Cape Fear Community College Coach Ryan Mantlo reflects on playing days, trip to NCAA Tournament

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WILMINGTON – It wasn’t too long ago Cape Fear Community College Men’s Basketball Coach Ryan Mantlo was suiting up for the Liberty University Flames competing in the NCAA Tournament.

The Liberty Flames Sports Network (LSFN) recently caught up with Mantlo prior to his trip to Phoenix, Arizona for this year’s Final Four. LFSN chatted with the former Flame on the impact Liberty made on his life and how it led to him coaching college basketball.

In 2004, Mantlo was team captain of the Liberty men’s basketball squad that made a historic run, winning the Big South Conference and making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament against No. 1 seed, Saint Joseph’s.

Mantlo had a unique journey that led to Liberty and now passing down his experiences to the younger generation. Before graduating from Liberty in 2004, Mantlo started his collegiate career at Eastern Wyoming where he was an all-conference selection.

As a junior transfer, Mantlo made an immediate impact on the Liberty basketball program by contributing record number of minutes played, a team-leading 81 assists, and  team-leading 57 steals. During the same year, he recorded a double-double against the University of Iowa with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while also adding four steals against the Big Ten Conference powerhouse.

Ryan Mantlo excelled on the floor after transferring to Liberty ahead of his junior year. Photo courtesy- Liberty Athletics.
Ryan Mantlo excelled on the floor after transferring to Liberty ahead of his junior year. (Photo courtesy of Liberty Athletics)

During his final season playing college hoops, Mantlo took over the roles of captain and point guard. His former coach Randy Dunton noted Mantlo’s “leadership abilities on the court” and his “basketball savvy” as two of his main attributes.

Mantlo just wrapped up his ninth year as Head Coach at Cape Fear Community College. During his nine-year tenure at CFCC, he’s led the Sea Devils to four, Region 10 tournament championships and garnered District 10 Coach of the Year four times. In 2011, he guided CFCC to a record number of wins (26-9, 10-2) and an eighth place finish in the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.