Head Coach Matt Edwards, highly regarded across the Athletic Department, is leaving Knox men’s soccer for the same job at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Edwards was able to guide the Prairie Fire from a one-win season when he took over in 2012 to a pair of appearances in the Midwest Conference Tournament, including a conference title and a franchise-record 15 wins in 2014.
“I think the best way to describe this experience [at Knox] is that I jumped out of a plane two years ago, but I was more nervous telling them that I was leaving the program,” Edwards said.
Still, Edwards believes the team continues to move forward despite his departure.
“I think the program right now is in a great state,” Edwards said. “And it’s so much more about winning and losing soccer games. Our alumni base is re-energized, engaged and excited about the program. The culture within our team is strong, and new leaders will emerge.”
Edwards met with the team last week to give them advanced notice of his intentions so that they wouldn’t find out online.
“Leaving this group of players is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Edwards said. “I have recruited every single one of those 20 boys, so I know more about them than I care to.”
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Edwards said.
Edwards will take over duties at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Feb 1, where he will join a school that has won 24 conference championships, including one as recently as 2013.
Knox will be conducting a national search to fill Edwards’ position, though perhaps the most obvious solution would be to look at Assistant Coach Clint Moore, Edwards’ right-hand man since the onset of the 2013 season. While Moore’s contract ends in June, he was present while Edwards recruited, was with him on the sidelines and has four years of starting experience from his undergraduate days at Knox.
Edwards’ best memories of the team revolve around the closeness of the team, which he says is one of the most diverse in the nation.
“Moments like when [sophomore] Terence Lau’s parents come from Shanghai and cook for the team in my house are ones I won’t forget,” Edwards said. “They’re a shining light to the rest of the world, just because you have differences of opinion or background doesn’t mean that you can’t do something great.”