Hoop dreams, the Manzano family business

Thousands upon thousands of students, parents and faculty have called Saugus High School home since it was established in 1975.

In the 40-plus years since the school opened, perhaps no family has represented Saugus with more pride than the Manzano family.

Alfredo Manzano, the current boys varsity basketball head coach, moved to the area in the seventh grade and attended Arroyo Seco Junior High, where he met his future wife, Rosie Manzano.

Both Alfredo and Rosie went on to play basketball at Saugus, with the former urging his then-girlfriend to try out for a sport.

“He made me start. I never played sports ever in my life,” Rosie said. “My plan was to follow Alfredo everywhere because he was my boyfriend. He said, ‘You have to tryout for something.’ I said, ‘I never played ball in my life.’ But I tried out, made it and played all four years”

Fast-forward to the present, the Manzano family has come full circle back to where it all started. Their two kids, Mia and Cristian, have continued their basketball legacy. Alfredo is the head coach at Saugus and his brother Artie Manzano coaches junior varsity.

Mia is a senior starting point guard at Bishop Alemany, and Cristian is a starting freshman on the JV team.

Alfredo first started coaching Mia when she was 5, and continued to coach her through her junior high days.

“When my daughter turned 5 and said she wanted to play basketball it took it to a whole other level,” said Alfredo, who was coaching a Santa Clarita Valley club travel team at the time. “She got into the club circuit around 7, 8 years old, and I coached her all throughout the years. And then my son came along, and that’s when it went to yet another level.”

Now, Mia is flourishing as the starting point guard for the Warriors, and has garnered interest from colleges.

Like his sister, Cristian also had the opportunity to go play at a private school. However, Alfredo had already made an immediate impact since joining the Saugus program, and his son wanted to continue in his footsteps.

In only his second year as the varsity coach, Alfredo has turned around a program that had struggled in years prior. Now the Centurions are contenders for a Foothill League title.

Rosie couldn’t be happier for her husband and has nothing but respect for the work he’s putting in day and night to bring Saugus basketball back to prominence. And now to see her kids continue that basketball legacy fills her with pride.

“Alfredo puts his heart and soul into it. He loves what he does,” she said. “When I talk about it with them I get teary-eyed. I’m always going to support my daughter, but I bleed blue from beginning to end.”

For Alfredo, it’s also clearly about much more than a job.

“It’s about coming together and to show people you truly care,” he said. “First and foremost, you are here for them.”

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About the author

Dan Lovi

Dan Lovi

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dan has covered sports from the high school level to the professional ranks. He is a graduate of Hofstra University in New York and The University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He is a sports writer for The Signal.