Longtime SUNY Plattsburgh Head Men's Soccer Coach Chris Waterbury Announces Retirement
After 33 years of building SUNY Plattsburgh's men's soccer into a regional and national power, Head Coach Chris Waterbury has decided to call it a career.
"I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have been a part of such a great university and soccer program," Waterbury said. "To all the assistant coaches over the years who have helped to contribute to our success, I can't thank you enough. Most importantly, to all the players that have come through our program, the tremendous character, and the characters, I can't thank you enough. The relationships and friendships are such an important part of my life. Thank you, Plattsburgh."
Waterbury, who has more wins than any coach in the history of State University of New York Athletic Conference men's soccer and the 11th-most in the history of NCAA Division III, led the Cardinals to all eight SUNYAC titles they have earned in program history. Waterbury's teams qualified the NCAA Division III Tournament 11 times, and in 2005, he guided SUNY Plattsburgh to the semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament. He led the Cardinals to 26 consecutive winning seasons from 1988 to 2013, the 12th-longest streak in Division III history.
Coach of the Year
He finishes his 36-year head coaching career with a record of 477 wins, 169 losses, and 65 draws, which includes one year at New England College, two years at Lyndon State College and 33 years at Plattsburgh. Waterbury went 453-151-62 during his tenure with the Cardinals. He was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year on seven occasions, with his most recent honor coming in 2012 when the Cardinals went 17-3-1 overall.
Waterbury mentored 11 student-athletes to 15 All-America accolades, which included the program's only three-time All-American, Jason Sousa, who picked up All-America recognition from 2003 to 2005. He also coached seven SUNYAC Huntley Parker Award recipients and two SUNYAC Rookies of the Year.
He has contributed to the department beyond his role as just the head men's soccer coach. He has served as interim director of athletics during the 2004-2005 academic year and held the title of assistant director of athletics during portions of his tenure at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Staying on Faculty
Waterbury began his career at SUNY Plattsburgh in 1985, and from 1988 on, his teams never had a losing season. Waterbury went 3-9-1 overall at New England College in his first head coaching position in 1982, and he posted a 21-9-3 record at Lyndon State across two seasons there before accepting the job at SUNY Plattsburgh. He is a 1981 undergraduate of SUNY Cortland and earned his master's degree from SUNY Albany in 1985.
He won’t be saying goodbye to campus entirely. Waterbury intends to continue teaching a class or two per semester.
"This is certainly a very bittersweet day for Cardinal Athletics," said Mike Howard, SUNY Plattsburgh director of intercollegiate athletics. "Chris Waterbury has given the vast majority of his professional life to working tirelessly toward establishing our men's soccer program to a position of prominence on the league, regional and national levels. While we will certainly miss seeing him in his familiar spot on the end of the Cardinal bench next fall, his work has positioned our program well for much continued success for many years to come. His reputation as an outstanding mentor to student-athletes and for being a consummate professional on the sideline for more than 30 years has gained him well-deserved respect from colleagues around the country."
"As an active member of the Director of Athletics search committee, he played a central role in my decision to join the Cardinal community two years ago, and his leadership in our department has been invaluable. We wish him well in this much-deserved transition and look forward to continuing to enjoy his trademark wit and humor as he continues to support Cardinal students in the classroom."
A national search for Waterbury's successor will begin in the coming months, with the department expecting to name a new head coach for the men's soccer program early this spring.