"Coach Manitta impressed me as a 'can-do' coach with an excellent record of rapidly improving programs he takes over," Manhattan Athletic Director Bob Byrnes said. "He is extremely positive and enjoys an excellent reputation among other lacrosse coaches, which is invaluable in recruiting student-athletes to Manhattan. I feel fortunate to have Steve join us and know his impact will be very positive with the players."
Manitta was hired as the first head coach of Mercy's fledgling men's lacrosse program in 2009. The team began play in 2010 and posted a 5-10 record in the competitive East Coast Conference (ECC) during its inaugural season. In 2011, he was named ECC Coach of the Year after leading the Mavericks to an 11-3 mark. Mercy was nationally ranked in 10 of 12 weeks that season, peaking at No. 7, and the six-win improvement represented the biggest jump of any program in NCAA Division II. In addition, Mercy led Division II in man-down defense in 2011, allowing just seven goals in 68 man-down situations (10.3 percent).
Among the 80-plus players Manitta recruited during his time at Mercy was goalkeeper T.J. DiCarlo, who was the USILA Division II Goalkeeper of the Year and an All-American in 2011.
"I want to thank Mr. Byrnes for allowing me this opportunity," Manitta said. "We had a few very positive conversations about the direction of Manhattan College and the MAAC. I'm absolutely thrilled to be a Jasper and excited to get started. Right things happen when the time is right."
Prior to his arrival at Mercy, Manitta was the head coach at Chatham High School in Chatham, N.J., from 2001-09. He compiled a 115-47 record at Chatham and developed five All-American players, including the 2008 NJSIAA Player of the Year. Manitta guided the Cougars to a pair of conference titles in 2007-08, as well as consecutive appearances in the Morris County Tournament semifinals. His 2002 squad reached the state quarterfinals for the first time school history.
Manitta began his coaching career at Roxbury High School in Succasunna, N.J., where he established the lacrosse program in 1993. He guided the program to the state tournament in just its third year of existence and mentored eight all-conference players, including five all-state selections, in seven seasons.
"I think that starting two programs from the ground-up and having success right away is beneficial," Manitta said. "The MAAC is a very competitive conference, and Manhattan is outstanding academically, as well."
Manitta is just the third head coach in the history of the Manhattan men's lacrosse program, which began play in 1996.He and his wife, Kim, reside in Chatham, N.J., with their two sons, Teddy and Colin.