PEORIA — Marvin Jordan is the new head coach of the Manual boys basketball team, the Peoria Public Schools board announced in a special meeting on Friday.
"I'm excited to help students reach their goals, on and off the court," Jordan said. “As a child growing up, I never thought I’d be head coach at Manual but following my heart led me here."
Also among the hires announced Friday was athletics director Constance Jackson, who takes over for the retiring Tim Kenny.
A rich Manual connection
Jordan, 30, was considered the top candidate when the hiring process started. He was a 5-foot-11 guard who played at Manual under then-coach Derrick Booth and an assistant since 2017. Jordan was known as a tenacious, relentless work ethic type of player and personality through his prep career at Manual, which concluded in the 2009-10 season.
“Marvin Jordan was a fierce competitor on the court and was a major part of our success during his playing days at Manual," Booth said. "Marvin (also) understands the importance of Manual basketball and realizes it’s bigger than the game.”
The Peoria native was part of three strong Manual teams. He played as a sophomore on the 2007-08 team that went 25-8 and finished runner-up in the state. As a junior, he was part of a 23-8 Manual team that lost in the sectionals. His senior season, Manual went 24-8 and lost the Class 2A state championship game, 76-68, in overtime to Robinson. Jordan played 32 minutes in that game, with six points, four rebounds and two steals. He had an assist on the game-tying basket with 73 seconds left that sent the game to overtime.
Jordan was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state honorable mention teams as a sophomore and junior. He also played AAU ball with the Indianapolis-based Eric Gordon All-Stars, and sparked his recruitment with superior point guard play.
Jordan takes over one of the state's most decorated programs, which finished 14-14 last season but won its 40th regional championship before losing to Rock Island in the semifinals of the Class 3A Peoria Sectional.
In addition to on-court success, Jordan — who has a degree in sociology from Niagara — wants to make sure his team is a priority off the court.
“A lot of people in coaching skip the fact that these young men have lives outside the basketball court," Jordan said. "We have to support them in the classroom and in their lives outside school. We have to be there for late night emergency calls. I want to be there to help them every step of the way.”
Overall, Manual has won a state-best 16 state trophies with championships in 1930 and four in a row between 1994 and '97. The Rams have four state trophies in the last 12 years, with runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2010 (led by Jordan) and a third in 2016. Coleman led Manual to a fourth-place state trophy in 2019.
Controversy with Ball State
Jordan had interest from Illinois State, Evansville, Western Michigan, Southern Methodist and Niagara, then signed a letter of intent to play for Ball State.
A national controversy ensued when Ball State later denied him admission in April following his junior season — despite being an NCAA qualifier who signed a national letter of intent the previous November.
Then-Manual coach Booth set the record straight in a salvo aimed at Ball State, with a Journal Star story picked up by ESPN.
"They hung a 17-year-old kid out to dry all season as far as other schools being able to recruit him," Booth said in that 2010 Journal Star story. "I was never worried about Marvin because I knew he would land on his feet somewhere else. But I hate that (Ball State) does business like this.
"... I would also tell any of my high school coaching colleagues to beware when Ball State comes into your gym because of what I've seen with Marvin Jordan."
A few days after denying Jordan, Ball State signed another guard, Tyrae Robinson of Gary, Ind., to fill the scholarship opening.
"If they had another kid they liked better, don't say Marvin was denied admission," Booth said. "Tell us straight up."
Jordan went on to play four seasons for NCAA Division I Niagara in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference from 2010-11 through 2013-14, and was a MAAC All-Rookie Team selection as a freshman.
He averaged 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his final season. His career totals included 43.2% from two-point territory and 36.3% from 3-point range on 30.6 minutes per game over 127 contests.
“Marvin is a wonderful asset to the Manual community,” Manual principal Devon Hawks said. “As an MHS alumnus, current staff member, and coach, he is in tune with the needs of our students and families, and has built great relationships with them. He is passionate about supporting our students' dreams and cares about their well-being on and off the court.”
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men's basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve. Leslie Renken contributed to this story.
This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Manual basketball coach: Marvin Jordan promoted to head coach