University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) men’s soccer head coach Marc Hubbard has put together some of the most successful consecutive seasons in the program’s history and is giving the program as much national attention as they’ve ever received. He has brought the team to their first three America East Tournament Championships (2018-2020) and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2017-2020).
Coach Hubbard has always had a passion for soccer, but coaching wasn’t on his radar originally.
“It wasn’t something I went to school for, soccer has always been a lifelong passion, it led me to play in college and work hard to play professionally too,” Hubbard explained.
In the offseason Hubbard would come back to Durham and began working with the UNH team as an assistant and grew there in a more low-profile role. He had the opportunity to complete his master’s to work in Durham as well. This eventually led Hubbard to want to stay in college athletics and, “see where it went.”
Throughout his coaching career Hubbard has accumulated many accomplishments ranging from a Division II National Championship with Southern New Hampshire University to awards like ECAC Coach of the Year, Northeast Region Staff of the Year, America East Staff of the Year, Eastern Region Staff of the Year, NSCAA Division II Coach of the Year and Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year.
In the spring 2021 season, Hubbard led the Wildcats to their highest national ranking ever breaking into the top-10 prior to the NCAA Tournament. The program has continued to climb the ladder this fall once again earning their highest ranking ever at No. 6 in the nation.
Former UNH men’s soccer star Josh Bauer commented on how much Hubbard has meant to him.
“It’s hard to put into words how much Hubbs means to me. He took a chance on me when no one else would and made me into the player I am today,” Bauer said. “He put a lot of trust in me in my time at UNH and our relationship benefited because of that. It was an honor to play under him. I look forward to staying close with him and returning to campus to catch up with him and the team whenever possible.”
Bauer now plays in the MLS as a defender for Atlanta United and credits coach Hubbard for his successes.
“Marc took me in on day one and worked with me to become a better player. He was a huge factor in the way my playing career has progressed. He was keen on developing my ability on the ball. He helped me to work on my weaknesses and further leverage my strengths to become a more complete player,” explained Bauer. “I’m beyond grateful for the work he and the rest of the UNH men’s soccer staff have done to put me in a position to succeed.”
Like Bauer, coach Hubbard has seen different challenges throughout his career. When he first got to UNH in 2015 he and his wife were given with the news that they were having twins which were going to be their fourth and fifth children. That year he managed to lead his team to a 10-win season.
Bauer described Hubbard’s coaching philosophy and how that has led to success throughout his decorated career.
“Coach Hubbard is a great coach. He cares about you as a person first and then as a soccer player. That sets the foundation for the relationship he has with his players, and it creates a great team culture,” said Bauer. “On the field he’s a tactical genius, and very dedicated to his system. He gets the most out of his players by getting them to buy in to defending first. On the attacking side he’s committed to playing an attractive brand of possession-oriented soccer with the freedom to take risks in the final third.”
The Wildcats have had a lot of expectations to satisfy after last season’s achievements. Following an 8-1-1 season and winning the America East Championship, Hubbard expresses his thoughts on how the program is trying to live up to last year.
“We don’t get too ahead of ourselves. We always reach back to where the program once was for all the people who came before us who helped and wanted to get it to this point,” Hubbard said. “I think there is a motivation every day for us to try and build this into a soccer school, which it hasn’t been. I think it is predominantly football and hockey driven so wanting to build something special here is definitely a daily challenge. A lot of it has to be done on our own as a staff and a team. So, I think building a brand but being humble has been an important recipe to our continued success.”
This season, the Wildcats are 9-0 after beating the 1-6-2 Hartford Hawks by a score of 4-1. After being down by one at the half, the ‘Cats scored four unanswered goals which was capped off by junior midfielder Bilal Kamal in the 64th minute.
Hubbard is satisfied with his team’s accomplishments, however he expressed there are always things that they can work on.
“I think it’s finishing our chances. We are creating a lot of goal scoring opportunities and by not finishing we are putting ourselves in games that are closer than they should be. But in a way that is helpful because we’re still figuring out ways to win while having things that we need to improve upon and I think a mark of our program has been guys stepping up in certain times and being ready,” Hubbard said.
Coach Hubbard and the Wildcats are back home at Wildcat Stadium this Tuesday Sept. 28 when they host Harvard (3-2-1, 0-0-0) at 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of China Wong