Assistant Athletic Director Chris Streeter knows that keeping score means looking at the bigger picture. For his efforts, he was just named Coach of the Year. Read his story!
When talking with incoming Assistant Athletic Director, Chris Streeter, almost immediately the conversation about coaching and sports turns to philosophy. For him, perspective on the big picture defines his details.
His family background provides a solid foundation for such discourse: his father was the boys’ varsity soccer coach at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass. for 33 years. “I grew up in locker rooms and on the playing fields,” Streeter said.
But his pedigree doesn’t stop there. After his own collegiate career (he was Rookie of the Year for Merrimack College), he never left the field—he played in both the United Soccer and National Indoor Soccer Leagues for several years. Altogether, he said, “I view this experience as a gift.”
“I had great coaches and mentors,” he said. “Part of my coaching philosophy is to pass along the same great athletic experiences that I was given.”
That philosophy is proving to be a good baseline for some immediate success. He returns to the women’s soccer program at Bay Path after stints as head coach of men’s soccer at Elms College (last year they were conference champions), and also women’s NCAA Division 1 soccer at UMass Amherst. He was last in charge of the Wildcats soccer from 2004 through 2006.
And with that return comes good results: from a preseason rank of 9th place in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), the Wildcats finished as the third seed in the conference championship. For his efforts, Streeter was named the Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year by the NECC.
Talking about what it means to have been given that honor, he said, “Part of my challenge as a professional coach is to address motivation, perception, and the intangible aspects of sports that maybe your average high school or youth coach doesn’t really think about. Get those intangibles moving in the right direction and that can get you to the next level.”
Streeter said that there is an important aspect of understanding collegiate sports leadership. He called it a “competitive fire.”
“You need that to succeed. But if you’re going to call yourself a college athlete,” he explained, “there’s also a certain level of work that you need to be ready to do.”
Elaborating, he said, “A college athlete trains year round. They’re aware of what they eat year round. They work out year round. Otherwise you’re recreational player with your friends. And that’s great—if that’s what you want. But if you want to call yourself a college athlete, the offseason work is much more important than the competitive fall season.”
The group of women that became his powerhouse soccer team agrees. They’re ready to begin an indoor winter league, and the chatter already is how they can go further in the NECC next year.
“We can win our conference championship—that’s attainable for us,” he said. “If we can do that, we get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. You play against the top teams, the top talent in the country. It’s a whole different level. That’s another part of the big-picture philosophy that we’re talking about with the players. It’s a good experience for any college athlete.”
With that level of competitive fire, Streeter sees this as a perfect opportunity to drive his scouting and recruiting efforts. In one short year, he said, Bay Path is becoming a contender. His attention doesn’t just stop with the soccer team. As the Assistant Director, he can help drive students to club sports as well.
With the Athletic Director, Steve Smith, the two have considered bringing bowling, golf, crew, and indoor track as recreational sports to the College. Their logic is that the more students participating in sports on campus, be they varsity or casual, the better.
“It’s certainly adds to the flavor of the school,” Streeter said. “The more students are active and invested in the school, the happier they would be.”
This is just one of the many details he’s looking forward to working out. If his success with the soccer team is any evidence, it looks like Streeter is setting good goals for Bay Path.