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May 26, 2024

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The Newly Appointed Directors of Operations Unify Men’s Soccer and Basketball

3 min read

The athletic department has added two valuable members to its coaching staff this year. Malik Wagner has taken on the role of Director of Operations for men’s soccer, while Darius Dangerfield has assumed the same position for men’s basketball.

While not every sport has a director of operations, sports with large teams like track and field, football and baseball also have people in similar roles.

Wagner, who started with the men’s soccer team at the top of the season, grew up in Easton and has been around Lafayette sports his whole life. After finishing a master’s degree in sports marketing at the California University of Pennsylvania in 2021, Wagner has returned to the Hill to help lessen the coaching staff’s load.

Wagner said that his role is to “just take off little things so [the coaching staff] can concentrate on game planning, scouting, film — whatever they don’t need to do.”

Wagner primarily handles the logistics for the team, like bus transportation, hotel stays and apparel orders. He also organizes community engagement events for the team, including awards for Lafayette community members, a book club for elementary school students, and Cancer Awareness Day.

Dangerfield, who fills a similar role for the men’s basketball team, played under head coach Mike McGarvey when he was at Lycoming College. After graduating, Dangerfield was an assistant coach at Albright College, where he is currently pursuing a graduate degree in athletic leadership. He said that he got a call from McGarvey this summer asking him if he was interested in the position.

“I trust Coach McGarvey a lot,” Dangerfield said. “He’s shown a tremendous amount of faith in me. With that trust, it was an easy decision to want to be a part of Lafayette.”

Wagner travels with the team to all of its games and helps out on the sidelines where he can.

“I’m just there to [say], ‘Hey, you’ve been playing soccer your whole life. Don’t focus on the last play, focus on the next play,’” Wagner said.

Similarly, Dangerfield helps out at practice with drills.

“I will make little comments here and there,” Dangerfield said. “If there’s a drill that needs help rebounding, or they need a passer to be able to do something more smoothly, I always at least try to be the first guy to hop in.”

The Newly Appointed Directors of Operations Unify Men’s Soccer and Basketball

After the season ends, Wagner will shift his focus to organizing the team book club and conducting fundraising for named seats at the recently-completed Gummeson Grounds as well as helping out with recruiting.

“I like being behind the scenes,” Wagner said.

Dangerfield doesn’t know how his responsibilities will change as the team gets closer to its season, but he appreciates how he has been quickly welcomed by the team.

“It’s been a very smooth transition,” Dangerfield said. “The players [have] been very accepting of having a new coach and trying to let me coach them. The coaches have been helpful when it comes to finding resources that can help me figure out something that I need to do.”

Additionally, the athletic department has introduced Casey Green as the newly appointed Athletic Operations Specialist. In this role, Green will collaborate with various sports teams to organize logistics such as hotels, flights, transportation, events, and manage department finances.

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