Coach Rob Irvine
By Gerald Lima
Kean University’s men’s soccer team earned a spot in the NJAC postseason with a win on Wednesday afternoon against Ramapo College (4-2), under first-year head coach Rob Irvine.
“We want to do well immediately,” Irvine said. “We are still a work in progress. The goal for this whole calendar year moving forward into the spring is to try to still change people’s habits. We are not where we need to be with that, but I realize you are not going to come in and change habits overnight. I want to get the boys where we are competing competitively and consistently. We haven’t been able to establish that yet.”
Irvine took over the men’s soccer program with the beginning of the 2014 season, succeeding Tony Ochrimenko, who coached the program for 37 years.
“Tony Ochrimenko has been a legend here,” Irvine said. “That is very impressive. The ultimate is winning a national championship and there are not many programs that can say that they have a national championship. We are fortunate to have a one and it’s something I want to push forward the work that Tony has done.”
Irvine earned his first appearance in the NJAC postseason, taking the Cougars to a record of 11-7-1 and giving them home-field advantage.
“Practicing has been a key part in our development as a team,” sophomore Steven Osores said in an earlier interview with The Tower. It pushes us to be even better and fix our mistakes. Coach Rob constantly pushes us to compete and practice hard.”
Irvine, who got his first job at Syracuse University, has been coaching for 13 years.
“Coaching is a lifestyle,” Irvine said. “You are never off the job. The team is an extension of your family. It is something I care about and it’s a passion for me.”
Irvine says his philosophy for the men on the team is to achieve their highest expectations.
“The number one thing is to be difficult to play against,” Irvine said. “That is something you can control. Also, I’m very big on the transition side of the game. Tactics is something I push on the team to work hard for and make sure we play our hardest.”
Irvine’s reason for becoming the Cougars head coach was to push the program forward and to give himself a challenge.
“Learning creates a lot of energy for me,” Irvine said. “I’m always looking to learn from other coaches from formal and informal learning. I think you are always learning and once you’re through learning, you’re through meaning. Even when you finally have it all figured out, you still don’t have it figured out