Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Washington retires, search for new men’s soccer coach in full swing

After 12 seasons and a tough 2014 season, Mike Washington, Whitman’s head men’s soccer coach, has decided to retire.

 As the spring season kicks into gear, the team is still unsure about their coaching situation for the fall.

Looking for a new coach involves Dean Snider, the athletics director at Whitman, several faculty members and a teammate from each class on the soccer team itself. The anticipations and emotions range for each player.

“The team and I together have mixed feelings about getting a new coach. Some are in favor of getting a new coach and some are not,” said sophomore captain Trayvon Foy.

But the team will undoubtedly be grateful for the lessons they have learned from Washington, something junior Bridger Sellegren, also a captain, spoke to.

“Mike built this program from literally nothing, and so we have to be a little bummed to see such an amazing guy moving on, a guy that gave people the opportunity to play after high school and is so passionate about Whitman soccer,” said Sellegren.

During the offseason, the team is typically very dependent on their captains to keep the vision of the type of program they want. And with that, they also want their new coach to have the same type of motivation for the team that Washington had.

“I want our new coach to have the same passion and buy-in mentality as our old coach. Mike always put in extra work to make our program succeed in ways that other soccer programs at other schools did not. I expect the same or better from the new coach,” said Foy.

So far there are around 60 applicants nationwide. And Snider is expecting to cap the search at around 100 applicants.

“We will start reviewing [the applicants] in about a week and a half, and our goal is to have someone named and an offer accepted by mid-April. Once we narrow the pool down we will Skype interview the candidates and then bring the top three to campus to visit,” said Snider.

Overall, the panel of faculty and players are looking for the best fit to teach at Whitman.

“We look for a good fit to Whitman. [We want] someone who is an educator. Someone who coaches because it represents them teaching through the classroom of competitive sport … which is why this is a faculty search rather then a staff search,” said Snider. “We put as much effort into these searches as we do for tenure track faculty positions.”

The captains are happy to able to be involved in the search as well.

“We have a vision of the direction that we would like to take the program, and the way that Dean has set up the coaching search has made it possible for the opinions and thoughts of the team to be taken into account and taken seriously,” said Sellegren.

Another attribute that the search team will look for is a special attitude towards Whitman’s community and unique learning environment. Energy is key for a new coach to make a true impact on the team.

“We look for a ‘niche’: a highly academic, athletic person that seems to like the Northwest and the outdoors,” said Snider.

Naturally, the new coach must also be passionate about soccer.

“While competing and being serious about training and improving is really important, equally important is to remember why we play sports. We as a team can’t forget that the reason we play soccer, and the reason we play for each other, is for the enjoyment we get,” said Sellegren. “It’s certainly a fine line, but that is the challenge of being a leader on the team. Finding that balance between being serious and achieving our goals but still having a good time with your teammates and the game.”

That balance will certainly be emphasized in the search process and is equally valuable to the search team as qualifications are. Whoever steps in, he or she will have large shoes to fill, but with such a complete and robust search process, there is little doubt that the search committee will find a worthy candidate.

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