With thirty-two years of professional coaching experience, the 2019 PLL championship, a handful of Coach of the Year accolades, and a few career records under his belt, perhaps it’s time for Jim Stagnitta to add high school lacrosse coach to his repertoire.
The Hun School is proud to welcome Jim Stagnitta as the head coach of our Boys Lacrosse Program. While Mr. Stagnitta is the newest member of the Athletic Department, the department has a track record of hiring exceptional coaching talent. Last spring, Tracey Arndt, former U.S National Team player, joined as the Co-Athletics Director and Coach of Varsity Girls Field Hockey.
“I’m no stranger to high school lacrosse,” Mr. Stagnitta said. “As a parent, I’ve watched my son play at the high school level. As a coach at Rutgers, I’ve recruited players from high school, Hun included. I’ve learned what it takes to get players to the next level, so coaching high school will allow me to develop these student-athletes and help them build a foundation for a successful future.”
On the collegiate level, Mr. Stagnitta has coached both Division 1 and Division 3 teams, including Rutgers University, Arcadia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington and Lee University. But, in his career he has also managed to take his coaching to the next level, the professional level. He began his professional career as head coach for Major League Lacrosse team, the Denver Outlaws. Later, he served as assistant coach and Offensive Coordinator for the Florida Launch. After a few successful seasons, he moved on to fill the position of head coach for the Charlotte Hounds. Most recently, Mr. Stagnitta is the head coach of the Whipsnakes of the Premiere Lacrosse League.
During his time coaching college and professional teams, his accomplishments include seven NCAA berths, MLL Coach of the year in 2013 and 2016, Division 1 Coach of the Year in 2003, Coaches Association Man of the Year in 2005, and five time Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
While Mr. Stagnitta’s success as a men’s lacrosse coach is undoubtedly exceptional, it’s his off-the-field work that sets him apart from other coaches.
Through his career and personal experiences, Mr. Stagnitta has drawn many parallels between psychology and lacrosse and crafted a comprehensive outlook of the game. He is the founder and president of two companies which focus on just that: MVP Development Group and Complete Athlete 360. The MVP Development Group is a company on a mission to specialize customized approaches to helping professional and collegiate sports teams in the areas of culture, leadership, and communication. Complete Athlete 360 is built on the foundation that leadership, education, wellness, and psychology are key factors in the success of coaches and teams.
“When I first started these corporations, we were working with high schools and student athletes,” Mr. Stagnitta said. “We have grown to accommodate teams at higher levels but because I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t work for athletes. It’s important for student-athletes, especially at the high school level to learn self-worth, resilience, trust, and how to make people around you better. Teaching players those aspects of life is the driving force behind my coaching style.”
While Mr. Stagnitta is no stranger to winning, he explains that when he begins working with the players, he plans to teach players to focus on celebrating the journey just as much as celebrating the wins.
“Success isn’t about winning,” he said. “Success comes from the journey and the growth, so as a coach, I celebrate the journey of each player and each team. Each player learns differently, each player develops differently; it’s my obligation to nurture the different ways each player will grow and celebrate that.”
Mr. Stagnitta explains that he is particularly excited to work with high school athletes because he knows that the four years they spend at The Hun School are very formative years, and he plans to help his players develop not only as athletes, but also as individuals.
“There’s a difference between coaching and leading; I’m here to be a leader for the team and to help them flourish and grow.”