By Eddie Poe
When former men’s soccer head coach Mark Ludwig resigned last December, assistant dean for athletics and recreation Paul Saikia was faced with a difficult situation. He had to hire a new head coach after 16 great years with Ludwig.
Ludwig led the Spartans to seven Capital Athletic Conference titles with five of those titles coming in consecutive years from 2009-2013. He also led York to nine consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 2005-2013.
Following Ludwig’s resignation in late December, Saikia quickly got to work in search of a new head coach.
In March, after an extensive search, Saikia named Evan Scheffey as the new head coach.
“We felt as though Evan’s truly-heartfelt connection to York College and the program made his candidacy exceptional,” Saikia said in a press release.
Saikia was referring to Scheffey’s four years as a starting defender for the team from 2005-2008. He assembled a long list of accomplishments during his time in York, including three First Team All-Capital Athletic Conference player recognitions, two Capital Athletic Conference champion titles, three First Team NSCAA All-Region selections and a berth in the Elite Eight in 2006 and 2007. Scheffey was also team captain for three years.
Once Scheffey graduated, he began his post-playing career with an assistant coaching position at Goucher College. During his two years there, he improved the team’s record both in-conference and overall as well as trailblazing the recruiting efforts in helping to bring in a class of 12 players from five different states.
He then moved to Virginia Wesleyan College in the same role and assisted in the sixth best turnaround from one season to the next in Division III men’s soccer in 2013. Although relatively short, it was a coaching resume that caught Saikia’s eye.
“We feel that Evan is a perfect addition and brings the promise of even greater things to a program that is already quite accomplished,” said Saikia in a press release.
The return to York was much more than just a new coaching opportunity for Scheffey.
“There was always an idea in my mind that I wanted to come back here and coach someday, and while I didn’t necessarily think it would come this early in my coaching career, it was simply an opportunity that was way too good to pass up,” said Scheffey.
Scheffey also expressed his gratitude to Coach Ludwig, whom he played for and learned a lot from during his four years on the team.
“I’m very fortunate that over the past 10-12 years and even before then that Coach Ludwig did such an outstanding job of laying the foundation for excellence and success,” said Scheffey with high praise.
Upon arrival at York as head coach, Scheffey immediately became acquainted with the team and generated a positive impact before the season even commenced.
“The guys seemed to respond pretty well once I arrived here,” laughed Scheffey. “Last semester we saw seven players earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher and had our first team GPA of over 3.0 in six semesters.”
Scheffey has always helped to place a high emphasis on his players not only performing well on the field, but also in the classroom.
“It’s hugely important to me to be able to help give these guys a great and fulfilling soccer experience, while also helping to prepare them for life after their four years at York,” said Scheffey.
Scheffey may have his eyes set on something special for the team, but for now it’s all about taking it one game at a time:
“Right now, it’s all about getting them to buy into what I know they’re capable of accomplishing, and if we can get there, the sky’s the limit for this team.”