PRESS RELEASE McElderry hired as head coach

Richard Schnyderite

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Jim McElderry, who has led Fordham to three NCAA appearances, including the tournament quarterfinals in 2017, and two Atlantic 10 Championships over the last five seasons, has been named the seventh head coach in the 80-year history of the Rutgers men’s soccer program.

“Rutgers is delighted to welcome Jim McElderry to lead our men’s soccer program,” said Rutgers Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “Jim comes ‘To The Banks’ with a proven record of program building resulting in NCAA Tournament appearances and numerous accolades for his student-athletes for their performances on the pitch and in the classroom. Jim brings a great vision for the future of our program and has strong recruiting ties both regionally and internationally. With Jim’s leadership and the support of our outstanding soccer alumni, we will see our program rise in the Big Ten and on the national stage in the years ahead.”

During his 16-year tenure with the Rams, McElderry’s student-athletes have been rewarded with 27 All-Region honors over the last 12 seasons, including five named in 2017 and three earning distinctions in 2018, 2016 and 2011. Altogether, McElderry has coached 18 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie and 32 All-Atlantic 10 honorees, as well as the 2018 Atlantic 10 Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.

As much as McElderry’s teams have succeeded on the field, his squads have been as equally impressive in the classroom having earned the Team Academic Award from the United Soccer Coaches Association for nine-straight years and securing a 100% graduation rate of four-year team members since 2003.


“I would like to thank Pat Hobbs and his incredible staff for entrusting me with the position of head men’s soccer coach at Rutgers,” said McElderry. “My family and I look forward to joining the Rutgers community and this great university.

“As a native of New Jersey, I understand the history of Rutgers men’s soccer. I will work tirelessly to attract top level student-athletes, compete at a high level in the Big Ten and on the national stage and engage the alumni and Rutgers fan base to support a team they will be proud call their own.”


This past season, Fordham qualified for the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the fifth-straight season and spent six weeks in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 rankings, as well as the entire season among the top 10 in the regional rankings. Among the Rams wins this past season were victories over the Big Ten’s Wisconsin and Northwestern.


In 2017, McElderry guided Fordham to its best NCAA finish for any Division I team in school history with a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal run behind a program-record 14 wins. The Rams concluded the year at No. 11 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll and at No. 7 in the Top Drawer Soccer Poll with a tournament run that included wins over St. Francis Brooklyn and No. 11 seed Virginia, as well as a penalty kick shootout win over No. 6 seed Duke. In addition to the success of the team, individually the Rams boasted eight All-Atlantic 10 selections, five Midwest Regional honorees, the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year, a Third Team All-American by Soccer News and a CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team representative.


Under McElderry’s guidance, the Rams also secured the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid to 2014 NCAA Tournament and repeated the feat again in 2016 boasting the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year along with six all-league and three all-region picks.


Several former Fordham student-athletes under McElderry’s tutelage have gone on to perform at the next level. In 2012, Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Meara was a Major League Soccer draft pick and is currently suiting up as a goalkeeper with the New York Red Bulls, while in 2017 four-year Ram letterwinner Matt Lewis, who appeared in a school record 84 contests, signed with Sporting Kansas City as a Homegrown signee. More recently, 2018 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year Janos Loebe and two-time regional all-american Rashid Nuhu will be attending the MLS combine in Chicago in conjunction with the upcoming MLS draft coming in January.


Prior to Fordham, McElderry served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Fairfield, from 1993-2002. While with the Stag program, Fairfield broke into the top 25 for the first time in school history behind a school-record 15 wins and 11-game unbeaten streak in 1998 and captured the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship in 1999. In his last four seasons, the Stags advance made four consecutive MAAC championship game appearances.

McElderry has been associated with the Region I Olympic Development Program, the head coach for the Everton F.C. Westchester Academy U15/16 team and was on the Storm Academy Soccer Club staff for its multiple regional championships. He was also a scout for United States Soccer Federation Development Academy.

A 1993 graduate of Fairfield with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a minor in economics, McElderry was the 1992 MAAC Player of the Year award and two time All-MAAC selection. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in teaching and foundation from Fairfield in 1999. He was inducted into the Fairfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.

Following his college career, McElderry played professionally for the New York Fever of the A-League from 1994-97 and then for the Long Island Rough Riders (A-League) from 1997-98. He also played for the New York Freedoms for four seasons.

McElderry and his wife Kim, a Connecticut College Hall of Fame member in field hockey, are the proud parents of daughter, Grace, and son, Liam.
 

