Soccer coach Ian Barker resigns after 13 years

By Caitlin Opperman

After 13 years of coaching the Scots, today is men’s soccer coach Ian Barker’s last day at Macalester. Barker announced last week that he will be leaving Macalester to become Director of Coaching Education at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Barker coached the Scots for 13 years, nine of them as the head coach. “The opportunity to work with the NSCAA is once in a lifetime,” Barker said. “The NSCAA is the largest coaching association in the world. Being in a position to meaningfully impact coaching education on a regional and national basis is a real privilege and something to put full energy into.” During his nine years as head coach, Barker and his teams earned numerous awards, including six conference championships, one MIAC playoff title and six NCAA Division III playoff appearances. Barker was named MIAC Coach of the Year in 2009. Most importantly, Barker has gained the respect of players, colleagues and the Macalester community at large. “Barker has been a great coach, and an even better person,” soccer player Reid Usedom ’12 said. “His game-planning and trainings were always on-point and he knows an incredible amount about the game, but he is definitely a player’s coach.” Teammate Andrew Lund ’12 agreed. “His expectations are high but always realistic. It’s safe to say that he’s the greatest soccer coach that I’ve ever had,” said Lund. Barker’s career highlights include coaching positions for numerous organizations, including the University of Wisconsin and youth national teams worldwide; however, his contributions to the Macalester soccer program stand out in particular. Since Barker became head coach in 2003, the men’s soccer program has posted an overall record of 97-59-15. “Ian’s resignation marks a sad day for our department and for our soccer program,” said Macalester Director of Athletics Kim Chandler. “Ian has been an outstanding leader and soccer coach and he has been invaluable with his service to our department and to the college. “While I am disappointed that he is leaving Mac, I am immensely happy for the opportunity that he has earned to work with the NSCAA and to direct its educational programs. This opportunity certainly exemplifies Ian’s talent, his soccer knowledge and his ability to provide outstanding leadership to the organization. I wish him the absolute best.” Having experienced such profound and consistent success during his time at Macalester, Barker’s accomplishments won’t soon be forgotten. “I think his legacy will include championships and several successful players, but ultimately come down to the fact that he could get the most out of his players not by being domineering or intimidating, but by truly standing by them and offering them what they needed to succeed,” said Usedom. Barker’s coaching efforts have also left a legacy of recruiting success. “Ian really amplified recruiting efforts in addition to continuing a great tradition,” Chandler said. Lund’s experience as a recruit is evidence. “Barker played a tremendous part in my choosing to come to Macalester,” he said. “I visited a lot of different schools and met a lot of different soccer coaches, but something about Coach Barker made me realize that Macalester had the soccer program for me. I owe him a great deal, because I couldn’t be happier to be here at Mac.” The Macalester Athletics Department has already begun a nationwide search for a new men’s soccer coach. “The biggest goal is to hire someone before spring practices start,” Chandler said. “We will have to work with the candidate’s current employer to make that happen.” Former soccer coach and current recruiting director John Leaney believes the department will have little difficulty finding a new coach. “I think we will attract a lot of good candidates, not only because of the storied history of our soccer program, but also because of Macalester’s great location and facilities,” Leaney said. “It’s a great place to be.” The coaching search, performed by a seven-member committee, will include high school coaches, Division I coaches, Division III coaches, and professional coaches. The committee will emphasize that candidates should express a good understanding of the values of Macalester. “Mac soccer has a culture and a competitive climate that is positive and powerful. What (former coach) John Leaney built with Macalester soccer and I have had the honor to guide and advance is poised to move onward and upward,” Barker said. “New energetic guidance will be fantastic for the program and all the players and coaches, past and present. Fans too, should look forward to great things in 2012 and beyond.” Though he would have been “delighted and fully-energized” to coach again in 2012, Barker predicts that the success of the men’s soccer program will continue even once he has left. “Macalester soccer is a very special and very proud program,” Barker continued. “The program can grow and win more MIAC trophies and project to continue to make NCAA championship appearances and advance through rounds of competition.” Barker looks forward to maintaining his relationship with the Macalester soccer program even as he moves on. “In the role with the NSCAA I can remain a fan and supporter of Mac soccer and Mac athletics and whenever possible help the soccer program get stronger,” he said. Coach Barker’s new position, which will take him to Kansas City, Kansas, begins Feb. 7. refresh –>