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Keith Bugbee honored as Distinguished Professor of Humanics

By Cait Kemp

The practice and idea of Humanics is the driving force behind Springfield College’s philosophy. Every day, staff, students, faculty and community members of Springfield College work to demonstrate the values of Humanics in their lives. 

Each year, Springfield College honors a professor with the title of Distinguished Professor of Humanics for their impact on Alden Street to embody the Humanics philosophy. 

Keith Bugbee, more commonly known as Coach Bugbee, received this well-deserved 2021 distinction. Bugbee has been the men’s lacrosse coach for 39 years and has handcrafted an extremely talented and successful program. 

Bugbee led his 1994 team to an NCAA Division II National Championship win, has won 12 consecutive NEWMAC championships, was named the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Div. II Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1995 and was inducted into the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Hall of Fame in 2002, to name a few accomplishments. 

The list goes on.

Bugbee is one of the most accredited coaches in collegiate lacrosse history, but his coaching stats are the least of his nobility. 

In 2018, Bugbee and his family experienced the unimaginable when his daughter unexpectedly passed just mere weeks after giving birth to her third child. 

This tragedy pushed him to teach an important lesson to his lacrosse team. From then on, the idea of “showing up” and being there for yourself and your teammates, no matter what else was going on, was a focus for him. 

Fast forward to this year, when he was named the Distinguished Professor of Humanics, he was able to use that mantra and share it with the whole community.

Bugbee’s Humanics lecture was titled “Show Up”, and focused on finding the positives in bad situations, whether it be something as life-changing as his, or as small as daily occurrences. 

Students filled the bleachers at Stagg to hear what Bugbee and former player Jim Warnock had to share about the idea of showing up, wrapping together with the Humanics philosophy. 

“Showing up is intentional,” Bugbee said. “It needs to be sustained. It needs to be repetitive.” 

After the death of his daughter, Bugbee said there was a group of people who always showed up for him. This consistency from his friends and family showed their genuinity and meant a lot to him in the wake of the tragedy. 

Even if it was something small, like asking how his summer was, he knew why they were checking in on him and appreciated that little extra bit of care and kindness because it went a long way. 

Warnock took the time to emphasize the ideals of Springfield College. From the moment he stepped on campus, he said he noticed the little things, like holding doors for each other and smiling and saying “hi,” as people passed. 

“When you include other people, you create a community,” Warnock said. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness are what make people feel important and feel seen, and that is all that matters some days.

With the large crowd of student-athletes in attendance, it was important to consider the ideals that were discussed and their relevance with sports. Bugbee pulled out a yellow lacrosse helmet, and explained how he used it in practices to recognize a player who showed up that day for his team. 

It wasn’t always the most skilled player of the practice, who scored the most or performed the best that day- it was rarely that person. It was given to someone who worked a little harder, dug a little deeper, and pushed for his teammates. 

Bugbee and Warnock’s message was one that was easy for students to get on board with. Attendees of the talk were given a yellow “Show Up” wristband at the conclusion of the lecture, and they’ve already been seen on the wrists of athletes while running up Stagg, scoring on East, and winning in Blake. 

They wear it with pride and use it as a reminder to show up for themselves, their teammates, and others in their lives who need just that little extra bit of kindness to help them know that they matter. 

Photo: Springfield College

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