After a tumultuous and unpredictable first off-season, the Arcadia Knight’s Lacrosse team enters its second season of existence with a new coach at the helm.
Jim Stagnitta stepped in as new head coach of the lacrosse program on September 27th this past fall. Stagnitta brings in nearly thirty years of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels. Stagnitta was the MLL Coach of the year last season after going 14-0 as coach of the Denver Outlaws, where he has spent the past two years. The biggest and most obvious question is why? What made Stagnitta choose Arcadia? Stagnitta made it clear that comfort played a large role in his decision. “If I was going to go back into the college level, it was going to be at a place where I was comfortable, at a level I felt like I would really enjoy again.” Stagnitta went on to say that the quality of the program was a huge factor as well. “I was very impressed with the direction of the athletic department and the director Brian Granata, and the commitment to the program.”
This marks only the second season of Knight’s Lacrosse, so Stagnitta is looking forward to molding the program in his image. “I’ve rebuilt programs, but never really from scratch.” Stagnitta also demands strong performances both on and off the field. “My goal is to build a kind of a strong sustainable foundation based on quality of player, but also quality of character and person.”
Entering his first season as Head Coach, the question arises; how will the players respond and will they buy in? After a win in their first game of the year, things look to be bright. Stagnitta believes that his proven track record will significantly help the guys buy into his system, but he wants the guys to look at him as more than just their head coach. “What I need to do though which is important is not gaining their confidence in a lacrosse standpoint, but getting their confidence and making them understand my universal approach to this; that every aspect of their life I’m interested in and it’s my job to make sure they are successful at everything they do at the college level.”
As far as expectations from a Stagnitta team, he was a defensive player in college. However Stagnitta has used that to give him an offensive advantage. “I think kind of with my background in all sports having played defense in college it kind of gives you a real good feel of what works in the offensive end.” Whatever he does has proven to work, setting many offensive records, including most goals in an MLL season with 229. “I love to be able to play fast, but not hurry. It’s more fun to play that way.”
Stagnitta came to coach at Arcadia because he says nothing else compares to coaching at the college level. His love of growing and developing each player into adults was what brought him back. “At the end of the day that was the part I missed most and that’s probably the thing that most pushed me back into this level.” With dedication and passion, the development of a high quality lacrosse program is definitely in the making.