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A Look At Several Men’s College Soccer Programs That Will Have A New Head Coach In 2024 And The Teams They Inherit.

Several Highly Regarded Long Term Head Coaches Elected to step Down AFter The 2023 Season.

Marquette – Dan Korn – Korn takes over the reigns of the program at Marquette replacing Louis Bennett who elected to depart after 18 seasons as the head coach at Marquette. Prior to that Bennett served as the head coach at Milwaukee for ten seasons. During Bennett’s tenure at Marquette the Golden Eagles earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament three times and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013 and 2021.

Korn served as the head coach at NCAA Division II Maryville University for eight seasons during which time Maryville was 98-38-26 overall including a 12-4-6 record in 2023. Under Korn the Saints won the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament title in 2018, 2020 and 2022 and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for six consecutive seasons (2017-2023). Korn was the co-head coach at SIUE in 2014 and the associate head coach in 2012. Prior to that he served as an assistant coach at Wright State, the University of Denver and Lafayette College. He has a bachelors degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from the University of Denver.

Korn takes over a Marquette team that was 7-6-3 last year with a 1-5-2 record in Big East play. The Golden Eagles will be in reload mode in 2024 with vacancies to fill on both sides of the ball as they seek to increase their win total and move upward in the highly competitive Big East Conference. Forwards senior Abdoul Karim Pare (4g, 2a) and graduate student Beto Soto (3g, 3a) look to be among returning players with the ability to add punch to the attack while junior goalkeeper Ludvig Malberg and graduate student back Jai Hsieh-Bailey are among returning defenders. Graduate Student Tim Smith, a transfer from Maryville University where he was a DII CAA All-American, could add an additional dimension to the offense.

Bradley – Tim Regan – Regan assumes the head coaching role at Bradley after serving as an assistant coach for the past six seasons under long term Braves head coach Jim DeRose for six seasons. DeRose, who was the youngest coach in Division I NCAA men’s soccer when he was assumed the head coaching job at Bradley in 1996, announced his retirement after 28 seasons at the helm of the program. During his tenure the Braves compiled a 267-227-66 overall record, secured the MVC regular season or tournament titles seven times, and earned seven berths in the NCAA Tournament including a stellar trip to the Elite Eight in 2007.

Regan had a banner four-year tenure as a collegiate player at Bradley from 1999-2002 in which he was named a 2022 All-American and the MVC Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Braves earn the program’s first two NCAA Tournament appearances. He subsequently played in the MLS for six seasons after which he was the Toronto FC Chief Scout from 2008-2011 while gaining experience as an assistant coach for the USSF Youth National Teams at the U-15, U-17, U-18 and U-20 levels from 2008 through 2013. His resume also includes serving as an assistant coach for Indy Eleven, as an assistant coach at Division II DePauw University, and as the general manager and head coach for Peoria City.

The transition from the DeRose era to Regan should be fairly seamless since Regan has been a member of DeRose’s coaching staff and played collegiate soccer for Bradley under DeRose. He will take over the reigns of a program that was undefeated after their first eight games (4-0-4) but was 1-6-2 over their final nine matches to complete the 2023 season with a 5-6-6 overall record and 1-6-1 mark in MVC play.

Regan will seek to regain momentum in 2024 with an attack that will include junior forward Kevin Mejias (3g, 1a) who missed the majority of the season due to a knee injury and sophomore forward DJ Koulai (1g, 3a). Senior Jared Sinnaeve looks to be a pacesetter in the midfield while senior backs Jackson Fyda, a three-year starter, and stalwart senior Charlie Dickerson will add stability on the defensive side of the ball.

Fairfield University – Krystian Witkowski – Witkowski will follow in the footsteps of highly regarded veteran head coach Carl Rees, a four-time MAAC Coach of the Year, who decided to step down as the Stags head coach after 28 seasons with a 252-184-70 overall record during which time Fairfield won five MAAC Championships, six regular season titles, and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament five times.

Witkowski comes to Fairfield after serving the past three seasons, including most recently as the Associate Head Coach, at Northwestern under head coach Russell Payne. Payne stated, “He (Witkowski) is a competitive, tactically astute coach who can build connections with student-athletes and effectively communicate at an impactful level.” Prior to that Witkowski was an assistant coach at Army for four-seasons. He began his coaching career at his alma mater Marist College where he served as an assistant coach from 2013 through 2016 where he earned a Bachler of Science Degree. His resume also includes serving as a Performance Analyst with the New York Red Bulls where he analyzed footage to scout opponents and match preparation and the development of on-field metrics to support player development. He also participated in the planning and delivery of New York Red Bulls II training sessions. Witkowski also earned a Master’s of Science degree in Sports Management from Columbia University in 2016.

