Head soccer coach leaves NTCC for Division I job

Dowling online

By Teresa FloresDowling online
Managing Editor

After a record breaking season and a trip to the national championship for the first time in the school’s history, Northeast Texas Community College’s Head Soccer Coach Donovan Dowling will not be returning to the Eagle field.
“The decision to leave NTCC was without a doubt the toughest decision I have made in my career to this point,” Dowling said. “It has always been a dream of mine to coach at the NCAA Division I level, and the decision to coach at the University of Texas Pan-American (UTPA) allowed me to follow that dream.”
While the decision was tough, Dowling said he wouldn’t have left Northeast for many Division I jobs. He said UTPA is the only public NCAA Division I school to sponsor men’s soccer in the entire state of Texas.
The former head coach mentioned that NTCC and UTPA share many similar traits that he believes in. “The qualities of the school I sold here at NTCC are the same qualities I will sell at UTPA,” Dowling said. “Student athletes having the opportunity to get a first class education, train in a professional environment, all while doing so at an extremely affordable price. Those are qualities I genuinely believe in and ultimately the reason I decided to move to UTPA.”
When Dowling arrived at Northeast, he inherited a program that was in its early stages of building. In his first season with the Eagle soccer teams, he managed to turn around a men’s team with only six wins under their belt and doubled their number of wins. The Lady Eagles had previously suffered a winless season, but under his direction, the team ended with a successful season.
With his second season, the Eagles crushed their previous record ending the season 18-2-1 and even winning a bid to the national championship. In the same fashion, the Lady Eagles won eight games showing great improvement.
Dowling was quick to say that both programs’ growing success was a team effort. “I am extremely proud of the progress both programs have made over the past two years,” he said. “It was a culmination of not just myself, but the staff, administration and our Athletic Director Josh Stewart that made it all possible.”
During his time at Northeast, the former head coach said he shared the goals he set for himself as a coach with his players and the students in his coaching class. “Some of the goals obviously have to do with our on-field performance,” Dowling said. “But others included things like retention, GPA, fundraising, community outreach, and the number of players moving on to play at four-year universities.”
Although Dowling said he felt like he accomplished many of those goals, there are still areas where he thinks the program can improve on.
Assistant Soccer Coach Ian McGimsey has been under Dowling’s leadership since McGimsey arrived at Northeast. “I’m sad to see him go, but it’s a good move onto something great,” said the assistant coach. “As a coach, Donovan didn’t just know X’s and O’s. He was fair in all his decisions and the players really responded to it. Dowling definitely was a people person, and what I learned from him in terms of coaching style is just being patient and giving different life lessons here and there.”
McGimsey is currently serving as interim head coach for both the men and women’s programs. As for his plans during the offseason, McGimsey said he hopes to accomplish growth on and off the field again and see both teams not only get better as soccer players, but students as well.
“Mostly out of offseason, I want to get the players we have on campus improving on their skills and growing as human beings,” he said.
As for managing both teams this semester, McGimsey said he plans on continuing to recruit. “It’s a little bit more of a balancing act because when we did have two coaches, you kind of split responsibilities a little more. Now, you have to be a little better about time managing.”
The interim head coach has felt the full force of his new position and noticeably spotted the differences between the two positions. “There’s definitely a lot more responsibilities as I’ve learned this last week as soon as I got back to campus. It’s been hectic, fill in the fall schedule, recruiting both men’s and women’s, and practice scheduling,” he said. “It’s been a handful, but I definitely think I’ve been able to do as much as I can as one person. I don’t think I am too overwhelmed.”
McGimsey revealed that he was putting the bulk of the stress on himself. “Sometimes a little pressure is good and it helps you stay on your toes. The most pressure I am feeling is just from me, personally,” he said. “I like to think that sometimes I want to have everything perfect, everything in line, and obviously when you have to depend on other people for certain things, it can be stressful.”
Dowling said he has no doubt that McGimsey will do a good job with the program. “Ian has matured as a coach so much over the past two years, and he is ready for this opportunity,” Dowling said. “He’s been a great assistant and a great friend of mine, and I am excited to watch him take the program to the next level.”
With the head soccer coach position available, Athletic Director Josh Stewart said he hopes to fill the position this spring. “Just like any job, any coaching position at Northeast Texas, it’s going to garner a lot of interest nationally,” Stewart said. “We will hold a national search to fill the position, and I am really confident we will get another great coach in here.”
Dowling said there is also a possibility two head coaches will be hired, one for each program. Dowling said he sees the hiring as a way of putting Northeast in a viable spot to continue being a junior college power in years to come.
Interim Head Coach McGimsey also shared that he would be applying for both head coaching positions, but said he is actually pushing for the women’s spot. “I’ve been here the last two years and I believe we have been doing something very special, and I think I was a good contributing factor to that,” he said. “I just want to help them keep building and building and see how far we can go.”