Mens Soccer Coach Resigns

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Postby beacon_fan on Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:52 am

lawdog wrote:Soccer is a sport in which Wofford should be able to compete with success. The key is to get a coach who has tie- ins to the excellent high school soccer talent in NC, Ga. (esp. the Atlanta area) and Fla. Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro have a lot of excellent players, and the high school competition is first rate. For example, Wake Forest just beat Ohio State with six starters from NC high schools (Ohio State, in comparison, had five or six foreigners starting). The present team has some excellent young talent, most of it regional (eg, they played USC a very close game). Wofford is the kind of school that could be successfully marketed to talented soccer prospects: soccer is a bit of a chess match and emphasizes skill, speed, intelligence and effort over bulk and pressclippings.


While I love your optimism, we need more money before we can begin to do the things you talk about. I know I'm beating a dead horse about money, but we can't compete with the likes of Furman and Wake when we only have 4.5 scholarships. What on earth would make a successful high school player want to come to Wofford to play soccer if they don't have another previous connection with the school? Please don't get me wrong... I think wofford is one of the greatest places on earth.. but I'm trying to think of it from a recruits perspective.
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Postby T-Dogg on Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:24 pm

Money alone will not fix this we can look to the SC public school system for that answer. You also must have a coach that can recruit! Matt is a good soccer player, not a good recruiter. I coach high school soccer in the evenings when I leave the Bank. Wofford did not even work the SC schools let alone Atlanta, Charlotte or Raleigh. The top players in the lower part of the state never got a call from Wofford. (with exception of Andrew Epplehimer, wando) This is not opinion, it is fact because I know and talk to 15 to 20 high school coahes during a season!

Also, kids do not go to college thinking they are going to make a living playing soccer. I know 40 to 50 ex Wofford soccer players an none of them played professional. So, saying why would a kid go to Wofford to play ball is silly..........Of course, the same reason we all and everyone else went to Wofford. A great education and wonderful environment are what sets us apart. Not the idea of a higher level of soccer!

This is not a jab at Matt, he was just not the right guy. We had a Division 1 program with a Division 2 or Division 3 coach. Not every coach can do the job. Heck, alot of guys are not division 1 coaches.

Someone stated you must energize the soccer alumni. That did not happen under Matt. Money/scholarships are an issue and it must be addressed. Wofford has always done more with less, that is what makes Wofford, WOFFORD.

I have been around Wofford soccer from Charlie McGinty to Declan O'Donihue to John Blair to Matt Kern. The things that happened in our last coaches tenure did not fit the school. I mean seriously, how can you coach Wofford soccer from Asheville? We were always underfunded and always will.

We have had great coaches at Wofford and I admit we will probably never get a Mike Ayers for the soccer program. However, we can get a coach with Division 1 experience that can energize the alumni and put a respectable team on the filed and have some success. That has not happened since 1994.......

This is reality, not a jab at Matt! We do not need just a good coach. We need a coach that is a good fit for Wofford and can do it the Wofford way and bring some respect back to the program.
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Postby walkman on Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:31 am

My son plays for a U-18 team in the NC premier league. In the past year, his team has had coaches from UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, High Point, Davidson, Elon and others attend their practice sessions, conduct clinics with the team and scout their league and tournament games. I have never seen any coaches from Wofford.

42 players from the NC premier league have made verbal commitments to DI programs. 14 of those players have committed to SoCon programs. I am aware of only one NC premier league player that has made a verbal commitment to Wofford - Ethan Miller of CUFC 89 Gold.

