Drew Pierce is a junior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming off of seven straight winning seasons, Ball State Soccer will face a fresh set of challenges after new management takes over.
An unexpected announcement in May of resignation from former head coach, Craig Roberts, left Ball State Soccer coachless in the prime of the program’s history.
During his tenure, Roberts brought the Cardinals three Mid-American Conference West Division titles in nine seasons as the head coach.
Having to follow the winningest coach in program history will be Josh Rife, who is coming off a year as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at Mississippi State where he helped lead the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Though filling these shoes won’t be easy, Rife has quite the track record to tell us that he will be just fine for the job.
Before Rife joined Mississippi State’s squad, he spent time coaching at Liberty, Missouri Baptist and Palm Beach Atlantic.
Other than coaching, Rife’s resume includes nine years of professional soccer experience on the Charlotte Eagles. Going back even further, Rife spent two years playing soccer for Texas Christian and then transferred to Indiana to finish off his collegiate career.
Although the Ball State Soccer community will miss Roberts and his impact on the program, Rife fits the bill for what the team needs in order to keep success at the forefront. An impressive portfolio of soccer knowledge and experience will add to what this program has built over the past nine years.
This program will be gaining an advisor that will be dedicated to his players, on and off the field.
"I couldn't be more excited to join the Cardinal family and build upon the great success and tradition that the women's soccer team has established on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” Rife said. “There are too many people to thank for their development of me as a coach and person to get me to this point, but I'm grateful for each opportunity I have had that has prepared me for this next step in my career."
Although it may seem that Rife will make a great fit and do amazing things at Ball State, the path to success is no walk in the park. Having to follow in the footsteps of a soccer coach who is literally the most successful that Ball State has ever seen won’t be easy.
On top of everything, a recent MAC poll among all coaches in the conference has predicted Ball State will place second for the season. This adds a bit of pressure to the greenhorn head coach for the Cardinals.
Although polls are not the end-all-be-all, the Cardinals have been in contention for a few years now, so the team will look to Rife to continue to build off the success of recent years.
Based on his track record, it is very possible Rife will use this pressure to fuel a team that is in it until the end. No matter how the season goes, Rife will have some very big shoes to fill at Briner Sports Complex.
Contact Drew Pierce with any comments at email@example.com or on Twitter at @dpierce3cc.