There are very few players on the Washington Stealth roster that illustrate the athleticism of the National Lacrosse League better than Brett Manney. He was a three-sport star at Holy Ghost Prep and was recruited to play three Division I sports: soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
“Basketball was my first love,” says Manney, who was a league MVP and county Player of the Year on a team that was a state finalist. He also earned All-Southeastern Pennsylvania honors as a soccer player.
But despite those accolades, Manney chose to advance his athletic career in lacrosse. Even though he didn’t pick up a stick until eighth grade, he excelled as a defensive midfielder and got the opportunity to pursue his education and play lacrosse at the University of Delaware. He was the first lacrosse player from Bucks County to play at the Division I level. His junior year, the Blue Hens advanced to the Final Four where they lost to Johns Hopkins and his Stealth teammate and roommate, Paul Rabil.
But while Manney has always excelled on the playing fields, his true aspirations lie in the broadcaster’s booth. “Ideally, I’d like to be a sports broadcaster either on TV or the radio,” he says. “In my teens, I’d watch guys calling college football and basketball games and I always figured they had the best seats in the house.’’
Manney got his opportunity to have the best seat in the house at Delaware football and basketball games, where he did play-by-play for their radio broadcasts. He is now looking to get his professional broadcasting career started. For the past year, he’s worked for ESPN partner Sportspower.com, where he covers high school basketball, football and lacrosse. He writes weekly articles and appears on podcasts for the website, one being LaxPower.
But that’s just his day job as he continues to work towards his broadcasting career goals. On the weekends, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Manney terrorizes opposing offenses for the Stealth, who open NLL play Saturday at home against the Colorado Mammoth.
It was luck for the Stealth that brought Manney to training camp last year, as his talents flew under the radar of most NLL teams. He got the idea to consider indoor from his Delaware assistant coach Chris Collins. Collins played some indoor during his career and thought that Manney’s solid rock frame and raw athleticism might translate well to the indoor game. Boy was he right. Last season, Manney emerged as one of the bright young defensive stars in the league, in just his first indoor season.
“I learned a lot in my first year,” he says. “We have a great group of guys on our team that were more than willing to help me adapt to the indoor game. Playing alongside guys like Colin Doyle, who is the best player in the league, and defensive guys like Curtis Hodgson and Kyle Sorenson really made it a lot easier. They’ve been playing indoor their whole lives and helped me along.”
Whether it is on the lacrosse field or in the press box, Brett Manney’s future is bright. Stealth fans will have the pleasure of watching this incredible athlete develop for years to come. Here are a few more questions we asked Manney for this week’s “Get to Know the Stealth.”
1. When did you start playing lacrosse and why?
BM: I first picked up a stick in eighth grade to have a pass with my sister who was playing in high school and played a little in the spring that year but did not really start playing till my freshman year of high school at Holy Ghost Prep. My dad encouraged my twin brother Ryan and myself to give it a try after one of our friend’s father, Kevin Casey really thought my brother and I would be great lacrosse players. Thank God he gave my dad the idea.
2. Last season was your first of indoor lacrosse. What were some aspects of the game that you like the most?
BM: Well first off its great to play for an organization that is first class and that starts with our owners Bill and Denise Watkins. I never played box lacrosse before training camp so I had a lot to learn in short amount of time but in the end lacrosse is lacrosse. I loved the ability to compete on a weekly basis against some of the greatest lacrosse players to ever play the game. Playing alongside some of the games greatest players like Gary Gait and wearing the same sweater as the best player in the league Colin Doyle was truly awesome. In addition I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the game, the contact and the tremendous crowd support like playing in front of a sell-out crowds.
3. What are you looking forward to most this season with the Stealth?
BM: Winning a championship. I think we have all the pieces of the puzzle together to go extremely far. From leadership to talent I believe if we all work hard and listen to “Leon” aka Chris Hall and Artie the sky is the limit. In addition, I cannot wait to see everybody at training camp because the guys are great teammates on and off the floor I enjoy every minute I’m with them. Also, I think we have the opportunity to show the fans of Everett and the state of Washington how great the sport is.
4. What is your greatest lacrosse memory?
BM: My greatest lacrosse memory would have to be going to the Final Four with Delaware in 2007. It was the first time Delaware went to the Final Four in lacrosse and the most fans a Delaware sport has ever played in front of. We hit a rough bump in the middle of the season and really came together down the stretch for a remarkable run before eventually losing to my roommate and in my opinion the best player playing outdoor lacrosse and hopefully soon in indoor, Paul Rabil. It was a close game till the end of the third quarter till they started to pull away and eventually won 8-3. That team was able to put Delaware lacrosse on the map and have some memories which will last forever.
5. What are your hobbies outside of lacrosse?
BM: In my spare time I like to vacation in Stone Harbor New Jersey where my family has a shore house, it is my favorite place to go. In addition, I love to play basketball whenever I can because that is really my first love but I could not play at Kansas with an ok jump shot. I also like to stay in shape by going to the gym couple times a week. Other than that I really enjoy relaxing, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my two border collies Dutch and Bodhi.
6. Do you have any pregame superstitions?
BM: I always drink a five hour energy with Kyle Hartzell right before the game. I listen to my ipod and the last song I listen to is the song from Rudy the movie. I also say a prayer which goes all the way back to my CYO days.