Tag Archives: Jim Stagnitta

Major League Lacrosse: Denver Outlaws Announce Resignation Of Head Coach Jim Stagnitta And Promotion Of B.J. O’Hara, Who Has Spent 11 Seasons In MLL And 38 Years As Lacrosse Coach

Denver Outlaws 2013 Media GuideStagnitta resigns following a season in which he led the Outlaws to the first undefeated season in MLL history and earned the league’s

Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta

Former Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta

Coach of the Year Award. In his two seasons as the team’s head coach, Denver put together a league-best 25-3 record with the team’s 25 wins under his leadership representing the most in a two-year span in league history.

The Outlaws on Friday announced that they have promoted B.J. O’Hara as the team’s Head Coach after Jim Stagnitta stepped down from the position. O’Hara will enter his 11th MLL season in 2014 and his 38th overall as a lacrosse coach. O’Hara has posted a career coaching record of 231-170 (.576 pct.) through his first 37 years of coaching.

“We are very happy to announce the appointment of BJ O’Hara as the new head coach of the Denver Outlaws,” General Manager Tony Seaman said. “He has brought a great deal of MLL experience as well as college success to the Outlaws over the past two years as an assistant coach. We are all very excited that he is taking over the leadership role.”
Denver Outlaws Head Coach B.J. O'Hara
Denver Outlaws Head Coach B.J. O’Hara
O’Hara has served as an assistant coach for the Outlaws since 2012, helping the team post a league-best 25-3 record (.893 pct.). Denver has outscored opponents 465-307 in that time period with that 159-goal differential leading all MLL teams in that span.
O’Hara helped coach a team that set 21 team records and 10 MLL records in 2013 on its way to become the first in MLL history and just the fourth team in North American major pro sports to finish a season undefeated. Denver’s 14-0 record set a league mark for most wins in a season.
In his first season as an assistant coach for the Outlaws, the team set franchise records in in wins (11), goals (229), assists (116), ground balls (482) and shooting percentage (.348).
“I am extremely excited to be named as Head Coach of the Denver Outlaws,” O’Hara said. “I am especially grateful for the confidence that the Outlaws’ front office, in particular, Tony Seaman, showed towards me by offering this opportunity. I look forward to working together with the entire staff with the goal of bringing the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Championship to the city of Denver. We have a very talented and dynamic roster, and I know that this team is built to contend for the title. I can’t wait to get back on the field and work towards that ultimate goal.”
“We want to thank Jim Stagnitta for two outstanding years as the head coach of the Denver Outlaws,” Seaman said. “What he was able to accomplish this past year, no other MLL coach has ever accomplished. We want to wish him the very best of luck in his new endeavors.”

Major League Lacrosse: Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta Talks About Trading Brendan Mundorf To Bayhawks For John Grant Jr. (Video)

Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta talks about trading Brendan Mundorf and Brian Megill to the Bayhawks.

Denver Outlaws 2013 Media Guide

Major League Lacrosse: Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta Awarded “2013 MLL Coach Of The Year”; Guided Team To 14-0 Regular Season

Denver Outlaws Jim Stagnitta MLL Coach Of The Year

Major League Lacrosse is proud to announce Denver Outlaws’ Coach Jim Stagnitta as the 2013 Brine Coach of the Year. Coach Stagnitta led the talented Outlaws squad to the first perfect season in MLL history, ending the regular season with an unprecedented 14-0 record.
“Receiving this award is a great honor and the culmination of the hard work of many people,” said Stagnitta. “Starting with a selfless group of players who bought into the system, a phenomenal staff including Tony Seaman, B.J. O’Hara and Stan Ross, they all contributed to making this season a success. It is also a great honor to be recognized by my peers. It is a group of people that I have a lot of respect for and knowing they voted for me adds more to this award.”
This season’s Denver team boasts a stacked roster with skilled players on both ends of the field. Eager young players like Chris Bocklet and Eric Law, combined with veteran leaders such as Brendan Mundorf and Jesse Schwartzman, provide a strong core for a team that depends on balance throughout the ranks. Talent alone, however, does not win games. Stagnitta acted as an architect this season, putting together pieces of a puzzle to build the most successful regular season team in MLL history.
“Coach Stagnitta’s award is very well deserved,” said MLL Commissioner David Gross. “Going 14-0 in the regular season is something that no other MLL coach has done and at this point can only be matched and not surpassed.”
The second year head man beat out three other coaches who had fantastic seasons — Dave Huntley of the Hamilton Nationals, Mike Cerino of the Charlotte Hounds and Dave Cottle of the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Huntley, who led the Nats to their best season in club history finished second in the voting with four first place votes, also receiving five second and third place votes. The Hounds’ Cerino finished third in this year’s voting, compiling a first place vote along with seven second and four third place tallies. Cottle received two first place votes and four third place votes.
While this is only Stagnitta’s second season in the MLL, he is no stranger to regular season success. Last year, Denver finished first in the league with an impressive 11-3 record. The Outlaws were also major contenders in post-season play, making an appearance in last year’s Championship game.

