NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It was not the sendoff anyone would have wanted for Alan Dawson’s last home match as coach of the Old Dominion men’s soccer team, but it was an emotional and memorable one for the Monarchs coaching legend.
Dawson was recognized Friday in a pregame ceremony in which nearly 100 of his former players from Methodist University and Old Dominion joined him on the field.
“Reality sets in,” said Dawson, a native of Northern Ireland. “It’s one of those where, you think about it, but until it actually happens, it’s very emotional right now, to be honest.”
During warmups, players wore Dawson’s name on the back of their shirts with the number 27, representing the number of years he’s coached the Monarchs. The coaching legend has 262 career wins at ODU, six conference titles and 12 NCAA tournaments (two Sweet 16s) to his credit. Assistant Tennant McVea will take over once Dawson retires.
Dawson’s career coaching record is 391-203-67 and ranks in the top 20 active coaches in wins in collegiate men’s soccer.
Dawson served as a graduate assistant at UNC-Greensboro before becoming head coach at Methodist, where he was inducted into the college’s sports hall of fame in 2002 after compiling a career 129-30-1 record in nine seasons as its head coach (1987-1995). He served as an assistant coach at North Carolina prior to coming to ODU.
In the match itself, the Monarchs (5-5-5, 2-5-1 Sun Belt) held sixth-ranked Marshall (13-2-0, 6-2-0 Sun Belt) scoreless for the first half, but the Thundering Herd broke through for a pair of second half goals in a 2-0 Sun Belt Conference win. Marshall outshot ODU 11-8, and had a narrow edge in shots-on-goal, 3-2.
“We had a good game plan coming in and executed really well in the first half,” Dawson said. “In the second half, we gave up a set play goal, which then allowed Marshall to control possession and we had to open up a little bit and gave up the second one.”
Marshall scored its first goal in the 54th minute as Braian Amaro headed in a corner kick for a 1-0 lead. In the 79th minute, the Thundering Herd got an insurance goal from Alexander Adjetey.
ODU finishes the regular season Tuesday at No. 2 nationally-ranked West Virginia.
“We showed a lot of heart and guts tonight and I expect we will show the same on Tuesday night,” Dawson said. “We are not going to back down and are fighting for points to get into the tournament.”