The most successful women’s soccer coach in Williams history (I think) is leaving at the end of the coming season:

Williams announced on Monday that [Michelyne] Pinard will leave the school after the 2019-20 school year, her 18th at the helm of the program, to become the director of athletics at The Thatcher School, a private boarding school in Ojai, Calif…

Pinard finished her 17th season at Williams in 2018, guiding her team to an NCAA Division III national championship. It was Williams’ third NCAA title in the last four years.

Her record through 17 seasons is 257-46-34. That translates to a winning percentage of .813, the fifth-best active winning percentage in D-III.

That’s a lot of winning, and three NCAA titles in four years is very impressive.

The article is not 100% clear as to why Coach Pinard is leaving, but reading between the lines, it seems as though that after 18 years, she just wanted to do something else.

Going forward, I wonder what the impact on the women’s soccer program will be?  Coaching is, I think, an important factor in team success, but I guess that sheer talent is the most important ingredient.  Presumably Williams will still be able to attract very talented soccer players, simply because of the quality of the school and the program’s history of success.  In that regard, I wonder how many top tier Division III athletes pick their schools based on the quality of the school versus more athletically relevant factors (quality of facilities, level of competiton, prospects of playing after college, etc.).  Any Ephblog readers with insight on this?

(As the parent of a kid who hopes to continue on with his sport in college, but with very little chance of playing professionally, I am starting to wrap my head around how I would feel if he wanted to go to a less well known and/or significantly less “good” college just because he could play his sport there, or would have a better chance of getting playing time, for example.)

Anyway, getting back to Williams women’s soccer, I hope the next coach will be as good (and successful) as Coach Pinard.  Are there any Ephblog readers who played for her?  What other Williams coaches have seen similar success?  Women’s tennis coach Alison Swain ’01 won 8 NCAA titles in 10 years before leaving to coach at the University of Southern California.  Almost impossible to do better than that!   I think in recent years (decades?) the track/cross-country coach has been very, very successful.  Men’s basketball coach Dave Paulsen had a 0.762 winning percentage over 8 seasons, and a national title, which seems pretty good.  Any others?

UPDATE/CORRECTION:   I knew about – and should have remembered – Coach Pete Farwell, who is clearly one of the greatest Eph coaches ever.  He started as the men’s cross-country coach in 1979, and has served as the women’s cross-county coach since 2000.  He has also served as the head coach for the track team (he is currently an assistant coach for that team).  His 40-year coaching career has been incredibly successful.  Thanks to Anon88 for pointing out this omission.

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