Coaching to Win: Kevin East
"Success comes easily when you're doing something you love," exclaims Kevin East, the director of soccer operations and the head coach of men's soccer at Rutgers-Newark.
East, a former professional and all-star collegiate and high school soccer goalkeeper, joined the R-N athletic program in November 2006 with much fanfare and anticipation. Immediately prior to coming aboard, he had served a nine-year stint as the head coach of men's soccer at New Jersey City University during which time he posted a 123-66-11 record and led the Gothic Knights to New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship berths in 2001 and 2006 and an Eastern Collegiate Atlantic Conference (ECAC) Metro Men's Soccer title in 2004. But could East continue his winning ways at Rutgers-Newark?
At Rutgers-Newark, East immediately hit the ground running and quickly proved he still had the golden touch. For starters, commencing in 2008 the Scarlet Raiders clinched four consecutive ECAC Metro Championship playoff berths and made their first-ever appearance in the NJAC Men's Soccer Championship Tournament in 2009, with a second showing in 2011. Most recently, the team closed the 2011 season in dramatic fashion during the ECAC Metro Championship finals. In a heart-thumping shootout against the second-seeded Pioneers of William Paterson University (WPU), the fourth-seeded Scarlet Raiders outperformed WPU three to one to capture the team's first post-season championship trophy in program history. Under East's leadership, the Scarlet Raiders' 56-41-11 record is the best on the Scarlet Raiders' books, making East the most successful men's soccer coach in R-N history.
"Our success has been the direct result of a lot of hard work by the coaching staff. I have really enjoyed the process of developing the program from an afterthought to title contender," remarks East.
As the director of soccer operations, East oversees both the men and the women's soccer programs, helps to elevate the competitiveness of each program within the New Jersey Athletic Conference, and promotes and enhances the use of Rutgers-Newark's soccer facilities. He periodically hosts local clubs and organizations at Alumni Field and helped draw attention to R-N's soccer program when he organized an indoor exhibition match in the spring of 2009 at Prudential Center.
Undoubtedly a coach's coach, East holds a national "A" coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation, putting him on the highest level of coaches in the country. He also has a director of coaching certificate from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and is an active member of the group's National Rating Board. He has coached and instructed in the Olympic Development Program and is the former president of the College Soccer Association of New Jersey. A student-athlete at Kean University, East earned a bachelor's degree in political science and criminal justice in 1993 and upon graduation began his coaching career there.
East's impressive coaching credentials and passion for the sport portend a soccer powerhouse in the offing for Rutgers-Newark.