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“It’s a new day and a new day to get better,” Toby Manzanares told his team during a recent workout.  “Two percent better, that’s all we want.”

Rio Rancho’s Toby Manzanares is one of the veteran volleyball coaches in the state.  His philosophy over the years is simple, continue to improve. “Sometimes we do everything right and we still lose the point, sometimes we do things wrong, and we lose the point, so we have to take it with a grain of salt,” he explains.  “We move on and continue to ask these kids to continue to compete and try to get better every single day.  Two percent better is our goal.”

Manzanares has had a successful career by all measures.  He has seven overall state titles, six with Rio Rancho and one with his alma mater St. Pius X. “You tend to reflect on those things later in your career,” he said.  “When they happen, it’s really cool, and then you’re trying to get ready for the next one because it’s different than the previous one.  You might have the same team, but the dynamics of that team are totally different.  It’s not trying to repeat, it’s just trying to win another one.  That’s our goal, it’s kind of unspoken in our gym, but they know they are very capable of playing volleyball at a high level.”

Manzanares has 483 career wins heading into this postseason, all of his wins coming as a coach in New Mexico. “Flo Valdez coached in two states, and she has over 1,000 wins, she’s at number one in all-time wins” Manzanares said.  “Kim Bell, coached in California and New Mexico, she’s second.  Keith (Leupold) is third, but he’s only coached in New Mexico.  I would consider him the all-time winningest coach in our state because he’s only coached in New Mexico.”

“It’s good company,” said Manzanares.  “I’m proud to say they are my colleagues, I’m proud to say they are my friends and at any time I can call them for things I need to make myself and my team better.”

“We like to think that if young coaches need to lean on somebody, have questions, need some counsel, or some resource for trying to build a volleyball program, that they can lean on Keith or myself, and Kim Bell, there are others.  It is hard to believe that we’ve been in it for so long, but by the same token, I don’t know what I would do without it.”

Manzanares and the Rams start their run at another state title this week.  Rio Rancho has an opening round matchup against Los Lunas Tuesday evening.


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