Maryland women’s soccer head coach Ray Leone achieved a great milestone with his 300th career win against Princeton Sunday. As a seasoned veteran of the sport, Leone has coached from coast to coast with six different teams.
“It took too damn long,” Leone said. “That’s all I have to say.”
In his fourth season at the helm in College Park, the Terps’ leader has solidified himself as one of the greats in the game.
Leone started his coaching career as the head coach of Berry College in 1986, where he led the program to 49 victories over a span of three seasons. He also became the first head coach in NCAA history to take his team to the national championship in his first year.
He arrived at Maryland in 2016 looking to rebuild the program, possessing more experience under his belt than most coaches in the nation. His previous jobs with Creighton, Clemson, Arizona State and Harvard all ended with records well above the .500 mark.
“Seeing a great guy at the head of our [team], I believe in this guy,” senior defender/midfielder Julia New said. “I believe in him rebuilding on the program, and I think we can definitely do that this year.”
After a disappointing 2018 season, Leone pushed the opportunity for victory No. 300 until this year. The Terps have already matched their win total from last season (four) in only eight matches. With conference play still yet to begin, Leone is hoping that this is the year that he can turn the team around for the future.
What has made Leone’s legacy so impactful in his 33 years of coaching is more due to his actions off the field than on. The relationships he has formed with his colleagues and players stretch the boundaries of what sports are all really about.
“We’ve been on this journey together since day one,” senior defender/midfielder Jlon Flippens said. “[Leone’s] such a selfless guy. One thing I do appreciate about him off the field is that we’re not just soccer players. When it comes to him, you can talk to him about anything.”
The Maryland native has had success on the pitch as well. As a head coach, Leone took home six conference titles and two conference Coach of the Year awards, one at Clemson and the other at Harvard.
Leone has taken three different schools to the NCAA Tournament, a feat that the Maryland women’s soccer team hasn’t accomplished since 2012. The coach is looking one game at a time this season, taking things slow with this group.
Big Ten play is right around the corner, and Leone will lead his team into battle for a tough remainder of the year.
“Ray has always been a positive, guiding factor for all of us here,” New said. “He’s believed in all of us the entire way so that’s something that helps us believe in him. If someone takes a chance on you, you want to take a chance on them.”
Editors note: Testudo Times apologizes for not having this article out sooner. We had the article scheduled to be published early this morning, but the site was having technical difficulties that wouldn’t allow the article to be published. We were working all day with SB Nation’s staff to fix the issues.