AreYouNUTS

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Are we happy with this hire?
I am...Fairly local guy who has been coaching in the area, apparently with solid connections at the regional academies, and over the second half of his tenure at Fordham has been very successful. Difficult to argue with in my humble opinion. Has he gone to the final four? No. Has he won a national championship, no. Has he been to the quarterfinals in the last 2 years? Yes.
 

bigmatt718

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On paper sounds like a good hire and he's from here. Million dollar question is can he recruit...if he can we are in good shape.
 

Scarlettrooper

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Are we happy with this hire?
I am...Fairly local guy who has been coaching in the area, apparently with solid connections at the regional academies, and over the second half of his tenure at Fordham has been very successful. Difficult to argue with in my humble opinion. Has he gone to the final four? No. Has he won a national championship, no. Has he been to the quarterfinals in the last 2 years? Yes.
Maybe we should start with a coach who can not get blown out by Elon or play competitive and competent soccer consistently in conference? I’ll take regular NCAA tourney appearance as well. We all saw the group of candidates. Anyone who thought someone from the ACC or Big Ten was coming here to coach was misled or grossly overvalues the desirability of the opening.
 

Rutgers36

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I like the hire. Successful long time local head coach from Jersey with connections to Academies. The previous regime broughtsome good players in but the team didn't win and those players transferred out including our top scorer this year. Yes you can't win without talent but you need to be a good coach.
 

AreYouNUTS

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Is his resume any stronger than DDs when he was hired ?
I believe so but an awful way to look at things IMHO. Dan had been away from the region for a very long time with (apparently) lousy connections to the academies . Apples to Oranges IMHO.
 

SirScarlet

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I posted in the original thread that this guy intrigued me the most. When I think about the basketball hire this guy is very similar to Steve pikiell. None of the other candidates jumped out at me in any big way (other than perhaps Brandt), so I'm completely fine with this hire. Plus he has tangible results to back it up.

No athletic director is going to get every hire right but at this time I think you can absolutely say that it's a good hire. We will have to see what he does out on the field, but crapping on this hire makes absolutely no sense at all.
 
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RUTrack94

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Sounds like a good hire ... see we lost J. Hall to UCONN ... ugh.
 

seansherm

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I posted in the original thread that this guy intrigued me the most. When I think about the basketball hire this guy is very similar to Steve pikiell. None of the other candidates jumped out at me in any big way (other than perhaps Brandt), so I'm completely fine with this hire. Plus he has tangible results to back it up.

No athletic director is going to get every hire right but at this time I think you can absolutely say that it's a good hire. We will have to see what he does out on the field, but crapping on this hire makes absolutely no sense at all.
Good way to look at it. He was last on my list of the 5, but I can see a parallel with Pike.
 
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snowboarder

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I certainly don't think that McElderry is an exciting hire on any level. McElderry has had modest success at Fordham and he has relied on foreign players. That approach at Rutgers may initially be the best way to rescue a depleted roster but might not be a path to sustained success. We are a big state university and I doubt we want to become a program that ultimately relies on foreign players. McElederry's ability to recruit in NJ and NY will ultimately determine his success at RU. McElderry's real connections to Academy Soccer look weak at this time but that can be improved.
He was not going to recruit many nigh level Academy players at Fordham so that wasn't his focus. He will now have to cultivate the relationships with NY Redbulls and PDA and work them as hard as he can. Donigan had access to PDA and Redbull if he wanted it, he just didn't work at it. He never watched the training at NYRB even though it was 20 minutes from campus. He rarely, if ever showed up at Academy games and even missed the Academy showcase (all 80 Academies in one place) one year to host a camp.
McElderry can succeed if he does the following:
1. Cultivate and work the relationship with NYRB and PDA. Show up at their practices, be visible and project professionalism
2. Commit to an attractive style of play that the top kids can identify with. That will do well with Academy coaches and players
3. Promote the program actively, both on campus and in the NJ Soccer community. Grass roots promotion will work as it did in wrestling.
Make Rutgers Soccer accessible and visible all over the NJ Youth Soccer scene.
4. Put in an honest effort. Sounds ridiculous but Donigan did not and that was his downfall. This is an easy job at Rutgers, everything is there for McElderry. A coach that actually cares about his players and the program will be an immediate upgrade over the previous coaching staff.
 
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koleszar

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Looking at his record, this does not seem like a home run hire. More like a cross your fingers and pray. Are we still using the best interviewer method to pick our candidate?
 

RUPartisan

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Seems like a great hire on the surface. Any idea of his recruiting abilities?
 

AreYouNUTS

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I certainly don't think that McElderry is an exciting hire on any level. McElderry has had modest success at Fordham.
Over the last five years he has won2 conference titles, I believe one or two conference tournaments, he’s been to the NCAA’s three times, and been to the NCAA quarterfinals once. I would say that’s more than “moderate” especially Add afford a program where, apparently, he didn’t have anywhere close to the tools at his access that he will have in Piscataway.
 
