Plymouth State University recognized a landmark in its athletic history this fall, as the men’s soccer program reached its Golden anniversary, celebrating its 50th season of competition. At the same time, women’s soccer marked its Silver anniversary: recognizing 25 years of competition since joining the NCAA.
During the Silver and Gold Weekend, October 7–8, alumni from around the world returned to Plymouth, including members from the first team, to join in the festivities and look back at two of our most storied athletic programs:
Men’s soccer began in the fall of 1957, when the school had a modest enrollment of 453 students. Under the guidance of Coach Howard Goldman, the Panthers opened the season on October 1 against Gorham Teachers College (now the University of Southern Maine), which was also playing their first game, emerging victorious with a score of 2 to 1. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic game, PSU invited the original competitors from both PSC and Gorham to recreate the contest, and it ended with same outcome: Plymouth State defeated Southern Maine, 2-1.
The celebration included several pre-game and halftime ceremonies. Coach Goldman, along with Bill Hagner ’58, who scored the first goal for Plymouth State 50 years ago, were on hand to make the ceremonial pre-game coin toss; five of the seven Panther men’s soccer coaches in history were in attendance, representing 43 of the 50 years of head coaches; and an official proclamation sent from New Hampshire Governor John H. Lynch to Plymouth State University was presented to President Sara Jayne Steen.
In proceeding seasons, under the stewardship of coaches Joe Clark, Douglas Wiseman, Gerd Lutter, Shawn Griffin, Keith Byrnes and Rob Wright, the program has amassed 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, 10 ECAC tournament appearances, and three ECAC Championships.
The Panther women’s program started as a club team in the mid-1970s, and achieved varsity status in 1978. In 1982, the NCAA accepted women’s sports into the fold. Under coaches Steve Knipstein, Christine Rizzieri, Janet Nell, Phil Rowe, Nancy Feldman, Marti Kingsley, Beth Field, Rebecca Lisack, Keith Scarlett and Gene Smith, the program has posted 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, eight ECAC tournament appearances, and three ECAC championships.
The weekend also marked the official unveiling of additions to Panther Field: new lighting, public address system, signage, goals and bench areas. Thanks to Scott and Patti Biederman and their fundraising team, both players and fans can enjoy a new and better soccer experience at PSU.—Kent Cherrington
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