Marcus Holman and Brian Holman

Marcus and Brian Holman lead the Cannons with passion and positivity

By Grant DelVecchio

Sep 6, 2023

Marcus Holman would walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play lacrosse. 

Paraphrasing from baseball legend Pete Rose, that’s how Holman best explains the fire that burns within him as it relates to the medicine game. Holman is and has been a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but eleven years into his professional career the expert marksman is currently in the process of completing his magnum opus.

Holman and the Cannons are one win away from advancing to the Cash App Championship after a convincing 20-11 win over Atlas in the quarterfinals on Labor Day. Two days prior, Holman was named the 2023 Eamon McEneaney Attackman of the Year in recognition for one of the best statistical seasons the PLL has ever seen. 

Holman tied the league record for points (44), set a new standard for goals (30) and posted new personal PLL bests in assists (13) and shooting percentage (38%). All while playing under the tutelage of his father, Cannons LC Head Coach and General Manager Brian Holman, the 2023 Dick Edell Coach of the Year.

The Holmans have been on an epic lacrosse journey together; Brian was an assistant coach on UNC’s staff when Marcus was a player before the two teamed up as coaches to build a successful Division 1 program from scratch at Utah. But, this is the first time since the youth lacrosse days that Brian is Marcus’ head coach.

“He makes everyone around him better,” Marcus said about his father.

“He challenges you to be your best, and he's held our team accountable to the standards that he wants for the Cannons. I know that he wants to be great and he wants to win and he's not afraid to challenge his players to do the work required to get there. It’s still surreal to me when I look over there and see him on the sideline.”

It’s in this context that Marcus’ competitive spirit was first set ablaze. He’s never been afraid to take the long road - hence his decision to join the last-place Cannons as one of eight new free agent additions signed in the offseason. 

“I just think this new setting has reinvigorated him to some degree,” Coach Holman reflected on Marcus’ contributions this season.

“Marcus is someone who loves challenges, and coming onto this team knowing that there was leadership and veteran experience needed, I think he really relished the opportunity to use all of his years of experience on a new project. That's the one thing about Marcus that has always impressed me from a coaching perspective and yes, as a parent, is that he's extremely empathetic and he really wants the guys that he's playing with to do well… I think he's found teammates that  are very similar to him in the sense of hard working, blue-collar, team-oriented people, and he’s been really healthy and in good shape this year. All of those things have led to him just being happy and being happy usually leads to people being productive.”

Together, the Holmans have led with passion and positivity. They’ve cultivated a locker room built on trust and shared success, and in turn have been able to engineer one of the more remarkable season to season turnarounds as of late in any professional league.

“I think it’s pretty evident when you watch us play that we share the ball and we work hard for each other. That’s led to career years for guys on the offensive end…I think it reinforces the concept that playing team ball will actually make the individual better, not the other way around.” 

Six of the Cannons' seventrue offensive players - Holman, Asher Nolting, Matt Kavanagh, Ryan Drenner, Jonathan Donville, and Chris Aslanian —  surpassed their previous career high point total this summer with rookie Matt Campbell putting together an impressive 17-point campaign. 

What makes Holman a good lacrosse player is his quick release, pinpoint accuracy and extensive knowledge of offensive and defensive schemes. But what makes Holman a great lacrosse player is entirely intrinsic; his relentless effort is born out of a true fondness for the game and his teammates. In his age 32 season, Holman is playing with the same joy and reckless abandon that he had when his father was first his head coach many years ago. 

“I don't know how many seasons I have left, but all I do know is that every time that I step on the field I just try to play as hard as I can and not take any plays off,” Holman said. 

Another one of Holman’s favorite quotes is from the great Muhammad Ali: “Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision.”

For his whole life, Marcus’ desire was to play lacrosse. As he got older, he began to see the vision of what it would take to get to where he wanted to go. The dream has always been to win  a championship.

On Sunday on Long Island, Marcus will have the chance to get one step closer to turning that dream into reality alongside the man who introduced him to the game he’s committed his life to. Though the outcome may be in question, one thing’s for certain, the Holmans and the Cannons won’t be leaving anything to chance.

Share This With Friends