Sabrina Manhart, who coached the Falcons the past 12 seasons, was recently hired as the head coach of Matanzas' softball team.
In her 12 seasons as the head softball coach at Daytona State College, Sabrina Manhart has seen many of her players embrace her coaching style, work hard and succeed.
Six All-State selections, two Mid-Florida Conference Pitchers of the Year and 33 All-Conference selections attest to that. In addition, she’s coached players who now play NAIA, Division II and Division I softball, including at powerhouse programs like Florida and Georgia.
Manhart, who also played college softball for Daytona State and Bethune-Cookman, stepped down as head coach of the Falcons at the end of last season in order to spend more time with her family.
When Matanzas Athletics Director Zach Rigney first heard of Manhart, his interest was peaked.
Her qualifications stood out the most among the others applicants for the vacant softball head coaching position at Matanzas.
“But more so was her leadership ability,” Rigney said, “her overall skillset as far as fundamentals, knowing the game and her relationship with her student-athletes.”
Rigney hired Manhart to replace Rebecca Bower, who resigned last spring, in August to coach the Pirates’ softball team.
Pirates team captain Alyssia Paiz first met Manhart during volleyball season in the fall. They crossed paths in the parking lot at Matanzas High School.
“They’re a very disciplined group of young ladies, so they weren’t too surprised when I came in and had high expectations of them and held them accountable and asked them to work hard. They’ve really been eager to get out there and work, and I think it’ll show this year.”
Sabrina Manhart, Matanzas coach
At the Pirates’ first practice, Paiz didn’t know what to expect from the former college coach.
“I can tell you now, she is a hard coach and she does expect a lot from us,” she said. “She’s pushing us because she knows what we can do and that we can go far. Having someone like her push us like that, it’s just making us so much better.”
The biggest adjustment for Manhart has been the difference in tempo between the high school and college games.
She developed what she thought would be a two-hour plan for the Pirates’ first practice. She ended up having to cut it in half.
“Once I made my adjustments, they have really met the challenge every day,” she said. “These girls are good players. They’re hard workers. I think that we can really give some teams a run for their money.”