Witkowski will take over the reigns of a Fairfield program that was 6-9-3 last year with a 3-6-1 mark in MAAC play. The Stags will seek to build on a season ending three game winning streak. Junior forward William Pierce (6g, 1a) who was the Fairfield’s leading scorer last year looks to be among returning players who will power the attack. Junior backs Cody Read and senior Stephen Perno look to be among key contributors on defense.

Old Dominion – Tennant McVea – McVea was named the Monarch’s head coach in 2024 after Alan Dawson stepped down at the conclusion of the 2023 season after serving as ODU’s head coach for 27 years. Dawson concluded a successful tenure at the helm of the program with a 257-168-62 overall record. He was a four-time conference coach of the year, earned 12 NCAA Tournaments, three conference tournament titles, and three regular season titles.

McVea served as the Associate Head Coach at ODU under Alan Dawson for the past seven seasons (2017 through 2023). He has also been actively involved in youth soccer in the Hampton Roads area coaching and mentoring players at Beach FC in ECNL since 2013 and has been on the staff of Lionsridge FC (USL2) since 2017.

He played collegiate soccer at Loyola Maryland for four seasons (2006 through 2009) during which he was a multi-year All-MAAC selection and team captain. McVea was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year for three straight years and was an All North Atlantic First Team selection and a 2008 NSCAA First Team All-American. He graduated from Loyola with a degree in advertising and public relations in 2009. McVea then played professionally with FC Lahti in the Finish Premier League and several clubs in the United State and Europe.

McVea takes over the reigns of a Monarch program that was unbeaten in their first ten games last year (5-0-5) before losing seven straight to close the season with a 5-7-5 overall record and 2-6-1 mark in Sun Belt Conference play. McVea will seek to get back in the win column in 2024 and move upward in Sun Belt Conference. ODU moved from the CAA to the Sun Belt in 2022. Moving upward in the highly competitive Sun Belt Conferene that includes the likes of Marshall, West Virginia, Kentucky, UCF and in-state rival JMU will not be easy and will require some rebuilding which is often a multi-year process.

Senior midfielder Karen Mandair (5g, 0), senior back Nick Osygus and junior Michael Statham who has been the starter in goal for the past two seasons look to be among returning players who McVea can rebuild around.

Villanova – Mark Fetrow – Fetrwo was named the new head coach at Villanova replacing Tom Carlin who retired after serving as the Wildcat head coach since 2008. Villanova Vice President and Director of Athletics Mark Jackson stated, “His (Carlin) program and student-athletics always represented our University with class. We are in a far better place today as a program than when Tom arrived, and he has been the driving force behind the program.” Carlin departs as Villanova’s all-time leader in victories (122) with trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2017. Carlin stated, “To have the opportunity to pass this program on to Mark Fetrow, one of the top head coaches in the country is a blessing.”

Fetrow comes to Villanova after serving as the head coach at Drexel in 2023 during which the Dragons were 9-2-5 overall with a 3-2-3 record in CAA play. Their 9-2-5 record last year was the program’s highest winning percentage (.719) since going 13-4-2 in 1990. Before that Fetrow was on the staff at Villanova under Tom Carlin for eight seasons serving as the program’s associate head coach from 2019 through 2022 where he was involved in every aspect of the program. Prior to that he honed his coaching skills as the top assistant coach at West Chester University for a season and at his alma mater Penn State. He was a four-year starter for the Nittany Lions and was subsequently selected by the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer in the 2011 Supplement Draft. whi

Fetrow takes over a Villanova team that is coming off a 1-8-7 season with a 1-4-3 mark in CAA action. The Wildcats scored a total of 23 goals last year while allowing 36. Fetrow has his work cut out for him in terms of reversing that ratio.

A lot of new faces will likely have the opportunity to earn playing time in 2024 in a season during which Fetrow will seek to put in place some successes that the Wildcats can build upon.

N.C. State – Marc Hubbard – Hubbard accepted the head coaching job at NC State after it became vacant when NC State and George Kiefer mutually agreed to part ways. Kiefer, who was the Wolfpack head coach from 2017 through 2023, took the Pack to the NCAA Tournament during his first three seasons at the helm of the program but was unable to sustain that pace in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference.

Hubbard comes to NC State after a very successful nine year tenure as the head coach at New Hampshire during which the Wildcats were 115-32-21 overall, earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament seven straight seasons, won five straight America East regular season titles, and won the America East Conference Tournament four times. New Hampshire was 13-3-4 overall in 2023 and was awarded a program best number eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Before that Hubbard was the head coach at Southern New Hampshire for seven seasons during which time SNHU was 117-20-16 overall and won the Division II National Championship with a 22-1-1 record in 2013. Before that he was an assistant head coach at New Hampshire from 2003 through 2007.

Hubbard played collegiate soccer for Colgate where he was a three-time Patriot League selection and three-year team captain. He graduated from Colgate in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in political and earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from New Hampshire in 2006.

