Greetings from New Brunswick, NJ

Greetings from New Brunswick, NJ

Greetings from New Brunswick, NJ

Greetings from New Brunswick, NJ

Jim Stagnitta was named the new head coach for Rutgers Men’s Lacrosse on October 19th and since then his life has been a total whirlwind. First he had to leave Lexington, VA where he had been working since 1989. Then Stagnitta starting working 12 hour days based out of New Jersey trying to build relationships on numerous fronts. Primarily, he has had to meet the squad he has inherited and begin to assess their skills as well as determine the type of people they are. Second he has had to work on his future players, visiting new recruits and firming up previous commitments made to Rutgers while current Loyola Head Coach Bill Dirrigl was at the helm. Stagnitta has also been out with another former Head Coach, Tom Hays meeting and greeting the large and influential Rutgers lacrosse alumni. All of this has been done without the benefit of a first assistant who Stagnitta is close to hiring. Needless to say, Coach Stagnitta has been quite busy. Unfortunately, the spring does not look much easier with Towson, Princeton, Notre Dame and Syracuse on the schedule.

Stagnitta says he knew most of the players on Rutgers from recruiting them while they were high school students. The difference between the W&L kids and his new players, “My kids at Washington & Lee were pretty good players but the access I have to the Rutgers players is the biggest difference.” The Rutgers players are “a little bigger, a little more athletic but I had 7 or 8 [at Washington & Lee] who could play here. For instance, I left one of the best face-off guys in the country at any level.” Stagnitta has been spending over four hours a day doing individual workouts with small groups of players. What he has seen so far really excites Stagnitta, “There are a lot of talented athletes in this program. They have so much to learn and have improved so much in these first few weeks yet we still have a way to go.” Stagnitta mentioned five players who have stood out in the sessions: Nick Schmidt, Jr., defense; Dan Bivona, So., defense/LSM; Joe Duncan, So., middie; Jeff Duca, Jr., middie; and Andrew Conforti, So., defense. Two things are noticeably absent from that list: attack men and seniors. Well, Stagnitta says that the attack is young with the exception of Junior Kenny Springer, who is the younger brother of Syracuse All-American Mike Springer. The roster overall lacks seniors and with the young talent that Stagnitta would like to bring a long the seniors may not be needed. Overall, the quality that Stagnitta has noticed in the players most obviously since his arrival is their hard work. “They are working hard in the weight room and with conditioning and that makes my job that much easier.”

Recruiting has been different in New Jersey. First of all Stagnitta is closer to a lot of players than he was at W&L. “The closest area for me used to be 3 ½ hours. Now I can work all day and still drive only an hour and a half to a kid’s home.” Stagnitta said his focus in recruiting would be on Long Island and New Jersey. “You have to keep a good balance. Obviously it is an advantage with money for in-state kids.” Speaking of money, Rutgers is fully funded giving them 12.6 scholarships to play with. This is only the second year with that advantage. Rutgers is also in the second of a three-year sponsorship deal from STX. The lacrosse team will also benefit from the football team’s deal with Nike for gear. Stagnitta will be able to look at a lot more kids coming from Rutgers than W&L because of the money and the lower academic standards. “It is a big difference between a small liberal arts school which is essentially an Ivy and a large state university.” Rutgers will have 3-4 early commitments and only 8-9 overall this year.

Stagnitta feels like his team will be in the top level of lacrosse soon, “I’d like to be in the Final Four this year.” He feels like if they do things to stay in the game anything can happen in the fourth quarter. “All we have to do is sneak up on one of the big boys one day and the whole approach here will change.” Stagnitta will have plenty of opportunities to do that with what looks like possibly the toughest schedule in the country. The first two scrimmages will be against Hopkins and Hofstra. Then in the regular season they have the previously mentioned final four participants, ECAC match-ups Georgetown, UMass, Navy and UMBC, plus out of conference foe Delaware. Wow. But as they saying goes, “If you want to be the best you have to play the best.” And the Scarlet Knights are on their way to doing that.

