DALLAS -- Paul Mannen of Dallas always looked out for the "little guy." And that's a big reason he will be among the Oregon Athletic Directors Association's first class of Hall of Fame inductees in a few months.
"When I first came in as an officer, there was a lot of disgruntlement," Mannen said. "There were only four classes at the time. The perception was that 4A controlled things and the 3A, 2A and 1A guys didn't get heard. The idea didn't originate with me, but we pushed for a rule that every third year you'd elect a 3A, 2A or 1A representative to the board. That way, you'd always have at least one representative from the smaller schools on the board.
"We didn't get that pushed through, but we did get class representatives for the smaller schools. I think that helped a lot, particularly with the 2A and 1A schools. They felt like they never got listened to before."
Mannen was born in Southern California and worked as an athletic director in Hawaii and Washington before arriving in Oregon in 1985.
Mannen was the athletic director at Rainier for 10 years and served in that same capacity at Dallas from 1996-1999. He came out of retirement and was a volunteer athletic director at LaCreole Middle School in 2002-2003.
"For the most part, I was working with good kids, motivated kids," Mannen said. "Some of them, maybe if they didn't have sports, they might go another way. One thing I was proud about was starting a mandatory study hall for kids having trouble with their grades. I had one kid tell me he hated going to that study hall, but he wouldn't have graduated without it.
"Another thing I found is that you're not talking about a big percentage of kids having trouble. It's a common misconception that half the kids playing sports are flunking out. You might have five or six kids maximum that are having trouble. Most of them are pretty good."
Mannen developed an appreciation for sports at an early age while growing up in Encinitas, Calif.
"Part of the reason I got through high school was if I wanted to play sports, I had to be in school," Mannen said. "I had polio. The doctor told my mom, 'If he ever wants to miss school, let him." I didn't have to make excuses or anything.I kind of played on that in sixth-seventh-eighth grade.
"Then I got to ninth grade. I found out if you missed school, you couldn't play sports that day. I don't think I never missed another day after that."
Those who have been around Mannen for any length of time know his as a tireless worker. Even in retirement, he finds it difficult to slow down much.
"I spend a lot of my time working at the (Delbert Hunter) Arboretum," Mannen said. "I'm down there quite a bit during the summer, watering and doing other things. I don't seem to have time to sit and do nothing ... unless it snows like it has been."
The OADA's first Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for April 18 at Sunriver Resort near Bend.
The other inductees are OSAA assistant executive director Cindy Simmons, Hud Edwards of Central Linn, Forrest Loghry of South Umpqua and Jerry Pflug of Beaverton.
"It's a good honor, particularly being in the inaugural class," Mannen said. "When I look at the people who didn't get in, I see a lot of people I'd pick ahead of me. It was a good group of people to work with and a lot of fun to be involved."
Mannen would like to remind everyone he did not get to the hall of fame all by himself.
"My wife Carol was supportive all the way," he said. "She cleaned up behind me in a lot of cases where I fouled up. She's been a good counter balance. I've learned not to be quite as intense as I've gotten older, but I needed somebody to be diplomatic and smoother over my rough edges."