Spear Stepping Down as Davidson Men’s Soccer Coach
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Davidson’s Matt Spear announced Thursday he is stepping down as head men’s soccer coach to become President of the Richmond Kickers pro soccer organization.
“Coaching at Davidson and serving my alma mater has been a tremendous honor and a wonderful experience,” said Spear. “I have loads of respect for Davidson, and that passion for and belief will live on.”
Spear, who just completed his 18th season at the helm of his alma mater, ranks second in program history with 150 career wins.
“Matt has left an indelible mark on the Davidson men’s soccer program,” said Director of Athletics Chris Clunie. “He has exemplified the core of Davidson Athletics – athletics done right. Over the past 18 years, he has coached great teams, great players and great students, all the while making them even better people.”
In addition to leading Davidson to a runner-up finish in the 2018 Atlantic 10 standings, its highest since joining the league in 2014, Spear guided the ‘Cats to a pair of Southern Conference regular season titles, a tournament crown and berth in the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
On the field or along the sidelines, Spear has played a part in many of the program’s biggest wins. While a member of the team as a scholar-athlete, the Wildcats defeated UCLA, Wake Forest, Duke, NC State and North Carolina, ultimately reaching the College Cup semifinals in 1992.
As a coach, Spear guided the ‘Cats past 10 ACC teams, including a pair of eventual National Champions (Virginia & North Carolina).
“Building upon his own success as a student-athlete on Davidson’s legendary 1992 Final Four team, Matt poured his heart and soul into this men’s soccer program and made it better – and for that, we are forever grateful. Although bittersweet to see him leave, we are excited for the next chapter in his journey and wish he and his family nothing but best wishes and even greater success,” commented Clunie.
In all, Spear coached six Academic All-Americans, 22 all-conference performers, and one All-American, while seven former assistants became NCAA head coaches.
Coach Spear’s ambition for the program impacted the ideation and development of Alumni Stadium plus annual gifts from alumni and other stakeholders for scholarship increases.
“The best part of my role was to channel Davidson’s mission of developing lives of leadership and service,” he said. “My style is servant leadership. The highlight is to recruit and influence incredible student-athletes. My focus has been their growth and experience. Plus, I am grateful to have worked with so many smart, driven and fun coaches and staff. I have been surrounded and deeply impacted by great people and strivers.”
A four-year starter for the Wildcats, Spear served as a team captain of the 1992 Davidson team that won the SoCon Championship and advanced to the NCAA semifinals — Davidson’s only Division I Final Four team. He was rewarded for his outstanding play with first-team All-Southern Conference honors in 1992.
Spear is the only Davidsonian who, as a player, won a conference championship and participated in the NCAA Tournament and then later became head coach of a Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament team at his alma mater.
A national search for the next head men’s soccer coach will begin immediately. Current associate head coach Kelly Findley will serve as interim head coach.