The Hun School has named Jim Stagnitta as its new head coach for the varsity boys lacrosse team.
Stagnitta takes the helm of the Raiders program with 32 years of professional coaching experience, which includes the 2019 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) championship, and Coach of the Year accolades.
“I’m no stranger to high school lacrosse,” 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, Stagnitta has coached both Division I and Division III teams, including Rutgers University, Arcadia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington and Lee University.
He began his professional career as head coach for a 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, according to the Hun School.
Most recently, 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 I 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.
According to the Hun School, 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. 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,” Stagnitta said. “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 added 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. Success comes from the journey and the growth, so as a coach, I celebrate the journey of each player and each team,” he said. “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 explained that he is particularly excited to work with high school athletes because he knows that the four years they spend at Hun 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.