Ohio Wesleyan graduate Matt Bagley was appointed the Head Coach of the English National Lacrosse team during the summer. Bagley graduated from OWU in 2001 after playing lacrosse for four years.
“I could not be happier to join the coaching and managerial staff at the E.L.A. as the Men’s Lacrosse Coach. I am excited to continue my coaching career at the international level. It’s my hope to continue the strong history and tradition that is England Men’s Lacrosse,” said Bagley in a statement released by the English Lacrosse Association.
During his four years at OWU, Matt Bagley played two years each for former coaches Lelan Rogers and Sean Ryan, and appeared in multiple NCAA tournaments.
After his Ohio Wesleyan years, Bagley went on to play for the ETP Redwings Lacrosse Club in Australia. In 2006, he moved on to the Walcountian Blues Lacrosse Club, before finally landing a spot on the English national team in 2008.
While he was on the English squad, the team won the European Lacrosse Championship in 2008 and garnered a fifth-place finish in the 2010 World Games held in England.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Bagley worked on getting his British citizenship while he was playing for the national team. Although he almost has his citizenship, the process is not quite finished.
“Unfortunately, I do not have my citizenship just yet. I am fully qualified to apply, but my finances were diverted last year to pay for my wedding. My wife and I got married just outside of Florence, Italy, in June, and now a few hundred quid (British money) is all that stands between me and dual citizenship,” said Bagley.
After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan, Bagley also started and developed the lacrosse program at TASIS England (The American School), and currently teaches sixth-grade English and history at the school.
According to his teacher profile on the TASIS England website, Bagley’s first teaching job was at Rumsey Hall School in Washington Depot, Connecticut.
Despite being an educator, Bagley admits that academics did not always come easily to him.
“I had a rough freshman year, and had to stop playing about midway through the season because I got into trouble with my grades,” Bagley said.
The next year, he came back and worked hard on his grades, and saw his efforts rewarded with a spot on the spring break travel roster—a feat that remains among the proudest moments of his lacrosse career, along with winning the Euro championship in 2008.
With the right support at OWU, Bagley graduated in four years with a major in English and a minor in humanities.
As a gesture of what Ohio Wesleyan meant to him over the years, Bagley has offered the Battling Bishop men’s lacrosse team the opportunity to scrimmage the English team overseas.
The honor of scrimmaging England is usually reserved for schools like Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Loyola. So, getting invited to scrimmage is no small achievement.
However, Bagley insists that the honor is with England, not the university.
“Playing against an American university is always an honor, and to step on the same field as the Battling Bishops once again, even though I’d be coaching against them, would be a dream come true.”
He also believes that with London hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, coming across the pond to scrimmage England would be a valuable lesson in learning about European culture.
According to phillylacrosse.com, the English team also has played exhibitions against squads such as GMH Philadelphia LC of the American Lacrosse League to prepare for championship tournaments.
Between the Philadelphia club and the universities, OWU would join a prestigious group of U.S. clubs that have gotten to play overseas. But more importantly, they would learn numerous lessons along the way.
While he may or may not get to meet current Ohio Wesleyan players on the field, Bagley did pass along some wisdom to the Bishops as they continue—or start—their college lacrosse careers.
“I know it sounds cliché, but just enjoy every moment of it. There were times when the 6 a.m. practices in the field house, running stadiums at Selby, and working out after a grueling training session got to me. However, when it’s all said and done, you strangely miss those things.”