Dave Brandt enters his fifth year as the Navy men's soccer head coach, resurrecting a program and bringing it to the brink of excellence in the challenging Patriot League.
Brandt currently ranks 10th on the all-time NCAA winning percentage list and is third among active coaches with an .809 winning percentage. He is one four coaches in history to be named recipient of the NSCAA Coach of the Year Award at least four times.
A year ago, Navy finished its third straight season of at least .500 soccer with a 7-7-3 overall record, the first time since 1999-01 that Navy has had three straight losing seasons. The Midshipmen owned wins over No. 20-ranked George Mason, their first win over a nationally-ranked team since 2007 as well as wins over eventual Patriot League Champion Lafayette and then-Big East power Pittsburgh.
He also had two players, Nick Dubee and Derek Vogel, earn all-Patriot League status, the first time that Navy has had two all-league honorees since 2006. Vogel was selected as just the second Patriot League Rookie of the Year in school history and was named a CollegeSoccerNews.com freshman all-American.
Injuries took a toll on the Midshipmen, but Navy still had underclassmen score 30 of its 32 goals on the season and Navy was on the only school in the league to have five players score at least 10 points during the year as Navy led the league in scoring.
During the 2011 season, Brandt led the Midshipmen to the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2001, a span of 10 seasons. He had the Midshipmen playing their best late in the year as the squad posted a 3-0-2 record in the last five games of the season, clinching a spot with a draw against eventual tournament champion Colgate on the final day of the regular season. During the year, Navy defeated an American team that won the Patriot League regular-season crown and traditional powers such as UNC Greensboro and Richmond while tying UMBC and Loyola, Md. The Midshipmen also defeated Army for the third straight season, something the program had not done since winning nine straight against the Black Knights during Navy's hayday from 1955 to 1964.
Navy accomplished all this with just three seniors on the roster, making the Midshipmen one of America's youngest teams.
In addition to developing players once they arrive, his recruiting classes have been among the Patriot League's best and he has been able to attract an influx of talent in nationally-recognized prospects.
During his second season at Navy in 2010, Brandt's team continued the improvement, finishing with Navy's first winning record in five years with a 7-5-4 record and a 2-2-3 Patriot League mark. The Midshipmen reached as high as No. 2 in the NSCAA / Middle Atlantic regional rankings and Navy players garnered Patriot League weekly accolades a remarkable 11 times during the season. During the 2002-09 seasons, Navy players won just 13 combined weekly honors.
In addition, a Navy player was named to an All-American squad for the first time since 2001, when then-freshman Martin Sanchez was selected to the CollegeSoccerNews.com Freshman All-American second team.
Navy showed great balance in 2010, ranking 64th nationally in scoring offense, while finishing 22nd in the country in goals against average, all accomplished with 21 of its 27 players being either freshmen or sophomores.
During his first year at Navy in 2009, the Midshipmen won four more games from the previous season, while earning victories over strong programs such as Mount St. Mary's, Temple, Loyola (Md.), Lehigh and their first win over Army since 2005. In addition, Navy battled defending NCAA Champion Maryland toe-to-toe for 90 minutes, before eventually falling, 1-0.
Brandt's recruiting impact was felt right away, as the 2009 roster was dotted with 13 freshmen, three of which would start the majority of the season. Five of the top seven scorers from 2009 were freshmen, and the 13 plebes accounted for 27 of Navy's 52 points and nine of Navy's 17 goals.
Brandt came to Navy from Messiah College, where he compiled a remarkable 246-25-14 (.888) record in 12 seasons, winning six NCAA Division III National Championships, including the 2008 crown.
"Dave Brandt brings to the Naval Academy his energy, work ethic, a dedication to his student-athletes, strong personal, professional and academic values and a proven track record for winning that is extraordinary," said Navy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. "His accomplishments as a leader and educator of men are benchmarks for soccer coaches at any level. We are extremely proud that Dave and his wonderful family will join us at the Naval Academy for what we know will be a highly successful tenure in Annapolis."
Since taking over the Messiah College soccer team in 1997, no one in the country can match Brandt's accomplishments. He ranks as the winningest coach in NCAA history with a winning percentage of .888 and his squads won NCAA Division III National Championships in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 and were National Runners-Up in 2002 and 2007. His 2005 squad posted a 24-0-0 record; one of just six undefeated and untied seasons in all divisions since 1972. He is the one of two men's soccer coaches in the country at any level to have won six national titles.
Brandt has won four National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Coach of the Year awards (2000, 2002, 2004 and 2008) and was the fastest coach in NCAA men's soccer history to reach the 200-win mark.
"Dave Brandt is clearly among the very top coaches in the country at any level," said Jeff Tipping, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Director of Coaching.
A renowned recruiter, Brandt won at Messiah with a mix of highly regarded superstars and unheralded players that flew under the radar. He was able to land several players that drew major Division I interest, including high school All-American and Ohio's High School Player of the Year, Kai Kaisguran, who he landed away from national power Akron in 2004. Kaisguran was a four-time All-American at Messiah and currently plays for Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire. In addition, he recruited Hayden Woodworth, who selected Messiah over Penn State in 1999, and Patrick Lenehan, who opted to attend Messiah over Notre Dame in 2004. To date, Brandt has had eight players play in the professional ranks.
