Long-time UMW coach announces retirement
By ALEX BLOOM
Legendary men’s and women’s cross country and track and field coach Stan Soper announced that he will be retiring following the 2015 outdoor track season. One of the most successful coaches in University of Mary Washington history, Soper formally made his announcement on Nov. 25 to his team and colleagues.
Soper, the longest tenured coach in school history, spent 41 years teaching and coaching over the course of his career, 31 of which were spent at UMW. Undoubtedly one of the most proven and successful coaches in NCAA Division III track and field, Soper leaves with a heavy heart and no regrets.
“I have so many wonderful memories of my time here and have had the pleasure of getting to know and work with hundreds and hundreds of outstanding student-athletes,” Soper said in a press release. “I am very proud of what our program has accomplished, and I feel blessed to have been a small part of that.”
Although the announcement is bittersweet for the university, UMW Athletic Director Ken Tyler had nothing but praise for long-time coach.
“During his career, Stan has helped hundreds of student-athletes run faster and jump higher, but, more importantly, he has helped them become better people,” Tyler said. “Soper’s record of championships and coach of the year honors is incredibly impressive, but the number of successful alumni and the countless people he has positively influenced will be his most enduring legacy.”
Soper came to UMW in 1983 and has since racked up a combined 25 CAC championships in men’s and women’s cross country. He was also named CAC men’s or women’s cross country coach of the year 22 times. Soper led the track and field teams to a combined 23 CAC titles, 17 of which belong to the women. Soper was also named the conference track and field coach of the year 20 times.
“I am very proud of what our program has accomplished, and I feel blessed to have been a small part of that,” Soper said.
Along with conference success, Soper coached six NCAA Championship qualifying cross-country teams. He also trained and coached 49 All-Americans.
Soper is one of three active head coaches in the CAC to have been a part of its formation in 1989. Soper is also a member of the Frostburg State University Hall of Fame, where he graduated and competed for the school as a distance runner.
“I know my successor will come in and will move the program both forward and upward,” Soper said.