The following interview was conducted Nov. 22. to hear how head men’s and women’s soccer coach Nate Houser would handle both teams playing in the NAIA National Tournament. Since, the women lost to Point Loma Nazarene University Wednesday and the men defeated Grand View University Wednesday. The men will continue on to the semifinals against Lindsey Wilson College at 6p.m. Friday.
With both the men’s and women’s soccer teams advancing to the second round of the national tournament in Alabama, which team do you plan to coach Monday since the location of the games is four hours apart?
We’re starting with (Monday’s) game, I’m going to be with the men and (assistant coach) Davy Phillips is going to be with the women.
I felt that the (women) are in a place that is going to be ultimately familiar. They are staying in the same hotel (they stayed in last year during the tournament). They are playing the same team they did in the (second) round (of the last year’s tournament). They are doing the same Champions of Character, Big Brother Big Sisters. I think they are going to be in a place that is familiar and that is going to give them comfort and that all of them, including Davy, were there last year. I think that’s a recipe for them to have some success.
With the guys, taking them to a brand new environment with all sorts of expectations is something that I think they are going to need a little help managing and that’s why I am going to be there (for) that first game.
How much does it help to have an assistant coach like Davy Phillips who you can trust to coach the women’s team?
Davy has been fantastic for all four years he has been here. I shared with him after last year’s tournament that I had ultimate trust in him. One of the hardest things for me to do is to let other people talk to or deal with my teams. (They are) as much his teams as they are mine. He’s recruited a number of the girls and guys and his footprint on the program is equal with mine. This is a good chance as he can grow into being a head coach himself. What other on the job opportunity are you going to get when you get to go coach in the Sweet Sixteen. I’m excited for him and the team.
Although it must be difficult for you not to be at the women’s team during its’ second round match, how nice of a problem is it to have both teams being in the Sweet Sixteen?
Well, I think it means we are doing something right. I think it means our ideas are ones that can work at a national level. The support we get from the administration from (Athletic Director) Theresa (Yetmar) and (University President Pat) Long and the whole athletic department, really, we are just the next vehicle that is gong on. Having the cross country team have a fantastic finish in the top 25, that’s motivating. Having the women’s volleyball win the conference and getting to see them in that fantastic second game of their match against MidAmerica (Nazarene University). All those things are motivating and they help. The fans that we have at our games.
I think the girls have been pleasantly surprised at how much support they have gotten and that now we have a group of young men that sing and they bring the sporting stuff. People don’t realize how much the team feels that and how much that means to them to hear that and to have our home field become a real advantage again to us after a few years where it was fair to say ‘uh lets see what happens’ and now it’s so exciting. I think all of it has kind of snowballed into what’s going to be, Monday, hopefully a great day.