Following head coach Matt Edwards’ abrupt departure from the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s soccer team, the Stags have turned to a familiar face to man the program — former CMS goalkeeper and assistant coach Ryan Fahey CM ’10.
While playing for the Stags, Fahey earned First-Team All-SCIAC and Third-Team National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Far West selection. Following graduation, he joined the CMS staff as its assistant coach for three years.
Fahey then left CMS, spending the last seven years coaching under Chad Riley at both Dartmouth and Notre Dame. The duo spent their first five years together at Dartmouth, before Riley brought Fahey with him when he was named the head coach of the Fighting Irish.
Fahey will be taking over a strong CMS team which Edwards led to a series of successes — including back-to-back SCIAC regular season titles.
Over the past two years, CMS won 31, drew six and lost only three games. This past season, the Stags advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time since 1985, winning a regional title in a pair of 2-0 wins over Texas Lutheran and Trinity University.
Edwards’ departure came as a shock to the team, according to Will Birchard CM ’21.
“No one was anticipating him stepping down and it did shock us but with his track record, we know he will move on to great success because he is a fantastic coach,” Birchard said.
However, Birchard said the team is very excited for Fahey becoming head coach.
“I think what excites us most about Fahey is the ability to make the program what we think it can be, and that is a national contender every single year.”
Fahey said his time playing and coaching at CMS was instrumental in his decision to return.
“Returning to CMS was almost a no-brainer for my family and I,” Fahey said. “I always felt very supported as a student, but also as a young coach. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to return to the Claremont community.”
He added that CMS’ unique blend of strong academics and athletics enticed him to make his way back to Claremont.
“I want to be in an environment where I feel I can make the most educational impact. CMS is a place where student-athletes can and are encouraged to strive for excellence both academically and athletically,” he said. “I believe striving for excellence in both areas is where a lot of the educational experience is created, so as someone who sees themselves as an educator, returning to CMS was a great opportunity. ”
Leaving CMS originally wasn’t easy, but Fahey said it gave him a chance “to grow and learn … and at that time in my career, that was the most important thing for my personal development.”
Fahey helped Dartmouth to four straight Ivy League Championships and NCAA Tournament bids from 2014-17. The run included a program record for most conference wins over a four-year period.
Success followed Fahey at Notre Dame. He helped lead them to two NCAA bids in two years and the program’s fourth NCAA Quarterfinals appearance in 2018.
“Leaving Notre Dame was bittersweet because I am leaving some really good friends and colleagues, but the opportunity to return to CMS was too great,” Fahey said.
Fahey said he looks forward to bringing his Division I success and experience to CMS, but stressed that Dartmouth and Notre Dame are not that different from CMS.
“All three are great schools, where the soccer teams have had a history of success,” he said. “So for me, I’m hoping to be able to continue creating an environment where student-athletes learn from the experience of challenging themselves to be the best student they can be and the best soccer player they can be.”
The CMS job will also be Fahey’s first head coaching position.
“I think more than anything, I am excited,” he said. “I believe as a head coach, you have the greatest impact on your students.”
As for the team’s message to Fahey?
“I would tell him that we are hungry and want to do everything we can to win,” Birchard said.