In a surprise announcement Thursday, BYU men's soccer Head Coach Chris Watkins resigned. Watkins spent 21 years with the Cougars soccer team and in that time built a tremendous program that represented BYU in the professional and college ranks.
In his tenure, he built a team that won six Collegiate Club National Championships, two final eight playoff runs in the PDL and coached BYU to be the only university that has participated in the US Open Cup, which he managed to do three times.
Watkins finish his time with his team with a record of 304-103-75. Part of the reason for his resignation is the time commitment that is required as the associate head coach for the BYU women's soccer team. He accepted the position in 2013 and has missed time with the men as he traveled to women's away games. In the press release he said:
"It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that I have resigned as coach of this great program. Unfortunately, I just don't have enough time to donate to this program and these great young men anymore."
For those that are not aware of the commitment that is required, Coach Watkins did not receive a salary as the head coach and was doing it for the love of his players and the sport. He has made impressions on hundreds of young men in his time and was even the recipient of an open letter from Garrett Gee. Watkins was always willing to talk honestly and positively with the media, even after frustrating games.
He made an impact on so many people. His assistant coach Chad Sackett said:
"This is truly a sad day and a very difficult decision Coach Watkins has had to make. The amount of time, soccer knowledge, and effort both mentally, physically and spiritually, that he has put into these young men cannot be appreciated enough. He has put in so much to this program for the development and growth of these young men and he will truly be missed."
Corey Cuvelier, the Alumni Director added:
"I have known Coach Watkins for 25 years as a close friend, teammate, and fellow coach. I have witnessed his complete dedication, often sacrificing personal and family interests, to building the BYU men's soccer program. His influence and leadership have blessed hundreds of players' lives. I can't think of anyone who has done more for BYU Soccer."
As a fan of the Cougars that didn't much like soccer until I met Coach Watkins, I thank him for his contribution to the university, the players, and all the supporters. We wish you the best as you pursue your continued dedication to the game.