Jim Stagnitta, a coach who has guided lacrosse teams for 32 years, including both Division I and Division III collegiate teams and professional teams, has been named the new head lacrosse coach for the boys’ team at the Hun School.
Stagnitta has been a coach at Rutgers University, Arcadia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Washington and Lee University. He began his professional career as the head coach for a Major League Lacrosse team, the Denver Outlaws. Later, he served as the 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, he served as 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, Major League Lacross 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.
He is also the founder and president of two companies. The MVP Development Group specializes in customized approaches to helping professional and collegiate sports teams in the areas of culture, leadership, and communication. Complete Athlete 360 focuses on leadership, education, wellness, and psychology as key factors in the success of coaches and teams.
“When I first started these corporations, we were working with high schools and student-athletes,” 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.”
Stagnitta said when he begins working with players, he teaches them 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.”
Stagnitta said he is no stranger to high school sports. “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,” he said, “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.”
Stagnitta said he is particularly excited to work with high school athletes because he knows those years 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,” he said.