SEAMUS MCFADDEN’S INCREDIBLE RUN AS MEN’S SOCCER COACH COMES TO A CLOSE
Seamus McFadden came to USD in 1979 with a prodigious task before him: create a Division I soccer program from scratch. When McFadden steps down as head coach, effective Jan. 1, 2018, he’ll rank eighth in all-time career wins among active D-1 coaches in the nation, and 22nd all-time.
Not bad for a coach who was given a $2,500 salary, a recruiting budget of a hundred bucks and told to launch a program. McFadden laughs when he reflects on those early years.
“I didn’t walk in with a blindfold,” he recalls. “USD was a very small school — much smaller than it is now. It had just become a D-1 athletic program, and the focus was on basketball. I was putting ads in The Vista, looking for students that had any soccer experience at all.”
From those humble origins, McFadden built one of the more successful soccer programs in the nation and contributed mightily to the collection of hardware in the trophy case of Torero Athletics. In addition to nine West Coast Conference titles, under his leadership the Toreros made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances that included an NCAA championship game appearance in 1992 and an Elite Eight run in 2012.McFadden is also a nine-time WCC Coach of the Year.
That success doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given McFadden’s passion for the sport. An All-American at San Diego State University who played professionally with the San Diego Jaws of the North American Soccer League, McFadden is also a passionate supporter of youth soccer. When he looks back over 39 years of coaching, in the same breath as the Torero championships he talks about taking his youth soccer teams to the state cup championship.
“It’s a beautiful game, a wonderful game,” he says. “I’ve been blessed to be around it most of my life. I can’t imagine being as happy doing anything else.”
McFadden passes the baton to longtime assistant and associate head coach Brian Quinn, who joked he’d have to coach until he was in his 90s to match his predecessor’s amazing 39-year tenure. In something of a role-reversal, McFadden will remain at USD on Quinn’s coaching staff.
“Many good friends have asked me why not go to 40 years,” McFadden said at the news conference announcing his retirement and Quinn’s appointment. “And the simple truth is I just don’t want to. I’m ready to hand it over and I think Brian is an outstanding coach.
“It’s been a great run.” — Timothy McKernan
Photo of Seamus McFadden (left) alongside Brian Quinn courtesy of Avalon Koenig.