Hubbard takes over a NC State team that was 6-7-3 overall with a 1-5-2 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play in 2023. Forwards Hakim Karamoko (4g, 1a) and Junior Nare (3g, 1a) and midfielders Will Buete (4g, 3a), Vusumzi Palmana and Tommy Calem (0g, 1a) look to be among returning players that will be in the mix in 2024.

Hubbard will bring a proven track record of success to the Wolfpack. He stated, “Our locker room will be based on the values of teamwork, sacrifice and the commitment that all of my past teams have displayed on and off the field and I couldn’t be more excited to start working with the team and moving my family down to Raleigh.”

While at New Hampshire Hubbard often very effectively utilized experienced graduate student transfers to fill gaps. Whether he will follow that same course of action to rebuild at NC State and, if so, how effective it will be remains to be seen.

Grand Canyon University – George Kiefer – Kiefer replaces Mike Kraus who served as the GSU head coach during the 2022 and 2023 seasons with a 14-15-6 overall record.

KIefer comes to Grand Canyon after 15 seasons as a head coach at South Florida (2002 through 2016) and seven seasons as the head coach at NC State (2017 through 2023). South Florida secured 162 wins during his tenure in Tampa and earned ten appearances in the NCAA Tournament. He had 49 total wins at NC State and returned the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament field with berths in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Kiefer began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater Southern Connecticut State from 1995 and 1996 under highly successful head coach Ray Reid and was an assistant coach at UConn under Reid from 1997 through 2001.

Reid played for Southern Connecticut State from 1990 through 1993 during which time the Owls were 74-8-8 overall and won two NCAA Division II national Championships.

Kiefer takes over a Grand Canyon team that was 7-7-3 overall last year with a 2-4-2 record in Western Athletic Conference play that wasn’t good enough to qualify for one of the six spots in the WAC Tournament. They also didn’t fare well on the road with a 1-6-2 overall record away from home. Kiefer will have a solid contingent of returning players to work with if all elect to return but improvement will be required in order for GCU to get back to the point where secured a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2018, 2020, and 2021 and were a contender in the WAC race. Expectations at Grand Canyon are high.

Kiefer is a competitor who looks to be a good fit for the Lopes. He is known as a top recruiter; however, his experience as a coach and collegiate player has been on the east coast and not the west coast. Whether that is a factor remains to be seen. The addition of associate head coach Leo Chappel who served as an assistant at UC Santa Barbara out of the Big West Conference and assistant coach A.J. Madero who served on the staff at UTRGV out of the WAC should be of help in that regard.

Northeastern – Jeremy Bonomo – Bonomo was named the head coach at Northeastern replacing Rich Weinrebe who left to accept the head coaching job at his alma mater the University of New Hampshire after serving as the Huskies head coach for two seasons with a 10-16-9 overall record.

Bonomo comes to Northeastern after serving for nine seasons as the head coach at Green Bay during which time he was a two-time Horizon League Coach of the Year. Bonomo is coming off a historic 2023 season during which the Phoenix won the Horizon League Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history. Bonomo’s experience as a head coach should facilitate a smooth transition and enable him to hit the ground running at Northeastern.

Before coming to Green Bay he served as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Cincinnati. Before that he was the head coach at Assumption College for three seasons. Bonomo played collegiate soccer for what is now Southern New Hampshire University where he was a three-time captain for a team that earned three berths in the NCAA Tournament and was a National Runner-up in 2002. He graduated with a degree in business and subsequently earned an MBA in 2006.

Bonomo assumes the reigns of a Northeastern program that was 4-7-6 overall last year with a 1-4-3 mark in CAA play that was not good enough to secure a spot in the six team CAA Conference tournament. The Huskies began the 2023 campaign with a 3-1-2 overall record before going winless in their next nine games (0-5-4). They then closed out the season with a non-conference win over Merrimack and a loss to CAA foe Hofstra.

To their credit the effort was there last year and Northeastern played almost everyone close but they lacked the big play ability needed to close out games which resulted resulted in a slim margin for error. Junior forward Fraser Brown (5g, 1a), junior midfielder Kade Tepe and sophomore backs Thomas Void (1g, 1a) and Mathias Hille (2g, 0a) appear at this time to be among returning players who gained valuable playing time last year with the potential to play key roles in 2024.

The Huskies may not contend for the CAA title but an increase in wins and a berth in the six team conference tournament look to be attainable goals under Bonomo in 2024.

New Hampshire – Rich Weinrebe – Weinrebe takes over the helm of the New Hampshire program replacing Marc Hubbard who left to accept the head coaching job at NC State after a very successful nine year tenure as the Wildcat head coach.

