This week, we have a special guest writer: former women’s soccer coach and W&M athletics legend John Daly.
In his 31 seasons as coach, Daly led W&M to 22 NCAA tournament appearances — in 18 of his last 25 years.
Daly coached in 646 matches, compiling a 413-176-57 (.683) record, including 156-45-18 (.753) in the Colonial Athletic Association.
He guided the team to a 30 consecutive winning seasons from 1987 though 2016.
Some will remember his retirement in late 2017 — but there might just be more to this story than meets the eye. Take it away, Coach!
On Samantha Huge by John Daly
I had the pleasure of working for two outstanding athletics directors – the late, great Millie West (who hired me) and Terry Driscoll.
Both were interested in the welfare of their coaches and administrators. For me, both were William and Mary people.
I was an assistant men’s coach to Al Albert from 1979 to 1985, assistant women’s coach to John Charles in 1986 (after several years working with the women when my duties with the men permitted).
I became women’s soccer head coach in 1987. Our program was, and still is, one of the most respected and successful programs in the nation, achieving national recognition.
The program participated in the NCAA tournament 22 times during my tenure. We produced All Americans, Academic All Americans, college coaches and the coach who led the US National team to TWO World Championships.
Huge was hired in the spring of 2017. A friend of mine who coached at one of the universities Huge had worked called me and advised me to
“watch my back.”
The 2017 season was very disappointing. We sustained injuries to key players and for the first time in program history had a losing season.
We defeated James Madison in the CAA Tournament and traveled to Hofstra for the CAA championship where we lost 1-0 to Hofstra in the semi final. That ended our season.
The following midweek I received an email from Huge asking me to attend a “Soccer Meeting” the next morning. I informed her that I had a doctor’s appointment.
SHE TOLD ME TO CANCEL MY DOCTOR APPOINTMENT.
That underlined what a heartless, uncaring person she was. She did not inquire as to the seriousness of my doctor appointment; JUST THAT I SHOULD CANCEL IT!
I figured I could attend the doctor appointment and then go to the soccer meeting a little later.
At the meeting she asked me how I thought the season had gone. I told her I was disappointed and mentioned the unfortunate injuries we had.
I told her I was happy with our recruiting class and felt that the following season would be better.
She interrupted me to say “I have made a decision. You have to retire.”
After 38 years of devoted time and effort to William and Mary Women’s Soccer, I had no say in how I was to bow out.
I asked what would happen if I did not want to retire. She callously replied “I have dealt with these situations many times.”
Her treatment of me underlined her lack of empathy, her lack of care and consideration for her coaches and administrators.
Many others were to follow me out of the door with the same cold hearted demeanor.
It seemed to me that she was hell bent on making a name for herself as she used William and Mary as a stepping stone.
I want to emphasize that she made no mention at all of the success I had on the field.
Nor did she mention the academic successes of the Women’s Soccer program.
Every year we had numerous Provost Award winners, CAA Scholar Athletes, Academic All Americans, United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award, two Phi Beta Kappas!
She was not interested in what we had achieved academically in the slightest!
In my opinion, she created a toxic atmosphere in the athletic department.
The future without her is going to be far better than the last three years were with her.
I have always had sympathy for anyone losing their job. I have no sympathy for her.
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