Wofford has an attractive value proposition to sell to recruits. A great education and the opportunity to compete in the SoCon. I hope that they are able to find a coach that can build connections with the elite programs in SC, GA and NC.
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Postby lawdog on Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:15 pm

You are absolutely right. There is some great high school soccer being played in NC, and Ga and Fla too, I am told. Getting as successful high school coach in one of those areas who is ready to take it to the next level would be a good move. Soccer is an excellent fit for Wofford, and we should be able to be successful there.
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Postby walkman on Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:41 am

walkman wrote:My son plays for a U-18 team in the NC premier league. In the past year, his team has had coaches from UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, High Point, Davidson, Elon and others attend their practice sessions, conduct clinics with the team and scout their league and tournament games. I have never seen any coaches from Wofford.

42 players from the NC premier league have made verbal commitments to DI programs. 14 of those players have committed to SoCon programs. I am aware of only one NC premier league player that has made a verbal commitment to Wofford - Ethan Miller of CUFC 89 Gold.

Wofford has an attractive value proposition to sell to recruits. A great education and the opportunity to compete in the SoCon. I hope that they are able to find a coach that can build connections with the elite programs in SC, GA and NC.


NC Soccer Forum had the following post this morning:

"Polson (Charleston), Peay (Davidson) & O'Brien (UNCC) are the finalists. Have heard the finalists aren't all too keen about a move after hearing about the funding, salary etc etc. should be interesting to see what happens."
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Postby lawdog on Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:48 pm

How can a coach be a finalist if he is not too keen to move?
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Postby oldT-Dog on Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:02 am

T-Dogg wrote:Money alone will not fix this...


But you have to have more than 4.5 to compete consistently in SoCon Soccer and that is fact. As I noted before, the conference standings this year almost directly reflected funding levels of each program - top 3 teams - Furman C of C UNCG fully funded - next 4 - Elon, App State, Davidson, GA Southern all have at least 3 more than Wofford. Traditionally in soccer we have always played a very competitive schedule even in the NAIA days. However, we have had little success of "doing more with less". As long as we accept the notion that "we have always been and always will" be underfunded, we will get what we pay for, a bottom tier SoCon soccer program. The Wofford Way has to be to find innovative ways to get the alumni to support the program financially and not accept that we will always be underfunded.

T-Dogg wrote:You also must have a coach that can recruit! Matt is a good soccer player, not a good recruiter. I coach high school soccer in the evenings when I leave the Bank. Wofford did not even work the SC schools let alone Atlanta, Charlotte or Raleigh. The top players in the lower part of the state never got a call from Wofford.


You are right he is a very good soccer player. As a collegian he played in the NCAA D1 tournament all 4 years one year making it to the final 4. As a coach he had a lot of success at U of South. I think he had a pretty good idea of what it took to build a successful D1 program, but I think you are right he made a lot of mistakes and certainly did not create an atmosphere that inspired support from the alumni or the rest of the campus. I think he realized this too late.

A big reason you as well as the other high school coaches did not hear from him is that he did most of his recruiting at the club level. However, I know he recruited Atlanta a lot and Wofford has some very good current players from there. He also recruited NC very hard. If you look at the current roster it is predominately made up of SC, NC, GA and TN players. He worked very hard at recruiting. If you are judging his recruiting aptitude based on the "fact" that he did not contact you or other hs coaches or recruit the lower part of the state as hard as Atlanta or NC, I would hate to be one of the high schoolers on your team that you are evaluating.

T-Dogg wrote:Also, kids do not go to college thinking they are going to make a living playing soccer. I know 40 to 50 ex Wofford soccer players an none of them played professional. So, saying why would a kid go to Wofford to play ball is silly..........Of course, the same reason we all and everyone else went to Wofford. A great education and wonderful environment are what sets us apart. Not the idea of a higher level of soccer!


