Colorado Mesa hires men’s and women’s soccer coaches
Todd Padgett might be a Fort Lewis College graduate, but he made it clear Friday that his allegiance has changed.
The former defender for the Skyhawks’ men’s soccer team donned a maroon dress shirt to be introduced as the new men’s soccer coach at Colorado Mesa University.
“I have embraced the maroon,” he said. “I have spent time at Metro State and Fort Lewis, but let there be no doubt that my loyalties are now very much with Colorado Mesa University. We’ll be going to both Metro State in Denver and to Durango, Colorado, with expectations of beating both teams.”
Padgett also played at Metro State before transferring to Fort Lewis, where he helped the Skyhawks reach the NCAA tournament twice, including an Elite 8 appearance in 2010. That’s the standard he wants to set at Mesa. He inherits a team that placed second in the RMAC in the regular season and won the RMAC tournament in the fall, but missed out on an NCAA berth.
“It’s about championships, it’s about college degrees,” he said. “Not only championships at the RMAC level, I believe Grand Junction and Colorado Mesa, with the support given administratively and athletically, the sky’s the limit and I think a national championship is a very realistic goal to have at this program.”
Padgett has been the women’s coach at Eastern New Mexico the past three seasons, guiding the Zias from last place in the Lone Star Conference to third place in his first season.
“We met Todd in the interview and we were really happy with what he was saying and his energy level,” said forward Stan Schrock, who will be a senior next fall.
“His expectations are higher than ever. We’ve still been playing, training every day of the week and raising our level, even though we didn’t have a coach. We’re so exited to see what we can do with actual structure.”
As it turned out, the women’s program didn’t have to go far to find a new head coach. Jason Clare was promoted from assistant coach, which was exactly what the women wanted, said Sarah Schnitzler, who will be the Mavs’ senior goalie next fall.
“When we met with the candidates, we liked things from them, but we would always go back and compare them to Jason,” she said. “We would have meetings after each candidate, (saying), he’s good, but it’s not what Jason does. A lot of people thought we were pulling for Jason just because he’s been here, but we really, truly feel he’s the man for the job.”
Clare moved from England to America in 2010. Like Padgett, winning championships is high on the agenda.
“As a coach, you play sport because you want to be successful and that’s the name of the game,” he said. “You want to be challenging for RMAC titles on a regular basis and getting into that NCAA tournament.
“It’s going to be a lot of work, we play in a fantastic conference, it’s very tough, but along with that, you get great challenges and great rewards after that.
“Touch wood, that’s my responsibility to recruit the necessary players for the pitch, and we’ve already established success in the classroom. It will be a massive priority to carry that on, both on the pitch and in the classroom.”