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Ironhead23

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I certainly don't think that McElderry is an exciting hire on any level. McElderry has had modest success at Fordham and he has relied on foreign players. That approach at Rutgers may initially be the best way to rescue a depleted roster but might not be a path to sustained success. We are a big state university and I doubt we want to become a program that ultimately relies on foreign players. McElederry's ability to recruit in NJ and NY will ultimately determine his success at RU. McElderry's real connections to Academy Soccer look weak at this time but that can be improved.
He was not going to recruit many nigh level Academy players at Fordham so that wasn't his focus. He will now have to cultivate the relationships with NY Redbulls and PDA and work them as hard as he can. Donigan had access to PDA and Redbull if he wanted it, he just didn't work at it. He never watched the training at NYRB even though it was 20 minutes from campus. He rarely, if ever showed up at Academy games and even missed the Academy showcase (all 80 Academies in one place) one year to host a camp.
McElderry can succeed if he does the following:
1. Cultivate and work the relationship with NYRB and PDA. Show up at their practices, be visible and project professionalism
2. Commit to an attractive style of play that the top kids can identify with. That will do well with Academy coaches and players
3. Promote the program actively, both on campus and in the NJ Soccer community. Grass roots promotion will work as it did in wrestling.
Make Rutgers Soccer accessible and visible all over the NJ Youth Soccer scene.
4. Put in an honest effort. Sounds ridiculous but Donigan did not and that was his downfall. This is an easy job at Rutgers, everything is there for McElderry. A coach that actually cares about his players and the program will be an immediate upgrade over the previous coaching staff.
Thanks for this thoughtful post. I agree with your posts, and would just add the following. In terms of PDA, that’s gonna be somewhat tough at first perhaps because of the ties Donigan and his staff had/have there. But we will see. In any case, I think that cedar stars is an academy system that needs to be brought more into RU fold. Also recruiting in Essex and Hudson counties. I think it’s time to cultivate SBP relationship. I know there is some bad history with Donigan and then but they are sending players to programs like gtown, Akron, and UCLA. Awesome players too. One thing that jersey soccer has in many places, especially up north, are players who come from various global backgrounds and bring a creativity to game. Rather than relying on foreign born players, the coach should look into places like Ironbound and SBP for players with those kinds of qualities. The mechanical south and central jersey suburban style is fine but I’d try to change that up a bit.
 
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ruready07

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Recruiting to Fordham isn’t easy . They probably have the worst facilities in d1.

Our new coach will have A LOT more to sell recruits at Rutgers
 

Ironhead23

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Next questions:
When do we hear some kind of statement from new coach about visions for program?

How many players will come with him as transfers from Fordham and/or incoming recruits he had lined up who will now come to RU? Will any Donigan recruits decide not to come or be discouraged from coming by new coach?
 

seansherm

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Recruiting to Fordham isn’t easy . They probably have the worst facilities in d1.

Our new coach will have A LOT more to sell recruits at Rutgers
He was there 16 years, he had plenty of time to lead fundraising efforts for facilities upgrades. If he didn’t after 16 years, that’s just something that concerns me. A guy at a level wo full funding needs to be active in bringing other monies to the program.
 

Leonard23

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Okay so we went With a guy who in the last five years won 2 conference championships, went to the NCAA three times, and went to the NCAA quarterfinals once. Boy we really shit the bed here didn’t we LOL!!
You were just as hyped by the Donigan hire. This is a mediocre hire. Don't hate it like I did the Donigan hire, but don't love it either. We needed a stronger recruiter.
 

Rutgers36

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In basketball Fred Hill Jr was an excellent recruiter and the kids left because he couldn't coach well enough. Give me a coach first. He recently beat UVA, Duke and Wisky while recruiting to Fordham. We have more to offer. Hell get better players. If he doesn', get him money for a top recruiter, oh I don't know like the career assistant Miller at UConn.
 
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rucoe89

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You were just as hyped by the Donigan hire. This is a mediocre hire. Don't hate it like I did the Donigan hire, but don't love it either. We needed a stronger recruiter.
Don't know if you know recruiting or not in Soccer circles in NJ, but if you do, this was a big fear. Soccer can ill-afford an Ash level recruiter right now.
 

