellos (Los Banos), Mary Krupka (Turlock), Catherine Mendes (Hilmar), Rob Scheidt (Merced) and Dean Stark (Sacramento Waldorf). Only 98 coaches have been honored with this award since it began in 2001-02. Each coach will receive a plaque and lifetime SJS pass at an awards breakfast on April 25 in Lodi.
Pires follows in the footsteps of former Sierra volleyball coach Tevani Liotard (2005-06), former track and field coach Lisa Shrock (2006-07), baseball coach Jack Thomson (2009-10) and cross country coach Mike Rosendin (2014-15).
Welcome to the club, coach.
“To get this award, I never imagined that it would happen,” Pires said. “It has been a great run, and I’m honored to be part of this group of some very awesome people. I’m very grateful to all three athletic directors from Vern Gebhardt to coach (Greg) Leland and now Anthony Chapman. All three of them have really helped me a lot over the years and allowed me to continue to do what I do.”
What he does is win — and win a lot. On Dec. 1, he tallied his 400th career victory, all with Sierra. His record currently stands at 314-105-64. Included in his two-decade résumé are 11 Valley Oak League championships, four SJS titles and eight SJS final-round appearances.
In addition to his contributions to the school’s athletic program, Pires is the founder of the Manteca Futbol Club youth soccer organization, a 15-year member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Anthony’s, a 30-year member of the Festa Espirito Santo de Manteca and a 10-gallon blood donor.
“Coach Pires is the epitome of selflessness; simply stated, it is never about him,” Chapman said in a statement released by the section. “He exemplifies the characteristics you want in a coach. He always sets the needs of athletes above his own.”