Pete Curtis got his start in coaching over 27 seasons ago and has been leaving his mark ever since. He first knew he wanted to coach around his junior year in college because it seemed like the natural progression in his soccer career. He led his team at Alderson-Broaddus University before playing and coaching on a club team at Iowa State. Coaching the club team led him to his first head coaching position at Marietta College. He coached the men’s program for five years before moving to the University of Charleston for an additional five years. Eventually, he made his way to Cleveland State where he spent another six years. All of these programs were men’s soccer programs, but when Washington & Jefferson College was looking for a head coach for their women’s program, he knew it was too good to pass up. Curtis came into the program knowing that the team did not expect much but enforced the idea that he would work to get them whatever they were willing to work for. He said his only goal coming into the program was to “accomplish whatever the players wanted to achieve.” He succeeded in this goal only a year into his coaching at W&J.
He helped bring in the first ever PAC Championship in Women’s Soccer Program history in 2008. This happens to be one of his favorite memories because of the winning goal. Jess Swartz ‘10 scored the winning goal off
of a diving header in overtime against Thomas Moore. While this is his favorite memory, there have been many more memories that have come close. These favorite memories are just a part of what is making saying goodbye so hard after Curtis decided to accept a job at California University of Pennsylvania.
Upon leaving, the coach reflected on his time as W&J and what he hopes continues after he is gone. Curtis has created many traditions within the women’s soccer program over the last decade. From tailgates to community service at a local food bank, he has made a lasting mark on the women’s soccer program. Before Pete Curtis, W&J women’s soccer was an average team who had never been regionally ranked; however, thanks to his coaching, it is now a team others strive to be with consistent PAC and Regional Rankings. Out of all of the traditions that Pete Curtis has instilled in the program, his favorite is the bond that all of the teammates share. He hopes that the players continue to care for and look after one another on and off the field because that is something unique to W&J women’s soccer. “The unity and comradery are something that should be valued just as much as any championship,” said Curtis.
With the most wins in history of the women’s soccer program, Curtis’ undeniable and profound impact on this program is something this institution will always treasure. Urging the players of his team to keep in touch, he also left with many pieces of advice and final words. “Over the last eleven years, all of the girls that I have had the pleasure of coaching have given me memories that will last a lifetime. I’ll miss every one of them,” said Curtis. He also left with some final comments for the players on the team. “Continue to believe in yourselves and never accept second best from yourself or anyone around you. If you all stay together and play for each other anything is possible. I wish you all and whoever succeeds the best of luck in the seasons ahead.” When asked about the team’s opinion on Curtis leaving, Brianna Floryshak ‘19 said, “I know I speak for the entire team when I say how much we appreciate everything he has done for us on and off the field. While he will be greatly missed, we are proud and excited for his new opportunity and we wish him all the best.” The players are holding themselves to Curtis’ standards in the interim hoping to keep up all of the things he has worked for.