Dec 17, 2014
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – It's ironic that retiring Eph head coach Mike Russo has never really been crazy about goalies, but you know that Russo is delighted today knowing that the goalie on his 1995 NCAA Championship team, Erin Sullivan '96, will succeed him as head coach of the Ephs.
"Erin is a wonderful person number one, with much integrity, and he understands what Williams is all about," said Mike Russo. "I couldn't be happier to have Erin following me. He is widely respected throughout New England and he will do a great job."
Sullivan, a native of nearby Voorheesville, N.Y., comes to Williams after a successful career as the head coach at Western New England University (WNE) in Springfield. At WNE Sullivan and also served as an Assistant Athletic Director and as the Golden Bears' Compliance Coordinator.
"I couldn't be more pleased to have Erin Sullivan returning to Cole Field," said Williams Athletic Director Lisa Melendy. "I have watched him mature from a young player, to the leader of a national championship team, to a successful head coach, and administrator at WNE. He is fully prepared to lead the Williams College men's soccer team and will be a tremendous addition to the department and college as a whole."
"I am well aware of the exceptionally high standard of excellence that has been carved into the college soccer landscape by the many elite Williams players and coaches that have preceded me, most especially by my coach and mentor Mike Russo," stated Sullivan I humbly accept the challenge of guiding the Ephs' nationally competitive soccer program and look forward to galvanizing the entire Williams men's soccer family and representing the College with the utmost character and professionalism."
"I would like to thank Lisa Melendy, Bud Fisher, and the entire search committee for this opportunity and for their tremendous guidance and support throughout the process," added Sullivan. "The players, coaches, faculty, and staff that I met with have been extraordinary and only strengthened my belief in and vision for the future of this storied soccer program."
In his 15 years as the head coach of the Golden Bears Sullivan posted a record of 207-96-37 (.663), ranking first all-time at WNE in wins and winning percentage.
Three times Sullivan was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference Coach of the Year (2007, 2009, and 2011) and he was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times (2001, 2004, 2005, and 2006). In 2005 Sullivan was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America New England Region Coach of the Year and a Finalist for National Coach of the Year.
Sullivan was the first WNE coach to take the Golden Bears to the NCAA Divisions III Tournament and he did so eight times in his tenure, including a string of six straight appearances from 2004-09, posting an NCAA Tournament record of 8-6-2.
Prior to becoming the head coach at Western New England Sullivan served as an assistant coach at two NCAA Division I institutions: St. John's (March 1999 – July 2000), and as the goalkeeper coach for both the men's and women's soccer teams at Cornell University (September 1998 – March 1999).
Sullivan's head coaching career began at Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J. (August 1996 to June 1998), where he won the Northern Hills Conference, Morris County Tournament, and the New Jersey Parochial Class A Championship in 1997, compiling a record of 23-0-1.
Sullivan graduated from Williams in 1996 with a B.A. in English and history and after backstopping two Eph teams that played in the NCAA Championship match, both times on the Ephs' Cole Field.
In Sullivan's four undergraduate years in the Purple Valley the Ephs were 58-6-5 (.871) and 48-2-3 (.934) his last three years with two appearances in NCAA title games. Playing 3,821 minutes in goal in 46 appearances Sullivan fashioned a goals against record of .495 and authored 21 clean sheets.
Starting in goal for the Ephs as a sophomore Sullivan relinquished just 11 goals in 18 contests as the Ephs delivered their first undefeated regular season (12-0-1) in 30 years and made their first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance.
The Ephs made the most of that first trip to the NCAAs, advancing to and hosting the NCAA Championship match, but falling to UC San Diego 1-0. The Ephs went 16-1-1 that season.
The Ephs hosted the 1995 NCAA semifinals and finals and this time Williams captured the title after eliminating Muhleberg in a penalty kick shootout with Sullivan stopping a Muhlenberg attempt with snowflakes falling. The 6-5 penalty kick margin put the Ephs into the NCAA championship match versus undefeated Methodist College.
The Ephs stopped the Methodist undefeated run at 21 wins with a 2-1 win to claim the NCAA title and finish the season without suffering a loss – 17-0-2.
A two-sport captain (soccer/basketball) at Clayton Bouton HS in Voorheesville, Sullivan also served as a team captain of the Eph NCAA championship squad.
Sullivan was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-New England First Team in 1995 and a Senior Bowl selection. In 1992 Sullivan won the Ephs' coveted Henry M. Flynt Freshman of the Year Award and in 1995 was named the winner of the Miles Fox Memorial soccer Trophy recognizing character, integrity, and leadership.
In 2006 Sullivan earned a Master's of Business Administration from WNE.
"I am truly honored to be granted the opportunity to lead the Williams College men's soccer program and incredibly excited to begin working toward a new era of excellence within this distinguished institution," stated Sullivan. "I consider it a unique privilege to be joining such a diverse, energetic, and talented Ephs' coaching staff and my family and I are very excited to become part of the wonderfully vibrant community at Williams."