College Sports PR Pioneer Dies
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Paul Manasseh, a pioneer in the field of college sports public relations and longtime sports information director at LSU, died Sunday. He was 79.
He had been hospitalized in declining health since Jan. 14, when the car he was driving went out of control and crashed into a tree.
Manasseh spent more than 40 years in professional and college athletics, including 12 as the SID at LSU and four as the first public relations director of the Denver Broncos.
Manasseh was a pacesetter in sports media relations, making LSU one of the first to use highlight films to publicize its sports teams. Manasseh was recognized nationally for his work and in 1978 was voted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame.
Considered a master of promoting athletes for all-star honors, he spearheaded the campaigns of 13 athletes to All-America status at LSU.
Manasseh was referred to as the only man who could make a second-team quarterback a first-team All-American, referring to Tigers star Bert Jones, who played in a two-quarterback system at LSU in 1972.
``He helped a lot of young people,″ former LSU football coach Charles McClendon said. ``He helped a lot of young and old people, as a matter of fact, including me. We laughed together and cried together. He was a great person.″
Former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown remembered Manasseh for special promotions that helped build the basketball program at a football-crazed school.
Under Manasseh’s direction, LSU won numerous awards for its media publications during the 1970s, once claiming nine national awards in one year.
Manasseh also was known for tutoring numerous students who went on to successful careers in sports journalism and media relations.
Manasseh attended LSU from 1937-39 and worked for the Shreveport Journal from 1939-42 prior to entering the Army during World War II. He served at the Army’s public information office in New Orleans and the Counter Intelligence Corps in Philadelphia and New York.
After the war, Manasseh returned to the Journal in 1946 and served as editor of the Bossier Tribune for one year before becoming sports director of KWKH radio in Shreveport.
In the 1950s he was general manager for the Monroe Sports of the Cotton States Baseball League and director of public relations for minor league baseball teams in Shreveport, Denver, and Dallas.
He also was the original director of public relations for the Broncos of the AFL from 1960-63 and assistant general manager for the Broncos until 1966.
Manasseh moved to the Dallas Cowboys as special assistant for kicking tryout camps in 1967, a position which led to his becoming SID at Louisiana Tech in 1968.
He moved to LSU the next year, was promoted to SID in 1971 and held that position for 12 years.
Following retirement in 1983, Manasseh joined the Memphis Showboats of the USFL as director of public relations, then was hired by the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL prior to that team’s first game in the spring of 1984.
When the Breakers moved to Portland, Manasseh became executive director of the Independence Bowl. In 1989 he retired from the Independence Bowl and worked as a freelance columnist and media relations staffer with the Sugar Bowl.
Manasseh is survived by two sons, John and James, both of Baton Rouge.
Funeral services were pending.