denver outlaws logo

Major League Lacrosse

Major League Lacrosse: Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta Tells “Lacrosse Magazine” That Team’s 2013 Success Based On The Veterans: “If They Buy In, It Comes From The Top Down”

Denver Outlaws 2013 Media Guide

“It’s like any other [college] team – you’re only as good as your seniors,” he said. “If they buy in, it comes from the top down.

Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta
Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta

With guys like Lee Zink and Brendan Mundorf and Jesse Schwarztman, and you bring in a guy like Anthony Kelly, they’ve been in the league for a while and they are at the back end [of their careers], so they know what it’s like and what it takes. They saw an opportunity to be successful and have fun doing it.”

Jim Stagnitta’s approach to coaching the Outlaws found its genesis when he was a post-collegiate club player after his days playing at Penn.

“The thing that I remember back after college when I was playing club, it was just pick up ball and you went out and played,” he said. “I missed the structure and what came from playing on a team that shared the ball and had a system.”

By Jac Coyne

By Jac Coyne

With this is mind, Stagnitta wasn’t just going to settle for running out the best players or the ones with the most impressive pedigree. He was going to put together the best team. That sometimes meant that he had to have long conversations with players in hopes of getting them to adopt roles that they previously weren’t ask to play. Stagnitta singles out guys like midfielders Drew Snider, Justin Pennington and Justin Turri as players that have accepted perhaps a less glamorous role for the betterment of the team.

And there were also guys who just didn’t fit or had a higher trade value than they did in the lineup.

“We made some changes that appeared drastic,” Stagnitta admitted. “And even before I walked through the door, Tony moved some guys for different reasons; they just didn’t want to be out there or they wanted to be closer to home or they had different reasons. One of the first things I said to Tony, and it was even if he was a big-time player, was if he doesn’t want to be here, get rid of him. I wanted people who wanted to be here because it’s not easy to be here. That part helped us early on from a role standpoint.”

Stagnitta admits that his philosophy would have been difficult to implement without the tacit approval from the veteran players on the roster, leaning on an old college coaching maxim to illustrate the point.

It also came down to Stagnitta and his staff, which includes B.J. O’Hara, who coached the Rochester Rattlers to an MLL title in 2008 and coached Hobart for 12 seasons, and long-time college coach Stan Ross, establishing a level of credibility with the players. At the college level, coaches “hold all the cards,” as Stagnitta describes it, so the coaching can be more vocal and, if necessary, punitive, especially with playing opportunities. With the limited amount of prep time – MLL teams usually get one full practice and a walk through per week – it’s less about drilling players on the game plan as it is establishing a belief that they are in good hands.

“You need to be honest and fair and have them believe that your decision-making is consistent and is in the their best interest,” Stagnitta said. “It’s all about credibility. If you have credibility, they will listen to you. We know all these guys. We’ve recruited them as college coaches at some point and they know that we’re going to put the time and effort in and know enough about the game that we’ll do the right thing.”

In many ways, it’s not dissimilar to a college coach making a pitch to stud player during the recruiting process. This fits nicely into to Stagnitta’s concept of bringing a lot of the college game to the pro level – something that seems anathema to the contemporary professional athlete.

“In some ways, we’ve changed the way people approach the league and look at the league,” Stagnitta said, whose Outlaws on Saturday became the first MLL team in the 13-year history of the league to sweep the regular season. “No one really felt like you could do that with a team and have them play in a system and share the ball and do the things our guys do.

“We have great players on our team, but they are selfless when it comes to doing the things you need to do to win. They also understand that if they are going to play for us, they do need to play within a system and they do need to attend that one practice that we have. You can’t just fly in on game day and play. They know their defined roles. Again, I’m not sure if that was commonplace in the league, but we’re successful because the guys bought into the system.”

For more: http://www.laxmagazine.com/mll/2012-13/news/081313_stagnitta_bringing_college_philosophy_to_outlaws