Weinrebe comes to New Hampshire after two seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University. Prior to that he was on the staff at New Hampshire for eight seasons (2014 through 2021) during which time he served in the capacity of associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for five years. The Wildcats earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament from 2017 from 2021 and secured the American East Tournament Conference Tournament title for three seasons during Weinrebe’s tenure as an assistant coach under Hubbard. Weinrebe also honed his coaching skills as an assistant coach at Southern New Hampshire in 2012 and 2013.

Weinrebe can speak from first hand knowledge of the advantages of playing college soccer for New Hampshire having played for the Wildcats for four-years as a defender and serving as a team captain for two seasons.

University of New Hampshire Director of Athletics Allison Rich stated, “His (Weinrebe) commitment to Wildcat student-athletics, this campus, and the greater community was a huge part of our past success, and his return as the leader of UNH men’s soccer will be instrumental to our future success.”

Weinrebe inherits a UNH team that was 13-3-4 with a 4-0-3 mark in America East play last year and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history. Expectations will remain high in 2024 for New Hampshire which is one of only four teams to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past seven seasons.

Weinrebe will be faced with a major reload in 2024 due to departures due to graduation and a couple of transfers. It is an understatement that the Wildcat roster will be substantially different in 2024 than it was in 2023. Gaps to fill include midfielder Yannick Bright, a three-time All-American, goalkeeper Jeseba Incera, a 2023 All-American, back Cameron Briggs, the America East Defensive Player of the Year, and forward Eli Goodman (9g, 0a), a 2023 America East First Team selection, who are among a host of departing players.

The transfer portal has created the potential to reload with experienced players much faster than in the past and was an option that former head coach Marc Hubbard often utilized successfully. Whether Weinrebe will follow that strategy remains to be seen.

Mount St. Mary’s -Brett Teach – Teach replaces Bryan Cunningham who resigned as the Mount’s head coach to pursue other professional opportunities after six seasons at the helm of the program with a 22-59-10 overall record and 11-34-7 mark in MAAC play.

Teach comes to the Mount St. Mary’s after fourteen seasons (2010 through 2023) as an assistant coach at VCU under head coach Dave Giffard. Several very successful head coaches were very complimentary of Teach. Giffard stated, “I would expect his impact on the team to be felt immediately and I expect the Mount to very quickly be competing at the top of the MAAC.”

Before coming to VCU, Teach was the head coach at Georgia State from 1994 through 2000. He also served as the head coach at Auburn University Montgomery from 2000 through 2007, and Tusculum from 2007 through 2009. He began his vast coaching career at Oglethorpe University and La Grange College. He has also been active in youth soccer program’s over the years.

Teach played collegiate soccer for King Univesity where he was a goalkeeper and inducted into the Athletic Hall of Frame in 2006.

Teach inherits a St. Mary’s team that was 2-10-3 overall last year with a 2-6-2 mark in MAAC play. Statistics can be misleading but one that stands out is that the Mount has allowed more goals than they have scored for each of the past five seasons including 2023 when they scored a total of 15 times while allowing 31. Rebuilds usually began with improvement on the defensive side of the ball so that will likely be an area of focus for Teach.

The Mount needs to settle into a more productive balance between offensive productivity and defensive stability in order to increase their win total and move upward in the hierarchy of the MAAC. Sophomore midfielder Junee Lee (3g, 1a), a 2023 All-MAAC Third Team selection, appears to be among returning players with the potential to add additional punch to the attack.

Longwood – Paul Gilbert – Gilbert assumes the helm of the Longwood program from John Atkinson who stepped down as the head coach to transition to a role in external relations after 19 seasons (2013 through 2023) at the helm of the program with a 107-191-45 overall record and a 29-61-10 mark in Big South Conference play. Credit Atkinson for taking over the helm of the program during the often challenging transition from DII to DI. The Lancers won Atlantic Soccer Conference titles in 2008 and 2011 under Anderson.

Gilbert comes to Longwood with a career record of 68-55-23 as a head coach. He last served as the head coach at Indiana Tech for two seasons taking the program to the NAIA National Tournament Quarterfinal last year and a berth in the NCAA Tourney in 2022. Prior to that he was the head coach at Lubbok Christian for six seasons. Gilbert began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Adrian College for two seasons. His resume also includes two years as a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan State where he focused on goalkeeper training.

Gilbert assumes the reigns of a program that was 6-6-3 overall last year with a 1-5-1 mark when facing Big South opponents. Last year the Lancers played very well at times but they were hampered by the inability to put in a full ninety minutes of play. The difference between a win and a loss can often be slight. Lapses in play hampered Longwood’s productivity and was detrimental to their win-loss record.

Look for Gilbert to try to put in place some successes that the Lancers can build upon. Longwood will likely continue to have a small margin for error in 2024 but the opportunity for improvement exists if they can secure that little something extra on both sides of the ball needed to consistently put in a full ninety and prevail in the close contests. Cautious optimism is warranted.

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