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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Former quarterback Jason Manson said this was the third time he applied for a job to come back to Iowa.
He believes he’s found his best fit as the program’s new director of player development.
Manson, a backup quarterback to Drew Tate and former wide receiver with the program, said that he has not only the perspective of going through the Iowa football program, but also as someone who went through the program as a player who wasn’t the star on the field.
“My experience wasn't a glorified one, especially from a playing perspective,” Manson said. “But nonetheless, I had a good college experience and being able to give that to kids in the program is what I can do. What I want to add is an after-football-is-over element to it. There was a little bit of a struggle immediately the first year to two years after.”
He believes he can provide insight on the field as someone who found opportunities playing positions that weren’t his top choice.
“Your pride can get in the way of you making some simple decisions or some big decisions,” Manson said. “Back in my time, I got to actually do some utility work and play some receiver and things like that. They let me make a decision that would allow me to play more.”
But where he hopes to effect the most change, is establishing a post-graduation plan for athletes.
Manson described going through the football program as being like a “horse with blinders,” where if you graduate, but maybe don’t go to the NFL, you “fall off a cliff.” He hopes to put a structure in place so that the athletes can establish a network before leaving campus.
This comes from personal experience; in the two years following his graduation, Manson struggled to find a job. He worked with his agent and trained in hopes of still pursuing a career in football, but everything changed when he knew he was going to be a father.
He laughed when he said that actually the TV breaking was the moment that drove him to get that first job working at Verizon Wireless.
He played one year of professional indoor football before he got his foot in the door in coaching. He started working as wide receivers coach at Becker College in 2007. Then, he helped coach wide receivers at Western Connecticut State in 2008 before becoming the offensive coordinator at the Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y.
He joined the Central Connecticut State staff as assistant coach from 2010-14 before serving as both head football coach and college and career readiness coordinator at Capital Preparatory School from 2014-19. He was the assistant dean of students and head football coach at St. Thomas Moore School from 2019-21.
Chris Ejiasi was Iowa’s first director of player development from 2008-16. Iowa’s Broderick Binns held the position until he moved into the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for all of Iowa’s athletics in 2020. Sam Brincks was the interim director of player development until Manson’s hire this spring.
Both Manson and Binns are Black men in positions that impact the off-the-field culture at Iowa, which is still in the midst of a racial discrimination lawsuit even after the departure of director of strength and conditioning Chris Doyle following allegations of racism. Raimond Braithwaite, who took over Doyle’s role, is also Black.
Manson said he didn’t feel like he experienced many “horrible racial interactions,” as a player at Iowa, but hopes to use Binns as a resource to foster a more comfortable environment for football players.
“I’ve been able to progress and achieve goals, so I think that's important for guys that are in the program to see what is achievable, is something that can be done,” Manson said. “I'm hoping that I can just add a little bit more perspective, and be a positive influence on the young Black men in the program.”
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