Actually I would not agree with this either. With the USL and MSL kids do go to D1 programs thinking they have a shot at playing at the next level. Wofford has to start presenting itself as a legitimate D1 program. While Matt may have gone about it wrong way for Wofford, that is what he was trying to do. I would argue that he was treating the program more like a D1 school and that is what did not play well at Wofford. He did not realize that while playing D1, Wofford is different. However, if we are going to compete consistently in the SoCon we are going to have to get some of these players. See the following articles on ESPN:

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/st ... ls&cc=5901

Article projects Furman's Leathers as an MLS 1st round draft pick

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/st ... ls&cc=5901

Article includes Furman's Leathers and Salinas among top players at MLS draft combine

We compete with Furman in football partly because at most positions we have close to the same level of talent. If the goal is to be consistently competitive, we have to do the same in soccer.
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Postby walkman on Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:19 am

Actually I would not agree with this either. With the USL and MSL kids do go to D1 programs thinking they have a shot at playing at the next level. Wofford has to start presenting itself as a legitimate D1 program. While Matt may have gone about it wrong way for Wofford, that is what he was trying to do. I would argue that he was treating the program more like a D1 school and that is what did not play well at Wofford. He did not realize that while playing D1, Wofford is different. However, if we are going to compete consistently in the SoCon we are going to have to get some of these players.

Shea Salinas and Jon Leathers are the recent examples for Furman. Don't forget Ricardo Clark and Clint Dempsey. Doug Allison has a solid track record of recruiting elite club players and developing them into professionals. In order to attract "these players", a coach has to demonstrate that he can teach, develop and prepare for the professional game.
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Postby T-Dogg on Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:23 pm

oldT-Dog wrote: If you are judging his recruiting aptitude based on the "fact" that he did not contact you or other hs coaches or recruit the lower part of the state as hard as Atlanta or NC, I would hate to be one of the high schoolers on your team that you are evaluating.

quote]

Actually I would not agree with this either. With the USL and MSL kids do go to D1 programs thinking they have a shot at playing at the next level. Wofford has to start presenting itself as a legitimate D1 program. While Matt may have gone about it wrong way for Wofford, that is what he was trying to do. I would argue that he was treating the program more like a D1 school and that is what did not play well at Wofford. He did not realize that while playing D1, Wofford is different. However, if we are going to compete consistently in the SoCon we are going to have to get some of these players. See the following articles on ESPN:



OLDT-Dog you are going to have to explain your comments about Matt's aptitude and my evaluation. My only evaluations are of other kids in the Lowcountry and the fact that they are going to Clemson, Carolina and many other SEC, SoCon and ACC schools to play and are not being targeted by Wofford! You will have to explain that one for me as I do not get your point. If they are good enough to play in the ACC should we not attempt to get them?

Good players do not equal good coaches. I could put up 100 links to prove that point but surely you would agree. Not that Matt is not a good coach, not the right time and right place perhaps!

Consistantly compete in the SoCon? as opposed to just fielding a team. Let's craw before we walk shall we? Nobody disputes that we need more than 4.5 to compete, nobody has said that but we do need more than just money and I had hoped that would be the point taken.

Recruiting at the club level? What about one of the most successful clubs in the country right under our nose in Mt. Pleasant? Bridge Gold won a National Championship! YES, National Championship! What about those players? Yes they are from the lower part of the State but obviously can play ball.......This is my evaluation!

USL & MSL? Sure there are opportunities to play beyond college. I am sure all our backetball team comes to Wofford to go the the NBA as our football players expect to play in the NFL. $20k a year to play indoor or use your Wofford education and be an attorney, doctor, CPA or simply use your mind. I think it is a stretch to think of recruiting pro-bound players when we can not even win a game in the SoCon.

We do have some very good players at Wofford currently! Our new coach will do wonders if he can put a better product on the field and energize the alumni. Our new coach WILL recruit from the lower part of the State also, perhaps from club level which is also High School. They play both, or atleast any that are headed to college do.

We can do better, we will do better. Money alone will not fix this and that was my point! It would not have mattered who the coach was, we were not getting better. maybe one day we will produce a Clint Dempsey, for now let's just get a win or two in the SoCon!!
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Postby oldT-Dog on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:11 pm

I simply do not think you have enough information to make an evaluation on Matt's aptitude as a recruiter. Matt kept a very extensive database of potential recruits and he worked very hard at recruiting.

