After going on leave in January, head coach of track and field Ricky Igbani officially resigned his coaching duties on February 24 because of a family matter. He has spent the last two semesters in charge of the cross country, indoor, and outdoor track and field teams.
“Coach Ricky pushed me to become a better athlete each and every day and held me accountable so that I was actually getting the work done and getting better each day,” said senior throwing captain Elise Stanbury.
Igbani is a Lasell alum, graduating as a part of the class of 2014. As a student, he was a member of the baseball and men’s track and field teams under James Martin. After graduating, Igbani worked in high school athletics and opened his own athletic training company, ‘Ije,’ in 2020.
In less than a year, Igbani improved the quality of the team in front of him. During the indoor season, the men broke four school records. They also surprised many with a strong showing at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Indoor Championships. After the GNAC coach’s poll picked the Lasers to finish sixth out of six teams, the men finished fourth.
Igbani’s impact on his players transcends their athletic achievements. “He showed me what it looks like to have a coach who really dedicates a lot of time to not only building a good program but also caring about his athletes,” said sophomore runner Franklin Torres.
Ben Biello (‘21) will take over the head coaching duties left behind by Igbani for the time being. As a former program member, Biello took on an assistant coaching role this season. He worked primarily with the sprinters until Igbani’s absence required him to take on a larger role in the interim.
“It was kind of like a test run for me to be able to manage the team and coach the team in season,” said Biello. “Obviously, I’m looking to get better every day, and there’s so much more to learn about the sport, but I at least know I can handle it. And that’s I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Although short, Coach Igbani’s legacy as a Laser will always be tied to the culture he built during his tenure. In addition, the family dynamic that he created within the program is what many players attribute to the team’s rapid growth.
“I’ve seen it since Coach Ricky came around, my team gets together and hangs out more often, and they care more about team bonding than they did before,” said Torres. “You can just see it out on the campus like they’ll say hi to each other more often and interact more closely. And it’s definitely something that we can continue building on. Coach Ben has continued to want to build upon that and continue that legacy.”