Fire up those "Roll Pride" Twitter hash tags. Graham Radcliffe has joined the Hofstra University Athletics family.
According to a Levittown Patch report, Radcliffe has accepted a position as assistant coach for the men's soccer team at Hofstra and resigned from his coaching post of the Island Trees Bulldogs boys' varsity soccer squad, an assignment he's held since the early-90s.
Radcliffe Leaves A Lasting Legacy
Radcliffe, a soccer coaching legend in Levittown, led Island Trees to the brink of a Nassau County championship this year, as the Bulldogs made it all the way to the Nassau Class A championship game, where they would ultimately fall to Jericho, 1-0, in a hard-fought tilt.
The awards and accolades he racked up over his time at Island Trees are staggering. Radcliffe led the Bulldogs to league championships five times, won league coach of the year five times, and guided the team to a Nassau County title in 1997.
Not too shabby for a "small school" that loses many of its top athletes to the neighboring Levittown School District, which features soccer powerhouses like Division Ave. and MacArthur.
"Graham has been a tremendously successful high school coach and we're excited to bring someone of his experience into our program," Hofstra head coach Richard Nuttall said in a gohofstra.com report. "We're thrilled to add a proven winner who knows Long Island, and his connection to Hofstra as a former student-athlete makes him a great addition to our staff."
Radcliffe was a former Hofstra soccer standout, as he provided a lockdown effort on defense while adding two assists in the 1987 season. He will remain in his current role as guidance counselor at Island Trees High School, but the school is currently searching for a suitable replacement for him.
Where Does This Leave Island Trees Athletics?
Radcliffe's resignation caps off a rocky 12 months in the Island Trees soccer community.
In Sept. of 2011, a fundraiser was held for Island Trees' junior varsity soccer coach Dan Haggerty, who has been on medical leave while battling acute meyloid leukemia. While the Island Trees community rallied around Haggerty, another shocking blow to the school's soccer program occurred just three months later.
In Dec. of 2011, the Island Trees girls' varsity soccer coach was relieved of his duties after an alleged scandal that involved inappropriate comments made on a social media networking site.
That scandal left Island Trees girls' varsity squad without a coach heading into the 2012-13 school year, with Superintendent Charles Murphy encouraging candidates to apply by using the OLAS system.
Radcliffe's sudden resignation now also leaves the boys varsity team without a head coach, just a few weeks before training camp is set to begin and with the first scheduled game slated for Sept. 8.
Will Island Trees Bounce Back By The Start Of The School Year?
Combine the coaching firings and resignations with the fact that many of Island Trees' top soccer prospects graduated in June of 2012, including Ohio State-bound defender Bridget Vilbig and Allie Merrill, an elite striker, and it's pretty clear that the school has a lot of work to do to repair the soccer program.
Island Trees is a tight-knit community, and the school is one that values its athletics, so I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it bounce back stronger than ever.
Superintendent Murphy handled Radcliffe's resignation with class, stating in the Patch report "Although we are happy for Coach Radcliffe, he will be truly missed at Island Trees. He is not only an exemplary coach, but an outstanding role model for our students."
Eric Holden, a graduate of Hofstra University, has been covering Long Island high school sports since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
- Sports & Recreation
- Island Trees