NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College Director of Athletics and Recreation, John Sutyak '00, has announced the hiring of Mike Coven as the interim head men's soccer coach for the 2017 season. Coven, who spent 44 seasons as the head coach at Brandeis University, takes over for the Lyons following the sudden passing of Wheaton head coach Matt Cushing on Aug. 28.
Coven, who guided Brandeis to the Final Four of the NCAA Division III Tournament in 2016 and led the Judges to the NCAA national championship in 1976, retired from coaching on Dec. 31, 2016.
"This has been an extremely difficult time for our men's soccer program and the Wheaton community," stated Sutyak. "With that, I can think of no better way to honor Matt by having one of his best friends guide our team this season. I can't thank Mike enough for having the courage to step up and lead the program this season, during one of the most challenging situations one can imagine. Wheaton and Brandeis have shared a rivalry since our first varsity season in 1989 and Mike has been a part of every one of those games. If anyone knows our program as well as Matt Cushing, it is going to be coach Coven."
"Aside from being one of my best friends, Matt Cushing, was a wonderful coach and led one of the premier programs at the Division III level," said Coven. "It is a pleasure and an honor to lead the program during this difficult time and hopefully, I can fill Matt's shoes."
Coven ranks sixth all-time in Division III men's soccer coaching wins and is 10th among all NCAA soccer coaches regardless of division. Only five NCAA men's soccer coaches have had longer tenures than Coven, and only two of those also served their entire careers at one school.
Coven led Brandeis to the postseason in 25 of his 44 seasons reaching 14 NCAA Division III tournaments and 11 ECAC Division III New England tournaments. In 1976, he won Brandeis's first-ever national championship in any sport. He also coached the 1984 runners-up, 1981 third-place squad and this year's team that returned to the Final Four for the first time in 32 years. His squad also captured ECAC crowns in 1994, 2006, 2010 and 2011.
Coven was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) New England Division III Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2015 when he led the Judges to the first two UAA titles in school history. He also earned UAA Coach of the Year in 2002. In his career, Coven coached 10 different student-athletes to All-America honors, winning 18 awards. He also coached two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, four NSCAA Scholar All-Americans, while his teams earned six NSCAA Team Academic awards.
A Brookline, Mass., native, Coven is a 1969 graduate of American International College. He came to Brandeis in 1972 after a stint as head coach at Newton South High School.
Wheaton will commence a national search for its men's soccer coach at the conclusion of the 2017 season.