William & Mary

Long-time women’s soccer coach retires after storied 31-year career

  • Storied career:
    Storied career:  In his 31 seasons as head coach, John Daly guided the Tribe to 22 NCAA tournament appearances, including 18 of the past 25 years.  Tribe Athletics photo
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Following a successful coaching career spanning four decades, William & Mary head women's soccer coach John Daly announced his retirement on Friday.
 
"It has been a long road with very few bumps along the way," said Daly.  "I have always loved the College and, in particular, the women's soccer program and everyone who has been a part of it. I hope for more success for it in the future."
 
In his 31 seasons as head coach, Daly guided the Tribe to 22 NCAA tournament appearances, including 18 of the past 25 years. Daly coached the side in 646 matches, amassing a record of 413-176-57 (.683) overall and a mark of 156-45-18 (.753) in the Colonial Athletic Association. He guided the team to a remarkable 30 consecutive winning seasons from 1987 though 2016.
 
"John has been a significant part of William & Mary Athletics for such a long time, that his legacy was cemented a long time ago," reflected Tribe Director of Athletics Samantha K. Huge.  "His accomplishments and victories speak for themselves, as do the hundreds of outstanding young women who earned degrees and went on to do great things in the world. We thank John for his distinguished service and wish him well. He will always be a member of the Tribe family." 
 
Among his peers, Daly by all measures closes out one of best careers in NCAA history. When the university defeated UNC Greensboro on Sept. 11, 2016, he became the sixth Division I coach and 13th coach overall in NCAA history to win 400 career matches.
 
Daly has been honored on the national level several times. Most recently, the United Soccer Coaches (formerly known as the National Soccer Coaches of America, or NSCAA) presented him with the group's prestigious Letter of Commendation at its 2017 convention. This award recognizes a career in soccer filled with service to the game, the coaching profession, and the development of players. Additionally, in 2010, he earned the group's Women's Committee Award of Excellence, given to an individual who has brought honor and distinction to the game of women's soccer and placed his name beside some of the sport's biggest names — like April Heinrichs, Anson Dorrance, Tony DiCicco, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and more — as past honorees.
 
Long the most successful women's soccer coach in school history, Daly surpassed his predecessor, John Charles, with his 64th career victory in 1992 and continued on to pile up an additional 349 wins.

The magnitude of Daly's accomplishments, which include capturing 10 CAA titles, seven Regional Coach of the Year awards and five CAA Coach of the Year honors, has not been lost on the Tribe community. In 2004, W&M named its new all-grass facility in joint honor of Daly and former Tribe Men's Soccer Coach, Al Albert, "the ultimate accolade" in a storied coaching career.
 
National prominence was a hallmark of Daly's teams and players throughout his tenure. He led the Tribe to the NCAA tournament in 1987, his first year at the helm, and scored a 1-0 victory over archrival Virginia in the first round to reach the quarterfinals. Twenty-one more trips to the national playoffs followed, with the Tribe amassing 12 wins. The national rankings were a staple for Daly's program as the Tribe ranked among the Top-25 for all or part of 28 of the last 31 seasons, including a program-high No. 3 billing in both 1989 and 1994. In recent years, W&M reached as high as 11th in 2006 and 14th in 2010.

Under Daly's tutelage, 15 W&M players earned a total of 32 All-America honors, including two National Players of the Year in Megan McCarthy (1987) and four-time All-American Natalie Neaton (1995). Along with the success on the pitch, Daly's players distinguished themselves in the classroom, as 11 Tribe players have earned Academic All-America recognition on his watch.
 
Daly's program has also produced a collection of some of the game's most impressive coaches. Starting with former assistant coach, April Heinrichs, and moving through former players Jill Ellis, Julie Cunningham Shackford, Erica Walsh Dambach and Lindsey Vanderspiegel Martin, his coaching legacy has reached to the highest levels of the sport.
 
Beyond athletics, his vast and distinguished contributions to the campus community were recognized when the William & Mary Alumni Association granted him the status of an honorary alumnus in 2016. 

W&M will begin a national search immediately to name a successor. No timetable has been established for the search.