Under Brandt, Messiah had 18 All-America selections and five National Player of the Year recipients in just 12 years.
However, Brandt's greatest success comes in the way he develops players. Several players who were not highly regarded at any level have gone on to stardom. David McClellan became the National Player of the Year in 2005 and has been the United Soccer League's Player of the Week with the Harrisburg City Islanders six times, after drawing no interest from any Division I school. Chris Boyles became a first-team All-American at Messiah after receiving no interest from any school at any level, and would go on to play professionally for the USL's Charlotte Eagles. A fantastic athlete, Boyles was the 11th-ranked decathlete in the world. Former Messiah player, J.D. Binger, received very little recruiting interest in high school, but ended his careers two years ago as a two-time first-team All-American and had several MLS clubs interested in drafting him.
Messiah stepped up to battle several Division I teams in the last four years and the results were impressive. During the last four years, Messiah defeated Delaware twice and tied Penn and Maryland in preseason exhibitions. Brandt stated a goal when he arrived for Messiah to be the "best place in the country to play college soccer". He developed the program to get players to play for four years, to graduate and become family for life. At Messiah, there was massive alumni involvement and tradition. His influence was found at the ticket gate as well, as the Falcons averaged a Division III-best 1,678 fans per game at home in 2008, a total that would have ranked Messiah 15th in Division I.
Brandt's soccer teachings are based on a compelling vision for teamwork, principled thought and action and an expected outcome of making the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
His playing style emphasizes "possession emphasizing penetration" that requires positional discipline and high technical requirement. His Messiah teams led the nation in attendance regularly, thanks in large part to the fact he plays a style that is fast, athletic, skillful, exciting and fun to watch.
Brandt's knowledge of the game has been met with high regard, as 1,000 coaches at the NSCAA national convention in 2007 attended his presentation on "Technical Precision in Training for Championship Performance in the Match," and he has his NSCAA Advanced National Diploma. In addition, he has had 10 years of club coaching experience and currently coaches the LDC United Boys Under-14 team. During the summer, he ran three weeks of camps on campus for approximately 1,100 campers per summer. Every session has been filled by the beginning of May since 2002.
"Coach Brandt's session at the 2007 national convention was met with rave reviews," said Tipping. "He is a special coach and ought to be at the top level."
Brandt received his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration from Messiah College in 1985. He received his masters of education degree in athletic administration from Temple University in 1990.
Brandt and his wife, Diane, have a daughter, Alexandria (21) and son, Danny (18). The family resides in Annapolis. Alexandria was named the 2012 NSCAA National Player of the Year after leading Messiah to the NCAA title, while Danny will be a freshman soccer player at Messiah in 2013.
BRANDT'S COACHING HONORS
10th-highest winning percentage (.809) all-time in NCAA history (any level). Brandt ranks third on the active list.
Four-time NSCAA Coach of Year (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008)
Reached NCAA Division III Championship weekend in eight of his last nine years at Messiah.
Led Messiah to six NCAA titles and 52 post-season wins, the most in Division III history.
His 2005 team is one of five schools since the NCAA went to three divisions in 1974 to go through an entire season undefeated (24-0-0) and the 24 wins were the most of those five schools. The 24 wins are tied for the second most (with just two other teams) in NCAA history.
Fastest coach ever at any level to 200-win mark.
Coached five NSCAA Players of the Year recipients, 18 NSCAA All-Americans, 44 NSCAA All-Region selections, 12 Conference Players of the Year (every year while at Messiah) and 81 All-Conference performers (almost seven per year).
Led Messiah team to 11 MAC Commonwealth regular-season titles and eight conference tournament titles. Was named the league's coach of the year eight teams.
CAREER RECORD: 275-55-26 (.809)
BRANDT YEAR-BY-YEAR AT NAVY
YEAR RECORD PCT. NOTE
2009 8-11-0 .421 Equaled most wins by first-year coach
2010 7-5-4 .563 First winning record for Navy since 2005
2011 7-7-5 .500 First Patriot League Tournament since 2001
2012 7-7-3 .500 First time with 2 all-PL performers since 2006
TOT. 29-30-12 .493 --
BRANDT YEAR-BY-YEAR AT MESSIAH
YEAR RECORD PCT. NOTE
1997 16-2-3 .833 NCAA Round of 32
1998 17-4-1 .795 NCAA Round of 16
1999 18-3-1 .841 NCAA Quarterfinals
2000 22-2-1 .900 NCAA National Champions
2001 21-2-0 .913 NCAA Semifinals
2002 23-2-1 .904 NCAA National Champions
2003 18-2-3 .848 NCAA Round of 16
2004 23-2-0 .920 NCAA National Champions
2005 24-0-0 1.000 NCAA National Champions
2006 21-1-2 .917 NCAA National Champions
2007 21-3-0 .875 NCAA Semifinals
2008 22-2-2 .885 NCAA National Champions
TOT. 246-25-14 .888 Six-Time National Champion