Traditionally, a coach's ideal career mark looks something like this: High school assistant, to high school head coach to college assistant to -- if he or she is lucky -- college head coach or professional assistant. Somewhere along the line, Haverford (Penn.) School boys soccer coach Bill Brady found a way to invert that path; his new job completes a run where he has gone from leading prominent college programs to now coaching at a small, private high school.
According to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Lou Rabito, Brady coached the NCAA Division I soccer program at St. Bonaventure between 1999 and 2005, when he left to take over the program at Division III Greensboro College. After four seasons at Greensboro, Brady returned to the Northeast with Haverford College, the elite liberal arts college just outside of Philadelphia. You can read more about Brady's distinguished coaching background in Rabito's column here.
Brady spent two seasons leading Haverford, and planned to continue there. In 2010, he had been named the Centennial Conference's mens soccer coach of the year. Then, just months later, Brady went in to a meeting with Haverford School athletic director John Nostrant as a reference for two of the candidates who had applied to take over the Haverford School coaching vacancy.
After talking about the position, Brady eventually decided it would be a good fit for himself, not the former colleagues who had listed him as a reference. He was offered the position on the spot, and after talking out all its permutations, decided to accept it.
"The long and short of it is, don't list me as a reference," Brady told the Inquirer.
The deal to land Brady came about in large part because of academic incentives. Brady has a son who is entering the first grade, and he and his wife were interested in placing him in a Philadelphia prep school. Haverford offered to make Brady a Director of Leadership Programs at the school, a position that would allow his son to attend Haverford for a fraction of its traditionally exorbitant price.
Evidently, when combined with the salary Brady was offered to be the school's head soccer coach, it was a good enough deal that he didn't have to think too long about it.
"I think everybody, when they start getting into coaching collegiately, all they think about is Division I. Ah, I just want the best players, the highest level I could be at. And there is a lot to that - don't get me wrong," Brady said.
"But as you get older, your decisions are shaped just so differently. . . . When you get married and you have a child, there are so many other factors that come in, other than what you want selfishly."
The rest, as the say, is history. Just as he did at his prior three stops, Brady has led Haverford to success on the pitch, though his inaugural season at the helm is still in its early stages. Through seven games, Haverford is 7-0 and had outscored its opponents by a whopping score of 38-0. They even beat Baltimore (Md.) Gilman School -- one of the nation's most respected and highly ranked programs -- 3-0 on Saturday.
Whether that success continues remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: The pool of coaching candidates listing Brady as a reference is probably a lot smaller now than it was last spring.