The men's soccer team suffered yet another loss when Steve Adlard stepped down as the Golden Eagles' head coach Tuesday after leading the program for the past 14 seasons.
Under Adlard's guidance, Marquette qualified for its first and only NCAA Tournament in 1997,and that same year the team won a share of the Conference USA regular season championship. The Golden Eagles also won a share of the league title in 2002; however, the program has gone just 20-31-3 since then.
Last year the Golden Eagles went 6-11-1 and won only two conference games. Things did not improve this season: Marquette posted an overall record of 5-11-1 and went 1-8-1 in conference play in the program's first year in the Big East.
"I do feel like the team realistically leveled off," said Adlard, who compiled a record of 140-120-21 during his time at Marquette. "That's not bad, but it is time for someone to take over and build this team to the next level."
Adlard attributed the team's recent struggles to two factors: rebuilding and improved competition.
Conference USA boasted traditional powerhouses St. Louis and Alabama-Birmingham; however, it was no Big East.
Last season at this time only one C-USA team, Memphis, was ranked in the top 25. Currently the Big East boasts three squads in the top 25 — Connecticut, St. John's and Seton Hall.
The Golden Eagles' relatively young starting 11 did not help matters when the team transitioned to its new conference. Last year the program graduated only two starters and only one of this season's starters will graduate in the spring.
All this made for a challenging final season.
"Injuries affected our ability to score and put immense pressure on the defense," Adlard said. "We felt the defense was capable of holding its own even if we take risks, and it proved it could. We generated more offense, but it was not good enough, and we started to make critical errors."
Adlard said he does not have definite plans for his future but said, "My future is committed to the game of soccer, and I am going to explore all my options within the game."