Paul Manera (born 15 February 1967 in Broken Hill, New South Wales) was an Australian who played American Football for the University of Hawaii. Paul is now currently coaching in Sydney, Australia and running his own company, Bring It On Sports with his wife Elissa.
Paul grew up playing rugby union, and as a junior, represented Parramatta Rugby Union Club. At the age of 12, Paul developed an interest in American Football and started watching it on late night television. At a chance meeting, he heard that the sport was starting up in Sydney.
PauI's Gridiron career started in 1984, at the age of 17, when he began playing for the Fairfield Argonauts as a Tight End and Inside Linebacker. In 1987, Paul moved to the Bondi Raiders Gridiron Club where he started playing on the Defensive Line. During this year, Paul introduced himself to Paul Johnson (Former Offensive Coordinator University Of Hawaii and current Head Coach of Georgia Tech) and expressed his desire to play College Football in the USA. Coach Johnson suggested that Paul enroll into a Junior College.
In August 1987, Paul enrolled into Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Mississippi. At the time, Paul was 6 ft 3, weighed in at 215 pounds and played as a Defensive End. He was an undersized player for this position but played with high intensity.
In January 1988, Paul was awarded a scholarship at Itawamba Community College and later that spring he was moved to Offensive Tackle, where he started every snap at only 235 pounds and was awarded with an Honorable Mention for All-State Mississippi Junior College.
University of Hawaii
In 1989, Paul was awarded with a full scholarship to play Gridiron at the University of Hawaii. At Hawaii, Paul played Offensive Tackle at 255 pounds. He was a 3-year letter-man and in his senior year he was selected as an Academic All Western Athletic Conference Player. Paul's last game for UH was against Notre Dame on 30 November 1991, narrowly losing 48-42. In May 1992, Paul graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration majoring in Finance.
Paul’s coaching career began in 1992, where he served as a Student Assistant Coach at the University of Hawaii. He assisted on the offensive line and worked with Mike Sewak, (Current Offensive Line Coach at Georgia Tech) and Ken Niumatalolo (Current Head Coach at US Naval Academy).
Paul returned home to Australia in 1992 and continued to coach American Football. He currently coaches at the UNSW Raiders Gridiron Youth Academy. He also worked as a part-time lecturer at the Australian College of Physical Education teaching the basics of the sport to undergraduate physical education teachers.
AGCA (Australian Gridiron Coaches Association)
Paul established the Australian Gridiron Coaches Association (AGCA) in 1994 where he served as the President until 2007.
In 2000, as the President of the Australian Gridiron Coaches Association, Paul was instrumental in setting up the Coaching Accreditation Program for Gridiron Coaches in Australia. In 2003 this program was formally recognized by the Australian Sports Commission and accepted into their National Coaching Accreditation Scheme. Paul conducted coaching accreditation courses in major cities across Australia and in Auckland, New Zealand.
Australian Cyclones (1999)
Paul was the Offensive Line coach for the Australian Cyclones National Gridiron Team which competed at the 1st ever World Cup of American Football in Palermo, Sicily.
In the same year, he coached professionally as the Offensive Line coach for the Recruit Seagulls (Obic Seagulls) who play in the X-League in Tokyo, Japan.
NSW (New South Wales) Wolfpack & Australian Outback Gridiron National Team
During 2000, Paul returned to Australia to become the Head Coach of the NSW Wolfpack State Team, While he was head coach, the Wolfpack were runners up at the Gridiron Australia National Championships in 2001, and won the championship in 2003, 2005, 2006.
He then became the Head Coach of the Australian Outback National Gridiron Team which beat New Zealand in 2001. In 2003, Paul was also inducted into the Gridiron NSW Hall of fame for his achievements as a coach. In 2005, Paul was selected once again as the Head Coach of the Australian National Team that competed in the world games against Germany and France. In 2007, he was the Head Coach of the Australian National Team which played against South Korea in a World Cup Qualification game.
Paul is currently coaching for the Bondi Raiders as well as serving as the Offensive Coordinator for the Australian Outback Gridiron National Team which will be competing in Sweden in 2015 at the World Cup of American Football.
IFAF (International Federation for American Football)
In 2006, Paul was selected to be on the Technical Committee for the International Federation for American Football (IFAF) where he served until 2012 providing advice and assistance in developmental programs for coaches and players.
In 2011 he was selected to be the Offensive Coordinator of the IFAF world Under 19 World Championship team which narrowly lost to the USA in the International Bowl 21-14.
In 2012, he was the Offensive Line coach on the World Under 19’s Team which beat the USA 35 - 29 in a historical victory.
Southern Cross All-Stars
In 2012, Paul established the Southern Cross All-Stars which played against a HGL team in Oahu, Hawaii.
Future Stars (Australian Junior Development Program)
In 2013, Paul was consulted by the Australian Future Stars program to organize a high level developmental camp to compete in the Down Under Bowl, which is a tournament played every year on the Gold Coast in Australia between visiting USA high school all-star teams. The Australian Future Stars won their 1st ever game beating the USA Cougars 40 - 36.
Bring It On Sports
During 2007, Paul and his wife, Elissa, established Bring it on Sports, a sports marketing & recreation company that specializes in sports programs for kids, USA scholarships services, and sports related travel.
Paul now helps the game of American Football in Australia by teaching flag football in schools. He also helps Aussies get scholarships to the USA. Paul also brings out USA American Football coaches to teach at camps and clinics in Australia.
In 2012 Paul was the Head Coach of The Southern Cross All-Stars which played in Oahu, Hawaii in 2012 vs a Hawaii Gridiron League team.