CMU soccer coaches resign
Mavs' players surprised when told Pittman, Sharpe leaving
Colorado Mesa University soccer coaches Josh Pittman and Erin Sharpe tendered their resignations Tuesday, citing a desire to pursue other opportunities, CMU Athletic Director Tom Spicer said.
“The reality of it is you never know when it’s time,” Spicer said. “Josh is down in Florida looking for other opportunities. Erin’s got opportunities to move on. It is good for them, and it is good for us.
“This is not something that’s been decided over a short period of time. I think it’s more mutual than it’s not. The perception may be different.”
Pittman didn’t return phone messages Tuesday. Sharpe said she’s ready for something new.
“It was a mutual decision,” Sharpe told The Daily Sentinel. “They’ve got the direction they want to go, and I’ve got the direction I want to go. I’m excited for the next chapter in my life.
“I do have some opportunities, but I’m not prepared to make an announcement yet.”
Sharpe said the fact both coaches resigned on the same day had nothing to do with each other.
“They really are independent of each other,” she said. “It’s just the appropriate time.”
Both resignations came as a surprise to the student-athletes. Pittman was the only head coach in the seven-year history of the men’s program. Sharpe was the women’s coach for six seasons.
“It’s kind of a shock,” men’s soccer forward Alan Hernandez said. “We had a 7:30 meeting this morning. He told us he resigned. I don’t know why he left. The only thing he said was to pursue other opportunities.”
Goalkeeper Sarah Schnetzler said the women’s team was just as stunned.
“Obviously, we were very shocked,” Schnetzler said. “I don’t think anybody expected it, to be honest. Erin was a big part of our team. She was a great leader and coach.
“We really didn’t get a specific response. She just said it was her time to move on to other places. We don’t really know why exactly or where she’s going.”
The men’s team is coming off its best season in the program’s seven years. The Mavericks won a single-season school record 11 games and won their first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament title.
“It’s really tough,” men’s goalkeeper Brandyn Bumpas said. “We only lose four players. We still have a solid core returning next year. We have no idea who our next coach will be. I don’t know. We ended a great season, but things have gone the opposite the way it’s supposed to go. That’s the nature of the business.”
The women lost four of their final five games and finished 7-11, but they qualified for the RMAC tournament four times in Sharpe’s six seasons.
“I think finding the new coach will be an adjustment,” Schnetzler said. “The practices will be different. They may change the way we play. The atmosphere will be different.
“The change could be good. Only time will tell.”
Spicer said Pittman and Sharpe built solid foundations for each program.
“I think both programs are in a good place, but there is definitely room for improvement,” Spicer said. “I don’t believe there are any programs within our athletics department that are not within a good place at this point and time.
“But at the same time in athletics, whether you win a championship or not, there is always room for improvement. We need to be consistent in how we approach our programming. We need to make sure we have a good solid base in place, which we do.”
Spicer said he had been talking to both coaches since their seasons ended and was aware they might resign.
“The bottom line is over a period of time we’ve had discussions,” Spicer said. “(Pittman is) going to take advantage of his opportunity, and we’re going to take advantage of our opportunity to move forward as positive as we can.
“It’s pretty much the same with Erin. She got the program going, and we want to take advantage of that.”
Pittman and Sharpe also direct the Colorado West Select Soccer Club and will remain with it for the next three to four months before leaving that program, Sharpe said.
“I’m probably not going to move on until April,” Sharpe said. “I’ll continue to be a part of CWS until then. I have a couple opportunities on the table. I’m still going to run CWS.
“We’ve got other people in place. I’m not concerned about the long-term stability of CWS. We’ve got other people involved to ensure its security. I believe (Pittman) has the same plan as me.”
Spicer said Pittman and Sharpe’s involvement with the Colorado West Select wasn’t a conflict.
“I think they can both fit together,” Spicer said. “You have to understand the culture of soccer, then work within that structure.”
Pittman and Sharpe told Spicer they will help with the transition period, including recruiting while Mesa begins a search for their replacements.
Assistant coaches Jonny Broadhead (men) and Jason Clare (women) will serve as interim coaches.