Drew Manzie, 1944-2008

October 23, 2008

Drew Manzie, the inspirational former head of physical education at the University of Strathclyde, has died of cancer, aged 64.

Niall Sturrock, Strathclyde's head of sport and recreation, who worked with Mr Manzie in the university for 26 years, said: "His advice and wisdom, whether at executive, awards or general committees, were legendary and were still being sought long after his retirement."

Mr Manzie was always willing to take responsibility for committee work in a range of organisations, many linked to the university sector, Mr Sturrock said. Following his retirement in 2003, he continued to coordinate the university's golf bursary programme and to serve on the sports union awards committee.

Mr Manzie excelled at rugby and boxing as a schoolboy, going on to study at the Scottish School of Physical Education at Jordanhill College, now part of Strathclyde. He was awarded full colours in rugby before graduating in 1965 with a diploma of physical education.

He taught at both secondary and further education level before joining Strathclyde in 1967, where he had an aptitude for coaching the full range of sporting abilities.

Mr Sturrock said: "Whether he was dealing with a world championship-level canoeist, an aspiring international rugby player or someone wanting to learn to swim, they had his undivided attention and expertise. He had the ability to put people at their ease immediately and give them confidence."

Mr Manzie had a key role in helping to set up a women's rugby section at the university, and the Strathclyde rugby club set up an annual match between graduates and students to play for the Manzie Shield.

John Martin, director of Strathclyde's student support services, said Mr Manzie was viewed with enormous affection by generations of student sports office-bearers and club officials, as well as by his colleagues and the many thousands of ordinary students and staff who used Strathclyde's sports facilities.

"Anyone who knew him was not fooled for long by his fierce appearance and introspective manner, and would quickly realise that here was a man who lived to encourage people to participate, whether trying a sport or exercise for the first time, or competing at international level, or embarking on a trek into the wilderness," Mr Martin said.

During his career at Strathclyde, Mr Manzie undertook an honours BEd degree and also played a part in several research projects. He was promoted to head of the PE department in 1998. Latterly, he took up cycling, regularly commuting from his Paisley home by bike.

He was predeceased by his wife Chris in June, and is survived by a daughter and son.


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