How Will Manny Ended Up a Whipsnake

By Adam Lamberti

Apr 21, 2023

When Will Manny became a free agent in February, he assumed he would re-sign as an Archer.

A core player for the Archers since its inception, it seemed likely there would be mutual interest in bringing back Manny. But as the process moved on, Manny decided to test the market and see his options.

“I honestly didn't see myself leaving the Archers, but when it came down to it, I just wasn't feeling much of the appreciation from the Archers club and Coach Bates. And I said to myself, "You know, why not?” I've been playing pro lacrosse for ten years, why not go experience free agency and see who would want me out there?”

Outside the Archers, the team that made the most sense for Manny to sign with was the Cannons. Manny, Cannons LC Head Coach Brian Holman, and former Archers teammate Marcus Holman, who signed a deal to play for his dad this offseason, all coached at the University of Utah together. 

At the same time, Coach Stagnitta was looking to sign an attackman who had the ability to stretch a defense while being a dodging threat. Will Manny came up as a potential fit.

“I needed somebody who could put the ball in the cage consistently, someone who could play off-ball, and also someone that if someone put a short-stick on him, they would think twice because he could break him down and beat him,” said Stagnitta. “And I know Will can still do that.”

Because of the connection to the Cannons, Stagnitta assumed he wouldn’t have a shot at one of the top free agents on the market. But then at the Championship Series, Stagnitta asked Manny if he would be willing to talk, and their relationship grew from there.

“Our conversation was just awesome,” Manny said. “I felt that I was going to a place that wants me as a goal scorer, but doesn't want me just playing off-ball. They can use me in different ways, which I've been wanting to do with the Archers, but that's just not how we played.” 

Manny should be a natural fit in the Whipsnakes motion offense with his balanced scoring, racking up 33 points last season on 16 goals and 17 assists. While he will be a dodging option to take pressure off primary Whipsnakes ball carriers Matt Rambo, Zed Williams, and Brad Smith, his finishing ability on the left side should help a Whipsnakes team that shot a league-low 26.5%.

Not only does Manny fit the Whipsnakes offensive philosophy on the field, but he’s already impressed Coach Stagnitta off the field with his commitment to the Whipsnakes culture.

“What my takeaway was, is that he truly wants to be at a place where the perception is you could be successful right away,” Stagnitta said. “I think that he truly is one of those guys that you can coach. He’s a good fit for us and he'll embrace whatever role is necessary for him to play and for us to be successful.”

Ultimately, for Manny, the thought of joining the most successful PLL franchise from a winning standpoint paired with honest conversations about his role with the team led him to sign.

“I've been playing pro lacrosse going on my 11th year and I haven't won a championship yet,” Manny said. “It was a tough decision to bounce away from my best friends and Marcus and all that, but at the same time I felt really confident that this lacrosse club really wanted me. I have a relationship with a bunch of guys on the Whips and, you know, I want to win. And that's what those guys do on a day to day basis once the summer starts. And I'm really excited to be a part of it.”

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