Jim Regan retires as men’s football coach in Wheeling | News, Sports, Jobs



Wheeling – When he entered the Wheeling College campus in the summer of 1983, Jim Regan had no idea what impact he would have on campus. Thirty-nine years and over 500 victories later, Regan has announced his retirement as coach of Wheeling University Head Men’s Soccer following the 2021-2022 academic year.

Regan will coach his final game for Wheeling University at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 6 at Bishop Schmitt Field, when the Cardinals face West Liberty University. In his last game, Regan will face the former player and his son, Sean Regan, head coach of the Hilltoppers. Alumni and friends were invited to attend this game to celebrate Regan’s last regular season game.

When he walked onto campus in the fall of 1983, he was only 26 years old and was responsible for taking over the men’s soccer program, which was only in its eighth year of existence. He had just completed his studies as a graduate assistant and was thrilled to become the head coach of a thriving National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) men’s football program.

“It was an exciting time for me to be a head coach at the age of 26,” said Regan. “I just finished as an GA at my alma mater, Bethany College, in 1982 and we reached the D3 national final. ”

Thirty-nine years later, Regan has amassed over 500 victories during his coaching career and led the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Wheeling University. As head coach of the Cardinals, Regan coached 36 All-Americans and won five Coach of the Year awards. He has led his teams to eight district championships, seven regional championships and four appearances in a national tournament. He impacted thousands of student-athletes and their families during this time, helping them transition from teenagers to adult men and women ready to take on the world.

One of the affected students was current Wheeling University athletic director Carrie (Plute) Hanna. Hanna played under Reagan from 1992 to 1995 and remembers her trainer not only as a great leader, but also a great mentor and true friend throughout her career.

“Coach Jim Regan is a rare cardinal treasure who, over the course of 39 years of unprecedented service at Wheeling University, has positively impacted the lives of so many students he has recruited, coached and driven to pursue excellence, ”said Hanna. “He has always led by example, set and held to the highest standards, Coach Regan has established a family football culture inspiring, connecting and supporting every member to graduate and make a difference in the world by being men and women for others. ”

Regan began his coaching career at Wheeling College in 1983 when he was appointed head coach of the men’s team. He was taking over a burgeoning program in his eighth year on campus. They were coming out of a 1982 season that saw them put in a better 10-7-0 schedule under head coach Jim Herlinger, and they were looking to continue the winning tradition under the guidance of their new head coach. .

Regan managed to maintain that success and led the Cardinals to an 11-6 record in his first season at the helm. That year, he won eight All-Conference Awards and two All-Americans because he helped establish a winning tradition. In his first five seasons, he led the Cardinals to a winning record in three of those seasons, and in 1987 made the team an annual contender for the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC).

With the success of the men’s team, Regan came up with an idea at the end of the 1987 season that would help increase enrollment at Wheeling College and help give women more opportunities in athletics. He created the Wheeling College women’s soccer team, which began its inaugural season in the fall of 1988. They played their first game on September 7, 1988, which ended in a scoreless tie with Marietta College. .

With the success of the men’s team well established, Regan immediately gave the women’s team a good start. They went 10-3-3 in their inaugural season and were named District 28 and Great Lakes regional champions in each of their first two seasons. Then, Regan would lead this newly formed women’s team to the NAIA National Championship tournament during the 1990, 1991 and 1992 seasons. In the first five seasons of the program, he had already had two regional championships under his belt and three appearances in the tournament. NAIA national championship.

Regan ran the women’s program until the 2001 season, when her former women’s soccer player and current athletic director, Carrie Hanna, took the reins. With the program still running today, Regan is proud of the legacy he helped create in women’s soccer at Wheeling University.

“I was part-time in 1987 coaching the men and working as a physical education teacher at a local elementary school,” Regan said. “Women’s soccer was on the rise and I saw an opportunity for Wheeling College to increase enrollment and athletic opportunities for young women.

While leading the women’s team to national tournaments, he was equally successful with his men’s team. Its most successful season came in 2000 as the team made their mark in Division II men’s soccer. They became the first team in University history to be ranked No.1 in a national NCAA Division II poll. This season, Wheeling Jesuit made his first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II men’s national soccer tournament as a No.3 seed. They beat Mercyhurst in the first round before losing to Lewis (IL) in the quarterfinals.

Since the men’s soccer team joined the Mountain East Conference (MEC) in 2013, the Cardinals, under Regan’s leadership, have competed in the MEC Championship tournament four times. They reached the MEC Championship game in 2018 after beating Notre Dame College 5-4 on penalties. They would eventually fall in that season’s MEC Championship game against the University of Charleston 2-0, but it was the program’s first championship game since the 2000 season.

During his 39-year coaching career at Wheeling University, Regan has the second most wins of any active coach behind Volleyball’s Christy Benner. He holds the record for the most wins as a men’s soccer coach in the history of the program and the most wins as a head coach of women’s soccer in the history of the program. He was inducted into the University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 for his work as the head coach of both programs.

Now that he’s ready to retire from training, he’s confident he’s put the program in place for success in the future. As he spends more time with his family and friends, he is excited about the future of the men’s program.

“I have built a solid foundation for the next coach to build on and move the program forward in the future,” said Regan.

“I am grateful to Coach Regan for his nearly 40 years of service at this university,” said Ginny R. Favede, president of Wheeling University. Its impact on the lives of its student-athletes and on the sport of soccer at the college, high school and club levels is immeasurable. His biggest impact on his players is that he instilled in them a passion for the game that goes beyond wins and losses – he taught them how to be successful in life. We all at Wheeling thank Coach for his dedication to the Cardinal family and we wish him a wonderful retirement. May he spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have had here at Wheeling,” said Regan. “Former players, parents, teachers and community support throughout my career are greatly appreciated. Special thanks to my family for their love and support throughout these years. What made it even more special was the opportunity to see all of my kids playing here at Wheeling.

There will be two special events celebrating Jim Regan’s career at Wheeling University. The first takes place in its last regular season home game on November 6, and the second is Alumni Soccer Weekend April 29-30. Both registration links can be found on the Wheeling University Athletics website.

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