Former quarterback Jason Manson returns to Iowa football as director of player development

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Iowa football’s director of player development holds an important role. That person is tasked to help more than 100 high-profile football players adjust to the demands of life in college, academically and socially. That person needs to detect if someone might be having a bad day and why … and help him through it.

Broderick Binns was that guy from 2016 until last July, when he was named the athletics department’s director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. And now, after 10 months, Binns’ full-time successor has been named.

Jason Manson, a former backup quarterback at Iowa, on Wednesday was named to the director of player development role. He takes over for former Hawkeye defensive lineman Sam Brincks, who held the interim title for the past 10 months. Manson was most recently the head football coach and assistant dean of students at the St. Thomas More School in Montville, Connecticut. He has also been an assistant football coach for Central Connecticut State (from 2010 to 2014).

The importance of this hire took on heightened meaning with last summer’s outcry and investigation over racial disparities within the Iowa football program. A chief complaint of some Black former players was that they didn’t feel Iowa offered an inclusive atmosphere, which led to a high rate of Black players transferring.

Part of Manson’s new role will be to make sure all players feel welcomed and supported during their time at Iowa.

Jason Manson, left, was Drew Tate's primary backup at quarterback during his Hawkeye career in the mid-2000s. Manson is now the Hawkeyes' director of player development.

"Jason was a valued team member and leader during his Iowa career," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. "His perspective and experience since graduation will be a great benefit to our players in his new role."

Manson made one career start during his Hawkeye career, and it’s one many fans will never forget. Starting at Syracuse with regular quarterback Drew Tate injured, Manson helped the Hawkeyes to a 20-13 double-overtime win in the Carrier Dome. Sure, Manson threw four interceptions in the game, but he finished 16-for-32 passing for 202 yards and also rushed for another 25.

He finished his Iowa career 42-for-85 passing for 440 yards … and 1-0 as a starter. Notably for his new role, he was Iowa’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2006 and a three-year member of the Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC).

Manson is the second former Hawkeye from early in Ferentz's head-coaching tenure who has been brought aboard in recent months. In March, Ladell Betts (the program's No. 2 all-time rusher) was brought back to become Iowa's running-backs coach.