Like most fans of the College of William and Mary women's soccer, I was shocked and dismayed by Coach John Daly's — JD’s — unexpected and sudden decision to retire. The Athletic Department has been silent on the reasons for this decision, but what is clear is that JD's departure is a great loss not only for Tribe athletics, but also the entire college community.
In his 31 years as coach, he did everything the right way. During his tenure, his players were the epitome of what student athletes should be.
To be sure, they won matches: 413 of them against 176 losses and 67 ties. These wins led to 10 CAA titles and 22 NCAA Tournament appearances. Fifteen players won a total of 32 All-America honors, while two — Megan McCarthy and Natalie Neaton — won NCAA Player of the Year honors. Many, including Jill Ellis, coach of the U.S. National Team, went on to successful coaching careers in their own right.
Along the way, JD received numerous individual honors, including seven regional coach of the year and five CAA Coach of the Year awards. In 2004, the college named its new soccer facility the Albert-Daly Field, and in 2016 the Alumni Association named him an honorary alum.
JD's players were also students. They typically had team GPAs greater than 3.0. Eleven players received aAcademic All-America honors, and two were named to Phi Beta Kappa. His players' graduation rate approached 100 percent. He was every bit as proud of his players' academic achievements as he was of their success on the pitch.
Beyond the above, I am proud to have JD as a friend for all of his 32 years at William and Mary. When presenting him with a plaque recognizing his 300th win, I said that "if I had had a daughter who could play Division I soccer, I would have wanted her to play for a coach like JD." Above all else, he helped mold young girls into outstanding young women.
I wish the athletic department had done more to persuade him to stay, but I thank him for 32 years of friendship and wonderful memories. He made me proud to be a W&M alum. We are unlikely to see his equal anytime soon.