Mann was born in Long Beach, California. In 1969, Mann won his first NCAA 440 intermediate hurdles championship with a time of 49.6 seconds. Tying the NCAA and American records, the time was three-tenths of a second off the world record. A year later in Des Moines, Iowa, Mann captured his second NCAA championship and set a new world record time of 48.8 seconds for the 440 intermediate hurdles.
During his collegiate career Ralph was NCAA champion three times. He was a three-time All-American, and in 1970 was second in the voting for the Sullivan Award.
Mann co-wrote the book "Swing Like a Pro: The Breakthrough Scientific Method of Perfecting Your Golf Swing" with Fred Griffin. This book was the culmination of Dr. Mann's expertise in the field of biomechanics and Griffin's experience of teaching golf as a PGAProfessional for many years.