Peter McGahey said he is ready to pack up boxes and make new friends as he prepares to call Mount Pleasant his new home.
McGahey was introduced as the new head coach for the women’s soccer team at a news conference Thursday afternoon at McGuirk Arena.
“We’re going to strive to be the premiere women’s soccer program in the country,” McGahey said. “And we’re going to do it by focusing on three things: the holistic development of our student-athletes, academic achievement and absolutely athletic excellence.”
McGahey comes to CMU after five seasons as the head coach of Minnesota State, where he earned 2012 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Coach of the Year and led his team to four appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. He leaves the Mavericks with a 74-21-13 record.
Last season, Minnesota State finished with a program-best 17-1-5 record, going 14-0-1 to capture its first NSIC regular-season championship and became the first team to finish unbeaten in NSIC play since 2008.
McGahey was awarded a four-year contract with a salary of $70,000 per year. There is also the opportunity for incentives.
Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said a national search was conducted with numerous interested applicants before the decision was made to hire McGahey.
“Peter McGahey is a true champion and a proven winner,” Heeke said. “He is a great teacher of the game and its lessons. He’s an outstanding recruiter; he’s connected to the elite level of soccer on the youth level, and collegiate level which is critical, and he’s committed to the full development of our student-athletes, his student-athletes.”
Heeke said the soccer program demonstrates the excellence all CMU programs strive for, having captured two Mid-American Conference titles, been to the NCAA Tournament three times and received 13 consecutive national academic awards.
“I think what Dave has said in terms of the statistics, those things speak for itself,” McGahey said. “The tradition is rich, and I appreciate the opportunity to be the person who is the caretaker of that tradition and of Chippewa soccer.”
Continuing to build on those accomplishments in all aspects is a priority for McGahey, and his past success at Minnesota State will pave the way.
McGahey’s defenses have ranked in the top-25 nationally in goals-against average in four-of-five seasons with the Mavericks.
During his time with the team, Minnesota State’s offense never ranked lower than third in the NSIC in goals scored.
He also promoted academic acheivement with 59 of his student-athletes earning Academic All-NSIC throughout his five seasons and will continue to push academics at CMU.
“Our student-athletes, 99 percent of them are going to be professional in something other than soccer, and it’s so much more than the soccer,” McGahey said. “Academics is really that gateway to their future success, so we want to make sure that academic acheivement, that discovery, that learning and embracing all the learning opportunities that Central Michigan has is open to our student-athletes with the highest standard and expectation of success.”
McGahey said he plans to play an aggressive, attacking style both offensively and defensively.
He said he foresees the program continuing to play a difficult non-conference schedule, similar to the one played last season facing top soccer programs like Penn State and Texas A & M.
“I think we’re going to continue to press the bar, press the standard and go on to test ourselves as often as we can,” McGahey said.
While McGahey might be leaving one team behind to join the Chippewas, he said he’s bringing another one with him — his family.
Wife Dawn and children, Will and Ella, are also excited to join the Chippewas Athletics family and Chippewas soccer family, he said.
“They’re really looking forward to getting everything ready and rolling,” McGahey said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity ahead of us.”