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Hounds Announce Jim Stagnitta as New Head Coach

April 4, 2016 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Charlotte Hounds News Release

Charlotte Hounds Head Coach Jim Stagnitta
Charlotte Hounds Head Coach Jim Stagnitta
(Charlotte Hounds, Credit: Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse today officially introduced Jim Stagnitta as the team's new Head Coach for 2016. He becomes just the second coach in the Hounds' five-year history, as former Head Coach Mike Cerino recently transitioned into the General Manager role. The Hounds today also announced their assistant coaching staff, which will see the team retain Brad Touma and add Tony Resch.

"The front office has spent the offseason working to build the foundation for an exiting season," said Cerino. "It's great to land a staff of proven winners in the MLL to lead our team. I'm really excited for the players and fans of the Charlotte Hounds. Coach Stagnitta is a good friend and great coach. The future is bright for Major League Lacrosse in Charlotte."

Stagnitta brings nearly 30 years of coaching experience to the Hounds and has a proven record of success at the highest levels of lacrosse. As a head coach, he holds a career professional and amateur record of 231-139 (.624) and has guided teams to seven NCAA tournaments and two MLL playoff appearances. Stagnitta currently serves as an assistant coach of the Penn men's lacrosse team. He took the position at his alma mater (class of '84) in July 2014, following a one-year stint as head coach at Arcadia University.

For Stagnitta, the decision to return to the MLL and lead the Hounds was the result of being offered the right opportunity at the right time. "Mike and I go way back, we've been friends for a long time," he said. "We were talking a little bit about the college draft and Mike knew how much I enjoyed my time in the MLL. At that point he kind of filled me in on the fact that the timing was perfect because they were restructuring and I think he was probably a little bit surprised that I said I would be interested in the possibility of returning back to the MLL. I really enjoyed the coaching. I think the game is phenomenal and I enjoyed the guys. Sometimes you don't realize how much you enjoy something or what a great coaching environment it is until you step away from it."

Prior to joining the Arcadia staff, Stagnitta spent two seasons leading the MLL's Denver Outlaws to two first-place regular-season finishes, with a combined 26-4 record. The Outlaws went 11-3 and advanced to the MLL Championship Game in 2012, establishing five team records along the way, including wins and a single-season MLL record 229 goals. Stagnitta was named MLL Coach of the Year after the Outlaws had another record-setting season in 2013, going 14-0 during the regular season before being upset in the MLL semifinals by the Cerino-coached Hounds. In 2014, he served as an assistant coach to Stan Ross and the Florida Launch.

Stagnitta also spent 10 seasons at Rutgers University, leading the Scarlet Knights to back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances in 2003 and 2004. He was named USILA and ECAC Division I Coach of the Year in 2003 after engineering the biggest turnaround in DI lacrosse history, leading Rutgers to a 10-5 record after the team went 2-12 in his first season. Stagnitta's first head coaching position was at D3 Washington and Lee University, where he has more wins than any coach in the program's history. In 12 seasons there, he guided the Generals to a record of 136-42 that included 12 consecutive top-10 national rankings, six conference championships and five NCAA tournament appearances.

In terms of coaching philosophy, Stagnitta plans to implement a system of playing team offense, team defense, sharing the ball and relying on two-way middies who can run up and down the field and create offense from the defensive end. "I'm a coach and I've been a coach for 30 years," said Stagnitta. "I'm not just a manager of bodies and rosters and I'm not somebody who's just going to run a box. If I'm going to do this then I'm going to commit to it, we're going to have a system, I'm going to coach them and we're going to function like a real team. Guys are going to have roles and need to be willing to accept those roles."

The long-term relationship between Stagnitta and Cerino will benefit the Hounds as well. "In the league it's important to have a good and strong GM and somebody that is on the same page as you," said Stagnitta. "And particularly somebody who is truly a lacrosse guy and understands not just the business side of it but actually understands the Xs and Os and the player side and the coach/lacrosse side. I think it's a perfect scenario when you have that situation. That's why it's exciting to work with Mike, because Mike feels the same way. Mike is a coach and has been a coach so we will install a system at both ends of the field and try to find the guys that best fit into that system or will embrace the system."

New Hounds assistant coach Tony Resch is one of the most respected defensive minds in lacrosse, and has over 20 years of coaching experience. He most recently lead the U.S. men's national team to a third-place finish in the 2015 Federation of International Lacrosse World Indoor Championship. Resch also serves as Associate Head Coach for the La Salle College High School boy's lacrosse team. La Salle won its first state title in 2004, followed by additional titles in 2008, 2009 and 2013. The school also reached the state finals in 2010 and 2012.

From 1994-2001, Resch was the head coach of the National Lacrosse League's Philadelphia Wings. He lead the team to four championships (1994, 1995, 1998, 2001) and was named NLL Coach of the Year in 2001. Seven years later, Resch was inducted to the NLL Hall of Fame. He began his MLL coaching career in 2003 as an assistant coach with the then-Baltimore Bayhawks. Resch was named head coach of the MLL's Philadelphia Barrage in 2005 and won back-to-back MLL Championships in 2006 and 2007. He was named the 2006 Warrior MLL Coach of the Year. Resch then returned to the Bayhawks as an assistant in 2012, winning back-to-back titles, including the 2013 championship which was a 10-9 victory over the Hounds.

Brad Touma has been with the Hounds as an assistant coach since the inaugural 2012 season. He has nearly 30 years of coaching experience within the Charlotte community, and currently serves as the head boy's varsity lacrosse coach at Charlotte Country Day School. A nine-time North Carolina State Champion, Touma has coached 17 High School All-Americans, 141 All-State selections, six Academic All-Americans and has helped 20 players realize their dream of playing lacrosse at the NCAA level. Touma also has served as the North Carolina representative to US Lacrosse for over 25 years and has been a member of various US Lacrosse committees in the past. He currently is a member of the board of directors of the US Lacrosse Western North Carolina Chapter.

The Hounds' 2016 season opens on Saturday, April 23, with a home game against the Boston Cannons. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:30pm ET at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Season and individual game tickets are on sale now. Visit or call 704-206-1515 for more information.

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Charlotte Hounds Head Coach Jim Stagnitta
Charlotte Hounds Head Coach Jim Stagnitta

(Getty Images)

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