Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Rider University's Men's Soccer Coach, Russ Fager, has made his decision to retire. "It has truly been an honor to have been a member of the University community and to have worked with so many talented colleagues over the past 40 years," Fager said. "It has been a privilege to be a Division I soccer coach for my entire career. Stressing academics has been a cornerstone of my coaching philosophy and I am proud to have witnessed virtually all of the student-athletes under my charge earn college degrees and excel in successful careers. I am also proud of the many student-athletes who have continued their involvement with soccer after graduation by continuing to play or moving into coaching positions."
During his tenure, his teams often maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or better. This past fall 10 athletes were honored on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All Academic Team and the team received an Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for possessing a team grade point average above 3.0.
In 1975, his first season as the head coach, Fager led the Broncs to a 10-6-1 record. His 1977, '78, and '79 teams received post-season bids to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships. In 1987, he was named East Coast Conference Coach of the Year. The Broncs won the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship in 1992 with a record 14 wins. In 1997, after winning the MAAC Conference Championship and posting 15 wins, Rider played in the national tournament and achieved a national ranking of 15th in the final NSCAA/Unbro Division I rankings. After winning the conference championship the following year, Rider again played in the NCAA tournament. As head coach, 20 of Fager's 36 teams qualified to play in the conference tournament. Only 12 Rider soccer teams have won 10 games or more in a season, and Fager has coached 10 of those teams.
Fager, a United States Soccer Federation "A" licensed coach and a member of the New Jersey Youth Soccer Coaching Staff, ran coaching courses throughout the state of New Jersey and ran the first ever Coach Licensing Course in Ghana. He was closely involved with bringing the Olympic Development Region I Tournament and I.D. Camps to Rider. He was the New Jersey Boy's Olympic Development Coaching Director for three years and a New Jersey Olympic Development coach for 14 years. Over the years he coached many club teams throughout the state. He began the Rider Cup Soccer Tournament in 1997 and ran a resident summer soccer camp for 27 years. He previously served as the Rider Intramural Director, Assistant Trainer and as a faculty member in the School of Education.
"I would like to thank Coach Fager for his four decades of dedicated service to the Rider University Men's Soccer program", said Don Harnum, Rider's Director of Athletics. "During my time with Russ he has represented the department well and always placed a high priority on the overall welfare of the student-athletes under his supervision. I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future. We will begin a national search for a head men's soccer coach immediately."