I'm not going to be an apologist for his on campus actions, coaching style or how he treated the team. I did not like the fact that the boys could not join frats or that they had to get permission from Matt to do certain things outside of Soccer, that is not what Wofford or growing up are about at all. I think as far as team play they lacked some creativity. I think there was more emphasis on scoring a "text book" goal than simply scoring.

However, all of that being said, the level of player that is on the team now has greatly improved from when Matt started. I think that is a testament to his recruiting. He had very little budget to work with, he was representing a very expensive private school and he had a very limited number of scholarships (a number that did not change during his entire time at Wofford). Furthermore, one thing that RJ has said is that through the hiring process he has gotten to know the current players and he is very impressed with the quality of individuals on the current team. If you talk to the folks in admissions, they would tell you that everyone that Matt presented to them for admission into Wofford was always highly qualified and beyond question as far as acceptance.

Unless these Clemson and Carolina players are star students they could not be recruited by Wofford anyway. The talent pool for Wofford is much more limited because of academics. As far as other SoCon schools there are several factors that make recruiting difficult. If there is no scholarship money as an incentive and kids are looking at us and Davidson, they choose Davidson due to their academics (Matt lost several recruits to Davidson that he thought he had a good shot at getting). We have little shot at going up against Furman bc academically they are on par with us, there Soccer is better and they have more scholarship money. Most of the rest of the SoCon recruits in a totally different talent pool bc of their academic standards. We had a really good kid on the hook a couple of years ago (All SoCon) that ended up going to Elon bc they had more money to offer him.

I know that the lower part of the state has good soccer and I'm sorry he did not recruit it more to your liking. I guess he could have come down there and talked to more of those high quality kids in hopes that Wofford would sell itself beyond soccer, but that still does not warrant a statement that Matt "...did not know how to recruit, period." Nor in my opinion did it warrant an annual letter to RJ stating such, though it is certainly your perogative. I'm sure Ralph will do more down there since he just spent 8 yrs. at C of C. However, if he doesn't, it will not mean "he can't recruit, period", it may just mean there is a big world out there and he has other connections in other places.

As far as the money issue, it is the single biggest problem with the current program. I believe beyond saying money alone will not fix the problems you also stated "we were always underfunded and always will be." Wofford is a great school, it has great facilities and we now have a coach that hopefully everyone can support. However, if we do not raise the bar as far as scholarship money, my point is we will continue to be a bottom tier SoCon program that maybe reaches your goal of 1 or 2 conference wins a year. As a soccer alumni I am aiming much higher and I'm sure Ralph Polson is as well.
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Postby lawdog on Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:31 am

We have the talent now to do much better. With the talent we have....and appropriate conditioning, smart play, morale, and coaching...we can be competitive in the SoCon. NC, Ga, and Fla (and apparently low country SC) high school talent is good; look at Wake Forest, an academically challenging school that just won the NCAA with seven NC players. Soccer is tailor made for schools like Wofford.
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Re: Mens Soccer Coach Resigns

Postby laurielee on Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:11 am

Its bad for every one :cry:
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Re: Mens Soccer Coach Resigns

Postby youngterrier on Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:39 am

laurielee wrote:Its bad for every one :cry:

never bump a thread so old ever again. You scared me
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Re: Mens Soccer Coach Resigns

Postby walliver on Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:43 am

youngterrier wrote:
laurielee wrote:Its bad for every one :cry:

never bump a thread so old ever again. You scared me


I had the same reaction ... " Oh ####, we win a SoCon Championship and the coach leaves" Of course, I did think it strange that a soccer thread could go to 4 pages overnight. :D

Maybe a mod can change the thread title to avoid confusion.
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Re: Mens Soccer Coach Resigns

Postby lawdog on Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:08 pm

Me too... my heart hit the floor. Bury this thread....RIP.
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