It’s a family tradition


“Cane Pride Never Dies” takes on a personal meaning in the Dunbar family, who has three cousins who played and now all coach for the Manatee Football team. Coaches Terrace Dunbar, Dominique Dunbar, and Tracy Sanders are three cousins at the football coaching staff’s core. All three went to Manatee and played football here in the past on championship-winning teams, so they have an instilled sense of pride in their alma mater.

Coach Terrace Dunbar graduated in 1992, playing in 1991 nationally ranked football team, going on to play football at Northeast Louisiana University, which is now the University of Louisiana-Monroe. While he played, Dunbar always thought homecoming was a blast, with all of the traditions surrounding it, especially being an athlete. Dunbar remembers so many other traditions and every one holds a different memory, especially the chant that the football team does before each game.

“…the one that resonates the most and probably what any football player that has gone through this system will say this is the pre-game chant. That one thing is something that is embedded in us as well as being so impactful because it has so much meaning. On top of that, you knew that year after year it was being done, so it almost became like a personal pledge,” stated Dunbar.

This chant was adopted sometime in the 1970s as one of the Hurricane’s many traditions, and Dunbar said it’s not going anywhere.

Pass it on– Dominque Dunbar hands the ball off to a running back in a district playoff game. He came back to coach in 2009. “It feels good coaching in a program full of athletes that are either family or kids of former teammates and there is no greater pleasure of giving back to a program that gave so much to you,” said Dunbar.

“The school itself, it becomes a part of your heart when you go through that football program… there was so much pride here when it came to football; this was the school, it was embedded, and you knew you were representing that M no matter what you did and where you went.”

Dunbar’s cousin, Dominique Dunbar, wholeheartedly agrees on that point. The younger Dunbar graduated in 2000 and was the starting quarterback for the Canes that season. Dunbar explained that he lives in a family and city that was all for the Hurricanes. He attended Miller Elementary, King Middle School, Manatee High, and later received a football scholarship to play at the University of Louisville. For someone who grew up here and then went off to play college football, the word that Dunbar uses to describe Friday nights at Manatee was “electric.”

“The tradition of manatee high school is something that you must live. Growing up in a family and a city that bleeds red, white, and blue you hear of the epic pep rallies, games, and players in which most I have had the pleasure of experiencing as a fan and player… Friday nights were amazing and electric from seeing tailgaters, little kids running around pretending to be you and our stadium packed beyond capacity,” said Dunbar.

Dunbar led his team to the district playoffs in 2000 and goes on to explain that “Manatee’s tradition is one you must live and experience.”

Coach Tracy Sanders is first cousins with Terrance Dunbar and is the oldest of the three, graduating in 1984. He was on the 1983 team that was deemed the year of the “Magic,” according to Sanders, when the Hurricanes went undefeated and won the state championship. After that, attended Florida State University, moved to different cities to chase his dream of pro-football, finally coming back to teach in 1998.

Sanders is currently on his second stint with the Hurricanes after leaving from 2012-2017, returning to coach with Coach Shakir. He chose to come back in 2017 to set an example for upcoming players in the community, showing that if he can go through Manatee, win a state championship and get a football scholarship for college, they can do it too.

At Manatee, it all comes back to family for the Dunbars, whether it be playing, coaching or teaching the next generation to play with the same pride that they did.

“Sometimes I sit back and- we often stand together- and I think in the back of my mind like wow, this really is awesome. For all three of us to be standing together, doing what we love, together, in a place that we all have so much pride in and I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say that. Then it hits me like, this is unique, this is something that’s special,” stated Coach Terrace Dunbar.

Calling the Shots– Tracy Sanders calls a play in the middle of the field his senior year. Sanders always loved the high intensity of the football games. “Our students and fans would get so excited that it would fire all the players up and we would be ready to go out and perform at a very high level,” said Sanders.
Smiling Bright– Senior Dominique Dunbar is happy to pose for his yearbook picture as a Homecoming King nominee. The tradition at Manatee is one of the reasons that Dunbar came back to coach. “The tradition of Manatee high school is something that you must live,” stated Dunbar.