Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/24/20 – From Press Releases
With thirty-two years of professional coaching experience, the 2019 PLL championship, a handful of Coach of the Year accolades, and a few career records under his belt, perhaps it’s time for Jim Stagnitta to add high school lacrosse coach to his repertoire.
The Hun School is proud to welcome Stagnitta as the head coach of our Boys Lacrosse Program. While Stagnitta is the newest member of the Athletic Department, the department has a track record of hiring exceptional coaching talent. Last spring, Tracey Arndt, former U.S National Team player, joined as the Co-Athletics Director and Coach of Varsity Girls Field Hockey.
“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 1 and Division 3 teams, including Rutgers University, Arcadia University, University of Pennsylvania, and Washington and Lee University. But, in his career he has also managed to take his coaching to the next level, the professional level. He began his professional career as head coach for 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. Most recently, Mr. 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 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.
While Stagnitta’s success as a men’s lacrosse coach is undoubtedly exceptional, it’s his off-the-field work that sets him apart from other coaches.
Through his career and personal experiences, 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,” 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.”
While Stagnitta is no stranger to winning, he explains 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,” 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 explains that he is particularly excited to work with high school athletes because he knows that the four years they spend at The Hun School 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.”
Lawrenceville names Posner as boys’ coach, Ewanchyna as girls’ coach
The Lawrenceville School will welcome one new, and one returning, Head Varsity Lacrosse Coaches to the Big Red sidelines next year. Lisa Rebane Ewanchyna will lead girls’ varsity lacrosse (a role she held from 2009-2013) and newcomer Jon Posner – who built Culver Military Academy (IN) into a national power – will be at the helm of the boys’ lacrosse program.
Posner will also join Ewanchyna in Lawrenceville’s Admission Department. She is the Senior Associate Dean of Admission for Recruitment and he will serve as the Associate Dean of Admission/Athletic Recruiting Coordinator.
“Lisa and Jon embody the values and performance excellence that we admire most at Lawrenceville,” said Director of Athletics Tripp Welborne. “Coaching is about building relationships that encourage students to aspire beyond their self imposed limitations and create memories that endure long after their playing careers are complete.
“Each coach possesses the it factor, which is essential to impacting students’ lives in a positive manner; and we are very excited that Lisa and Jon are joining the Big Red lacrosse community in their new roles.”
Ewanchyna has been Head Coach of the Big Red girls’ varsity field hockey team since 2007. A First Team NCAA Division I All-American selection in both field hockey (1995) and lacrosse (1994-96), the Princeton University graduate was part of two high powered programs during her four years. Ewanchyna was a member of the field hockey squads that gained the first NCAA berths for Princeton University, eventually making it to the quarterfinals of the tournament her senior year.
In lacrosse, Ewanchyna was a four year starter and the leading scorer on Princeton’s 1994 National Championship squad. She was a three-time All-American as well as Ivy Rookie and Player of the Year in both field hockey and lacrosse (she captained both squads as a senior) and was the University’s “Sportswoman of the Year” in 1996. She was also named College Sports Magazine’s “Female Athlete of the Year” in 1996. The IWLCA named Ewanchyna the Division I Midfielder of the Year in lacrosse in 1996. Ewanchyna was also a member of the United States Developmental Lacrosse Team from 1994-1996.
After graduation, Ewanchyna worked in private industry from 1996-2001, when she returned to coaching both field hockey and lacrosse at Deerfield Academy (Deerfield, Mass.), where she also served as a Residence Manager and Student Advisor. During her tenure as Lawrenceville’s Head Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse Coach, Ewanchyna turned the program around from a .500 team to winning records in each of her five leadership seasons. After stepping down as Head Coach in 2013, she coached both the Big Red junior varsity and freshman teams.
“We’re so fortunate to already have on staff someone of Lisa’s caliber, and we’re pleased that she’s agreed to return to head up the girls’ lacrosse program this year,” said Lawrenceville’s Dean of Enrollment Management Greg Buckles. “She sets the standard in the admission office for enthusiasm and a willingness to pitch in no matter what the occasion, and she keeps us loose with her sense of humor and collegiality.”
Ewanchyna has led Big Red field hockey team to nine Prep A Championships (2007, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), eight Mercer County Tournament titles (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), and four Mid Atlantic Prep crowns (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017). Under her direction, the team has a 180-55-6 record and her players have gone onto play at both Division I and III Schools. She’s been honored as “Coach of the Year” several times by local press.
“I’m excited to rejoin the Big Red Lacrosse program at the helm of the varsity team for the upcoming year. My passion for the sport and for assisting in the development of young women in the game that they love were the greatest influencers in this decision,” said Ewanchyna. “In the years since I stepped down as head of the varsity lacrosse squad, I have watched the young women of Lawrenceville flourish under impactful coaches and I hope to continue the long storied tradition of success in the program.”
Posner comes to Lawrenceville after 16 years at the Culver Academies, where he served as Head Coach of the boys’ lacrosse program. During his tenure, Posner led Culver to a cumulative record of 278-55, and his teams finished first in end-of-season national polls in 2017 (USA Today), 2018 (US Lacrosse), and 2019 (Inside Lacrosse).
Between 2012 and 2019, Culver finished each season ranked in the national top 25, and the Eagles were ranked third in the first poll of the 2020 season. Posner also led Culver to two INTER-AC championships (2016-2017), three Midwest Lacrosse League championships (2017-2019), three MSLCA championships (2014-2016), three North American Elite League championships (2012-2014), and four consecutive Indiana state championships (2007-2010).
Posner is a three-time Midwest Coach of the Year (2014, 2017, 2019) and has placed more than 100 student-athletes at NCAA Division I institutions. Graduates of his program earned NCAA All-American honors at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Denver, and have represented the U.S. and Canada in international competition.
While at Culver, Posner also served as Assistant Director of Admissions, where he educated prospective students and their families on the Culver experience. Before working in admissions, Posner served as a residential life director.
“We’re thrilled to have Jon on board as our newest member of the admissions staff, as well as heading our boys’ lacrosse program.,” said Buckles. “He’s an experienced professional with an exceptional track record, and everything I’d heard about his values, integrity, and work ethic came through loud and clear in this search process. It’s going to be a blast working with him!”
Posner referred to Lawrenceville as “an exceptional institution” and remarked that his conversations with members of the faculty, staff, and administration convinced him that the School was the right place for him and his family.
“I am eager to work with the young men of the lacrosse program, to help them grow as individual players and as a team, to build on a successful lacrosse history, and to continue to grow as a coach,” said Posner. “My family and I are looking forward to returning to the East Coast and embarking on this new adventure at Lawrenceville. Go Big Red!”