Well, Marquette athletic director Bill Scholl has had a busy year, huh?
On Wednesday, Scholl announced that Markus Roeders has resigned his position as Marquette’s head women’s soccer coach. The athletic department will begin what they are calling a national search immediately. Here’s the statement on the matter from Scholl:
“I would like to thank Markus for his years of valued service, not only the department, but the University as a whole,” Scholl said. ”He led the team to an extended period of success on the field and in the classroom during his tenure and we appreciate all the program has accomplished under his direction.”
We throw around the word “era” when it comes to coaching tenures, but Roeders’ run as a coach at Marquette qualifies more than most others. To a certain extent, Roeders is Marquette women’s soccer. Roeders has been MU’s top coach since the 1996 season, compiling a record of 325-148-51 in his 24 seasons in charge. Before that, Roeders was an assistant coach for two seasons at Marquette, meaning that he has been on the sideline one way or another for all but one of MU’s seasons as a Division 1 soccer program. He guided Marquette to 13 NCAA appearances in a 18 year span, as well as 10 regular season championships. Four of those came in Conference USA, with the other six — including five in a row from 2009 through 2013 — came in the Big East.
While it can easily be said that Roeders is a Marquette coaching icon given his long string of success, we also can clearly state that the news of his resignation does not take us by surprise. From 1993, the first year of women’s soccer at Marquette, through 2017, the Golden Eagles had experienced just two 10 loss seasons: 1993 and 1995, years #1 and #3 of the program. Roeders himself had never had even a .500 season from when he took over as head coach through 2014, and through 2017, he had never had a losing season. From 1996, Roeders’ first year as head coach, through 2013, Marquette had just four seasons with more than seven losses, and all four were exactly eight losses.
Between 2014 and 2019, Marquette has lost eight or more matches in a season five times in six seasons. The past two years, Marquette has suffered 11 losses in each campaign, giving Roeders not only his first and second losing seasons at the helm, but also the first back-to-back losing seasons in program history and the first back-to-back 10+ loss seasons in program history. 2019 was the third straight season that Marquette had missed the NCAA tournament, which marked the first time that had happened since it took until Year #7 for MU to make it for the first time ever.
At best, Roeders had lost his fastball. At worst, he wasn’t going to be able to find it again. Whether this was Roeders realizing one of those things was the case or the athletic department informing him that was the case and allowing him to go out on his own terms with a resignation as he deserves, then it makes sense to make a move now for the very long term future of the program. It’s better for MU to move now instead of letting Roeders figure out for a few more years if he can turn the ship around and end up digging in deeper.
And so, now we wait to see where the Golden Eagles go from here. This will be the fourth head coaching vacancy for Scholl to fill during his time as athletic director, and all four have come during the calendar year of 2019. Megan Duffy has taken over the women’s basketball team from Carolyn Kieger, while Andrew Stimmel has become Marquette’s second ever men’s lacrosse head coach after Joe Amplo’s departure to Navy. Sean Birren is acting as interim cross country coach right now, and it remains to be seen what direction that Marquette will go with that job, as the season only recently ended.