From the Manchester College Archives

News Release

Jeri Kornegay, Director of Media and Public Relations


Manchester College basketball

scores with alumnus bequest

Manchester College basketball players are scoring with the bequest of former Spartan Dwight “Pete” Byerly, from funding toward a new locker rooms and other facility improvements to a new team vehicle. The 1930 social studies education graduate and his wife Helen (who, when totaled together taught 87 years) left more than $700,000 to the Division III basketball program.

The bequest was placed into the Dwight P. and Helen L. Byerly Fund, and is generating funds annually for the basketball program and all Spartan athletics.

The gift was a natural for the proud M Association member, who enjoyed reminiscing about playing for Spartan basketball (and tennis). He died in July 1991 at the age of 87. Helen Byerly, who died at the age of 100 in May 2005, wanted to memorialize her husband’s love for basketball. (The couple began planning the bequest in the 1980s.)

Pete Byerly taught mathematics at the former Harmar School, and coached basketball, developing a significant feeder program to Fort Wayne’s Central High School basketball powerhouse. Several of his players achieved stature in the sport, as college athletes and even with the Harlem Globetrotters. Coach Byerly also took the former Kirkland Township High School in Adams County, Ind., to the Final Four at Indianapolis. Byerly kept his Spartan varsity letter sweater pristine through the years, said a cousin, Ed Bryan, a 1960 physical education graduate of the College.

Byerly retired in 1969 as assistant principal and basketball coach for the former Memorial Park Junior High School in Fort Wayne. He also taught at Elmhurst High School and schools in Arcola, Avila and Roanoke and refereed throughout northeastern and north central Indiana. Helen Byerly taught all 43 years in her rural hometown of Arcola, Ind., west of Fort Wayne. (The couple met while teaching in Arcola.) He earned a master’s degree in education from Indiana University in 1939.

“We are honored that the family continues to remember Manchester,” said President Jo Young Switzer, whose father, John F. Young ’42, former associate superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools, was a good friend of Pete Byerly. The Byerly bequest is one of the largest gifts in MC history to offset the cost of Spartan athletics.

“He was a proud Manchester grad and gave coaching and teaching his all,” said Ed Bryan. Family members also recall Uncle Pete as a creative and enthusiastic practical joker.

The College shares a long Byerly family lineage: nephews Joseph Mann ’59, Patrick Mann ’62, Dennis Mann ’66, a niece, Becky Mann ’72 Copeland, and her husband Dr. Bruce Copeland ’71, cousin Ed Bryan ’60, as well as great niece Kara Wolheter 05n Dunker and great nephew Nat Bryan ’88.  

Basketball is a strong Spartan program in NCAA Division III. The men's team opened its current season ranked 25th nationally in the pre-season poll, coached by Brad Nadborne. Manchester’s women’s basketball teams have made three trips to the nationals in the past five years, led by Coach Josh Dzurick.

For more about Spartan athletics and planned giving to Manchester College, visit

November 2010

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