By Nico Manganiello & LJ VP LaFiura – 1851 Contributors
Ricky Igbani (‘14) has taken over the reins as head coach of the cross-country and track and field teams. Igbani took the job after being made aware of it by his former Lasell track and field coach James Martin.
“I love this program. [It] really shaped where I am with my life,” said Igbani.
Igbani was a regular face within the athletic department of Randolph High School. From 2007 to 2009, Igbani was a three-sport varsity athlete lettering in football, baseball, and indoor track and field.
When he came to the Lasell campus, Igbani initially played centerfield for the baseball team. However, when he decided to give baseball up following his sophomore season, Martin approached him about joining the track and field team. Igbani continued as a sprinter for the track and field team until he graduated in 2014.
“A lot of people said early in my career that they could see me doing something like [coaching],” said Igbani. “I never actually believed them until the opportunity presented itself, and I got the position.”
In addition to being a three-sport athlete, Igbani was also a captain in all three sports when he was a senior in high school. “When you’re put in a leadership position at 15, 16 years old, you always have that expectation to be [a leader]. So whenever I’m in a job, that’s my mindset,” said Igbani.
He continued to practice these skills working in athletics positions at his high school, including as an assistant coach and physical education teacher.
During the pandemic, Igbani set out to start his own venture—his own athletic training company. The company was soon known as “Ije,” which is Nigerian for movement. Many of the basic principles that Igbani works with at Ije are at the forefront of his cross country and track and field programs.
“We’ve been going to the gym a lot more,” said Averie Greeley, a senior member
of the cross-country team. “He knows what to do for us. He knows when we need a hard day or an easy day or a good workout, we do core every day. It’s really good for us.”
Another emphasis of Igbani’s tenure is building a coaching staff that cares about the sport and the university itself. Igbani has surrounded himself with assistant coaches Benjamin Biello (‘21) and Amanda Miller (‘21).
“It’s been great, especially because I don’t have any experience coaching,” said
Miller. “So to be able to learn from him, see how he coaches students and how he leads students has been really inspiring.”
Igbani said his goal is to make his athletes successful beyond athletics. He also mentioned building a new culture, an idea echoed by Greeley. “He’s trying to bring the team together as a family,” said Greeley.
The women’s cross-country team has found early success under Igbani, finishing first in a meet on September 17 and third on September 25. Igbani and the team will look to carry that momentum into the second half of their season.