March 26, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Michael Casper, the head coach at Saint Francis University (Pa.) for the last eight seasons, has joined the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer staff as an assistant coach.
Casper guided Saint Francis to the Northeast Conference (NEC) regular-season title last season and was named the league’s coach of the year. The Red Flash established a program record for wins by registering a 13-6-1 mark in 2014.
Over the last eight seasons Casper has led Saint Francis to a 71-61-21 record, including a 36-26-9 mark in NEC play. The 71 total victories and the 36 league wins are the most in school history. The Red Flash was the NEC finalist four times with Casper at the helm.
“Getting Michael was a special coup,” Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark said. “It’s not every day you can hire a head coach into an assistant’s position. He did a phenomenal job at Saint Francis. He actually took over at Saint Francis for (current Irish associate head coach) coach (BJ) Craig and built on that. Last year they won the (NEC) regular-season title and he was named the conference coach of the year. He has a lot of experience as a very successful head coach.”
Casper has mentored 24 all-NEC players, 15 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) all-region performers and an NSCAA All-American during his time as head coach at Saint Francis. Eight of his players have gone on to the professional ranks.
In addition to the success on the field, the Red Flash has produced three academic all-Americans and 10 academic all-district players over the last eight years. The program also received the NSCAA Team Academic Award four times (2011-14).
“Notre Dame is one of the premier institutions in the country, and being able to work with Coach Clark with what he does on the field and the way he treats people off the field is outstanding,” Casper said. “I wanted a chance to soak up as much of that as I can and contribute to the team and help it moving forward.
“One of my goals was to have Saint Francis be seen on the national level and for the last two years we’ve been receiving votes in the national top-25. We’ve had NSCAA All-Americans and we’ve had a number of academic all-Americans. I feel like we helped raise the profile of Saint Francis soccer.”
Overall Casper has been with the Red Flash for the last 12 seasons. Prior to taking over the head coaching position, he spent four seasons under Craig as an assistant coach in charge of the team’s goalkeepers.
“Michael is someone we’ve gotten to know very well,” Clark added. “He’s been at our camps for about a dozen years. That’s the great thing about our ID camps, we look for good players, but we also pride ourselves in the staff that we take in. When we get somebody who’s a good coach, we try to keep them coming back and we’ve been able to do that with Michael. This gives us one of the best coaching staffs in the business. We are very experienced because all three coaches are head coaches or have been head coaches. That gives me great sounding boards to bounce ideas off and share ideas.”
A four-year member of the UMBC men’s soccer team, Casper helped lead the Retrievers to a NEC championship in 1999. During Casper’s four-year career at UMBC, the Retrievers posted a composite record of 54-19-11 (30-7-3 NEC).
Following his collegiate career, Casper served as head junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at Timothy Christian High School (N.J.) for two seasons (2001-02). In 2000, Casper served as head coach of the Central Jersey Riptide in the Professional Development League.
He holds an A License from the United States Soccer Federation and an advanced regional diploma from the NSCAA.
Casper received his master’s degree in education leadership from Saint Francis in 2005 and is a 2000 graduate of UMBC with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Casper replaces former Notre Dame assistant coach Greg Dalby, who recently became the top assistant coach on the Davidson College staff.