RRHS coach Toby Manzanares, issuing directions to his players at a 2022 match. (Gary Herron/Observer)

No coach can have that much success — even great coaches lose a few games or matches for every 10 they win.

Rio Rancho High School volleyball coach Toby Manzanares racked up his 500th coaching victory Nov. 1 against visiting Volcano Vista, and he’s keeping the ball used in the final point of that momentous win, which came on a spike by senior Victoria Echerivel at 8:25 p.m.

Most of those with the Rams, who he led to six state championships during a nine-year run of championship matches (2001-09).

Manzanares is the only volleyball coach RRHS has had. He’s also racked up victories at Socorro, St. Pius X and Moriarty.

“I think it is awesome that Toby has 500 wins,” said RRPS Executive Director of Athletics Bruce Carver. “Very few coaches get to this point.

“He is a guy who has spent his adult life coaching volleyball. It’s pretty mind-boggling,” Carver said. “He is one of the senior ambassadors in the sport of volleyball in New Mexico and he is looked up to by so many former players and coaches around the state. Secondly, he is passionate about coaching — not only as it relates to the sport that he cares about so much, but also about coaching athletes to be successful people. He cares and it shows in everything he does.”

Manzanares cherishes championships, but it’s not only about blue trophies.

“He cares about the players. He’s a student of the game,” said his assistant of 25 seasons, Ken Carpenter.

Christine Norton, once his libero and now the volleyball coach at Cibola High, said she “stole” a lot of volleyball drills to improve her Cougars’ chances of success, and had an idea of what makes Manz successful.

“I think it was the kids that he had coming into his program wanted to keep the tradition alive,” Norton said. “What came before you is important. … He preaches team, team, team – it doesn’t matter if you’re the best hitter, it doesn’t matter if you’re the worst hitter, he’s going to push every single one of you just the same.”

“He has a home life. He knows how to turn it off,” said Carol Manzanares, his wife of 31 years and a presence at nearly every match. “He never ranted or raved or anything like that. He’s always been at an even keel.

“He doesn’t show a lot of emotions, but he feels very deeply,” she added. “He loves this game, he loves this team, and just loves this sport. He may come across as non-emotional. He’s done as much as he can his whole career to further this sport.”