Manuel Garcia '94 Pins Down Success in Miami

“I believe it’s safe to say he’s the best wrestler Christ School ever had. He’s a young man with the highest virtues and morals. He has no bad habits, and he’s very vocal around people who are doing things they shouldn’t be doing. His drive to do well is going to make him a success.”

Leigh Harris in the May 28, 1994, edition of the Asheville Citizen-Times. 

Now that 30 years have passed, it can be said that Mr. Harris did not tell a single lie regarding Manuel Garcia ’94. And the respect still goes both ways. 

“Harris was the one. He really forged me,” Manuel said. 

“I still have a quote from him that I live by, ‘Don’t be sorry, be responsible.’ That goes for everything in life – relationships, sports, business. If you follow that motto, you should be successful.”

Manuel has found the perfect work-life balance in Miami, where he serves as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Pacific Coral Seafood. The family-owned company has been in operation since 1974 and services the U.S. with millions of pounds of inventory in fresh shrimp, tuna, mahi-mahi, grouper, snapper, and trout. 

Wrestling-wise, Manuel is still very much active at age 47, whether it is coaching local youth or rolling around with fighters training for the UFC and Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions. 

“I’m very happy here in Miami,” Manuel said. 

“I had lived in Puerto Rico all my life with the exception of boarding school and college. I moved here for work and found a home here. I keep in pretty good shape. My body doesn’t know the word no, so I just keep going.”

Manuel was a three-time state champion in high school and holds every major record for a Greenie program which was folded at the end of the 2016-17 season – career wins (100), career pins (81), and single-season wins (43). He represented his native country of Puerto Rico in the Pan Am Games. Christ School won the NCISAA dual team championship his senior year and Manuel was later inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. 

“Wrestling is an individual sport, but we had a really good, solid team,” Manuel recalls. 

“It really was like the Three Musketeers in that room – all for one and one for all. We pushed ourselves and Harris was the main guy pushing us all to be better.” 

Manuel’s parents liked the Blue Ridge mountains so much that they bought a home in Flat Rock, N.C., and he plans to return for Alumni Weekend next fall. 

“A lot of the things I am today, I owe to my mom and dad sending me to Christ School,” Manuel said. 

“I was going down a dark path and the school got me away from all that. I’m very grateful.”