The administration at W&L has just recently begun to search for a new head coach there. As Stagnitta said, “If there is one thing about Mike Walsh it is that he is very thorough.” It is clear that it will be difficult to find a replacement of Stagnitta’s caliber this late in the game as the dominos from Maryland continue to fall that spot will be interesting.

Stagnitta makes a worthwhile point about the future in New Brunswick, “I wouldn’t leave a wonderful situation if I didn’t think this was a wonderful opportunity. I just wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I could accomplish my goal and the goals of Rutgers lacrosse.” With the challenging schedule and young players it will be tough for Rutgers to make the final four no less the NCAA tournament this year but with some time under the Stagnitta regime, a Final Four should not be such an outlandish idea.

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Stags needs a reality check
    by (#17678) on 11/14/01 @12:37PM
Stags definitely needs to relax and think before making public statements like this again. "My kids at W&L were pretty good players..." Pretty good? You've got to be kidding me. The W&L team he left is definitely better and more competitive than the Rutgers team he joined. If those kids were "pretty good," then his current kids must be "pretty terrible." I would love to see Rutgers scrimmage W&L sometime.

Stags blew me away with his aspiration of making the Final Four this year. He should feel grateful if his team ends in the top 20. Stags never made public claims at W&L like "we want to go to the national championship," it was an unspoken goal. Every division 1 team wants to go to the Final Four. Stags has a new thing coming when his team lines up for the first time against quality competition.

I honestly hope that he does well, but maybe he should be wiser with his words in the future.
Reply to this

   wait a sec... by 11/14/01 @1:24PM
      Maybe you should wait a sec by 11/14/01 @3:14PM
         coach stags by 11/14/01 @3:32PM
         it usually is quality of play... by 11/14/01 @6:31PM
         clarification by 11/15/01 @12:56AM
            massole by 11/15/01 @3:52PM
            Aight by 11/15/01 @4:04PM
               DAVE CURRY & JOE CEGLIA by 11/19/01 @6:09PM
               DAVE CURRY & JOE CEGLIA by 11/19/01 @6:17PM
            HS LAX by 11/19/01 @4:38PM
            HS LAX by 11/19/01 @4:39PM
   scrimmage???? by 11/14/01 @4:09PM
      23-2 by 11/14/01 @4:41PM
         point taken by 11/14/01 @5:14PM
      W&L over UNC by 11/14/01 @5:42PM
         yo by 11/14/01 @5:50PM
         W&L over UNC by 11/14/01 @8:48PM
            missing the point by 11/15/01 @2:06AM
            unc by 11/20/01 @12:35AM
         I refuse to believe.... by 11/15/01 @7:55AM
            The Point by 11/15/01 @3:35PM
               what a crock by 11/15/01 @3:50PM
                  examples by 11/15/01 @4:28PM
                     (no subject) by 11/15/01 @4:59PM
                        (no subject) by 11/15/01 @5:16PM
                           please allow me to clarify by 11/15/01 @5:36PM
                              (no subject) by 11/15/01 @6:05PM
                                 yes, the same page now (nt) by 11/16/01 @7:48AM
                        What? by 11/15/01 @7:48PM
                           Exactly by 11/15/01 @8:45PM
                              Yes by 11/15/01 @9:35PM
                                 (no subject) by 11/16/01 @1:26AM
                                    that is what I am talking about (nt) by 11/16/01 @7:48AM
                                       ridiculous by 11/16/01 @10:05AM
                                          (no subject) by 11/16/01 @4:24PM
not to be confused with Tenacious D
    by (#13195) on 11/15/01 @9:13AM
iclamp is gay
Reply to this

If pigs could fly
    by (#2700) on 11/15/01 @12:04PM
Quote 1 - The BBC reported that Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is speaking of a plan in the works to destroy the United States. "If God's help is with us this will happen within a short period of time."

Quote 2 - Stagnitta feels like his team will be in the top level of lacrosse soon, Id like to be in the Final Four this year.
Reply to this