Rutgers36

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Well Ash and staff are not great recruiters but worse he was never a head coach and it appears he never should have been. If you demonstrate progress and a quality style of play on the field you can attract players. I used a basketball example and now a football one is that Doug Graber signed a top 10 recruiting class when he was hired. He never signed a comparable class after that because the on field results weren't there. Do more with less and then they will come. Again hire top recruiting assistants. Bob reasso took a losing team and webt undefeated his first year at Rutgers. Yes it was a long time ago, but he could coach, motivate and with success recruiting got a lot easier.
 
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78CollegeAve

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Meh. Looks like Hobbs wanted a guy who wouldn’t coat much and has the experience of a 10-year rebuild that then led to one regular season championship and two conference tournament championships (one after finishing 7th) in the next six years.
 

rufeelinit

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Well I wanted to a coach with HC experience and this guy checks that box. He was at Fordham a long time and has had recent success. In many respects, his recent resume is similar to Donnigan. I don't get the sense he had to build the program since the all time winning coach at Fordham was the guy he succeeded.

There are no sure things the coaching business so IMO you try to mitigate the number of risks you take with a hire. I don't care where the players come from just as long as they can play. I will certainly support the hire and wish him the best but not sure where the confidence comes from that he represents a "great" hire.

I wonder if he was truly the number 1 choice or if we got turned down by others. Probably will never know and it really doesn't matter now. Let's get the staff hired and start building this program back to where it should be.
 

78CollegeAve

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Like Parcells always said - you are what your record is. Hobbs certainly didn't hire a guy known for a quick fix.

2003 4–12–1 3–8–0 T–9th
2004 3–12–3 1–7–3 12th
2005 8–5–5 2–4–3 10th
2006 9–3–5 3–3–3 7th
2007 6–10–3 5–4–0 5th A-10 Quarterfinal
2008 9–8–2 5–3–1 5th A-10 Quarterfinal
2009 9–7–3 6–1–2 3rd A-10 Quarterfinal
2010 10–8–0 5–4–0 T–6th
2011 11–7–1 7–2–0 1st A-10 Semifinal
2012 6–7–4 2–4–3 11th
2013 5–11–1 2–5–1 11th
2014 8–9–4 3–3–2 7th A-10 Champions NCAA First Round
2015 7–8–4 4–3–1 T–4th A-10 Semifinal
2016 10–7–4 5–2–1 2nd A-10 Champions NCAA First Round
2017 14–6–3 5–2–1 5th A-10 Semifinals NCAA Quarterfinals
2018 8--5--4 4--3--1 T--6th A- 10 Quartefinal
 

rufeelinit

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Like Parcells always said - you are what your record is. Hobbs certainly didn't hire a guy known for a quick fix.

2003 4–12–1 3–8–0 T–9th
2004 3–12–3 1–7–3 12th
2005 8–5–5 2–4–3 10th
2006 9–3–5 3–3–3 7th
2007 6–10–3 5–4–0 5th A-10 Quarterfinal
2008 9–8–2 5–3–1 5th A-10 Quarterfinal
2009 9–7–3 6–1–2 3rd A-10 Quarterfinal
2010 10–8–0 5–4–0 T–6th
2011 11–7–1 7–2–0 1st A-10 Semifinal
2012 6–7–4 2–4–3 11th
2013 5–11–1 2–5–1 11th
2014 8–9–4 3–3–2 7th A-10 Champions NCAA First Round
2015 7–8–4 4–3–1 T–4th A-10 Semifinal
2016 10–7–4 5–2–1 2nd A-10 Champions NCAA First Round
2017 14–6–3 5–2–1 5th A-10 Semifinals NCAA Quarterfinals
2018 8--5--4 4--3--1 T--6th A- 10 Quartefinal
7 losing seasons sporadically placed throughout his career. I guess there was a bit of a rebuild required from the prior regime given the results the first two years. 2014 they made the NCAA with a losing record overall and a .500 record in the conference. Must have won the conference tournament. I did a quick count and it looks like his overall record is 127-125-47. Last four is 39-26-11. Hmmm.
 

Scarlet_Scourge

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McElderry won 127 games in 16 seasons as head coach for Fordham, including two Atlantic 10 Tournament championships, as well as three recent NCAA Tournament berths.

His best season was in 2017, when Fordham went 14-6-3 and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinal round, as well as finishing the season ranked 11th in the United Coaches Poll. It was the most wins in a season in program history, as well as the farthest any Fordham team in any sport has ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament.

In 2018, Fordham went 8-5-4, was nationally ranked for six weeks and advanced to its fifth consecutive Atlantic 10 Tournament, where it lost to conference champion Rhode Island 2-0, whom they beat in the regular season. McElderry’s squad opened the year defeating Big Ten teams Wisconsin, who finished in second place and defeated Rutgers twice, as well as eighth place Northwestern, who Rutgers also beat this season.