Robert McCourt has orchestrated the transformation of the Monmouth University Men’s Soccer program from a conference and regional power into one that consistently ranks among the nation’s elite.
The 16th-year head man of the Monmouth University men's soccer team has led the Hawks to historic and unprecedented success in his tenure in West Long Branch. The Kearny, N.J. native has piloted the Hawks to nine conference regular season titles, five league tournament crowns, and three home matches in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2017, the Hawks earned a 1-0 win in the season opener at Georgia Southern, scoring on a diving header in the 69th minute. Monmouth went 6-1-1 at home during the season, including a 2-0 win over Penn, 3-1 wins over Hartford and Saint Peter's, a 3-2 win over Iona, a 1-0 win over Quinnipiac, and a 4-0 margin in the season finale against Niagara. The team played two nationally-ranked teams, drawing #14 West Virginia, 0-0, and falling late to #25 UMass Lowell, 3-2. Redshirt senior Colin Stripling and redshirt freshman John Antunes were both named to Third Team All-Region and Second Team All-MAAC. Sophomore George Akampeke was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team. Following the season, senior Jake Areman signed with the USL's Charlotte Independence.
In 2016, McCourt and the Hawks began the season hosting #15 Denver in West Long Branch, ending in a 1-1 draw to a team that would later advance to the College Cup Semifinals. After six wins on the season, Monmouth placed six athletes on All-MAAC teams. Eric Klenofsky was named Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and Second Team All-MAAC, as he left Monmouth with the fourth-best goals against average in program history (0.745), the third highest save percentage (0.842). David Nigro was named First Team All-MAAC after his 18-point season, while Anderson Asiedu, Colin Stripling, and Zachary Pereira were named to Second Team All-MAAC. In addition, freshman defender Andy Martinez was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team. On January 13, goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky was selected 34th overall by D.C. United in the MLS Superdraft, becoming the sixth Monmouth student-athlete selected by an MLS team in the last seven years under McCourt's guidance.
McCourt's 2015 squad rattled off 17-straight games without a loss, the second-longest unbeaten streak in the nation, to reach the MAAC Championship Game and earn the team's second league title in three years in the conference. In addition to mentoring a league-high eight all-conference selections, including Goalkeeper of the Year Eric Klenofsky and Defensive Player of the Year David Acuna Camacho, McCourt earned his fifth league Coach of the Year honor. David Nigro, Anderson Asiedu, Colin Stripling, Derek Luke, Klenofsky and Camacho each earned All-MAAC First Team honors, while John Egan was named to the Second Team. Zachary Pereira was also selected to the All-Rookie Team. Asiedu and Klenofsky were named to the All-Region First Team, while Acuna Camacho took Second Team honors.
McCourt had his team playing its best soccer at the end of the 2014 campaign, when it went 5-0-1 in its last six games to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in nine seasons. For the season, Monmouth led the nation in both goals-against average (0.48) and save percentage (.883), with the offense coming alive in the late surge to the tune of 2.33 goals per game in the conference tournament. For the season, Monmouth went 11-4-6 (4-1-5 MAAC), with Matt Jeffery, who earned MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, being drafted in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids. Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang and Dom Sarle joined Jeffery as All-Region selections, while Eric Klenofsky earned the goals-against average NCAA Division I Statistical Championship (0.48) for the second-consecutive year. Under McCourt's tutelage, Associate Head Coach Hugh MacDonald was named one of the top 15 assistant coaches in the nation by College Soccer News. Jeffery, Sarle, Agyemang, Klenofsky, Derek Luke and Dave Nigro were each named All-MAAC.
Under McCourt's guidance, Monmouth won the league regular season title in its first year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2013. The Hawks went 8-6-6 (7-1-2 MAAC), with Matt Jeffery earning MAAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Jeffery and MAC Hermann Watch List honoree Joseph Schmid were each named to the All-MAAC First Team, while also taking All-Region honors. Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang also earned First Team recognition, while 2013 NCAA Goals-Against Average Statistical Champion Eric Klenofsky took Second Team honors. Klenofsky, Dave Nigro and Colin Stripling also took MAAC All-Rookie Team recognition.
The Hawks went 11-4-4 (6-2-2 NEC) in 2012. Five of McCourt's players were named Regional All-Americans, led by First Team selection Joseph Schmid. Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang, Alex Blackburn and Ryan Clark each earned Second Team honors, while Matt Jeffery took Third Team recognition. Schmid and Blackburn also earned All-NEC First Team honors, while Agyemang and Clark took Second Team. Following the season, Clark was selected with the first overall pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft by the New York Red Bulls.
McCourt received his fourth NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year honor in 2011 after leading the Hawks to their seventh-straight Northeast Conference Regular Season Championship, third-straight NEC Tournament Championship and third consecutive NCAA Tournament First Round home game. The Hawks advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round with a thrilling 5-4 win in penalty kicks over Stony Brook under the lights on The Great Lawn. Following four years under McCourt’s tutelage, RJ Allen was selected by Chivas USA with the fifth overall pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft, while Anthony Vazquez signed a professional contract with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
In 2010, McCourt earned NSCAA North Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year honors, his third regional honor, in leading MU to a 14-2-4 record and a national top-25 ranking all season, peaking at fourth nationally on September 21. In addition to leading the Hawks to unparalleled success on the pitch, McCourt also mentored a pair of Major League Soccer draftees last season in seniors Bryan Meredith and Ryan Kinne. Meredith was selected by Seattle Sounders FC with the 11th pick in the second round, the 29th overall pick, while Kinne went to the New England Revolution with the draft's sixth pick in the third round, the 42nd overall.
In addition, MU boasted a pair of All-Americans in 2010 for the second consecutive campaign. Kinne was named a First Team All-American for the second straight season, while rising senior RJ Allen earned Third Team All-American accolades. In 2009, Kinne also appeared on the first team, while Daniel Bostock claimed second team honors.
McCourt led the Hawks to an 18-2-2 record in 2009, the best mark in program history, as well as the program's fifth straight Northeast Conference Regular Season Title and third league tournament championship overall. The Blue and White defeated the 12th-ranked University of Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament First Round at home in one of the most emotional sporting events ever on campus, which also marked the furthest advancement any Monmouth team has ever made in its respective NCAA postseason.
Monmouth, which registered a 24-game unbeaten streak in NEC play from 2005-2007, opened the 2007 campaign with a 1-0 victory over No. 16 North Carolina, en route to a 12-5-2 overall mark.
In addition to his success on the field, McCourt mentored Tom Gray, who was selected by the MLS's Kansas City Wizards in the supplemental draft, and Damon Wilson, who signed a professional contract to play in Austria, in addition to helping former Hawk and current Monmouth assistant Hugh MacDonald play for the New York Red Bulls.
Prior to Monmouth, McCourt joined the VCU staff in the spring of 2002, after two seasons as head coach of the New Jersey Stallions of the USL Division 3 professional soccer league. He was Division 3 league National Coach of the Year in 2000 when his team finished 17-5-1, won the regular-season national championship and advanced to the playoff national final. In 2001, his Stallions advanced in the US Cup to face DC United of Major League Soccer.
At VCU, McCourt helped lead the Rams, as part of Tim O'Sullivan's staff, to the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament titles in 2002 and 2003. The Rams were 15-5-1 overall and 7-1-1 in the CAA in 2002. VCU was the #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2002. The Rams were 17-5 overall and 8-1 in the CAA in 2003, setting a school record for wins. VCU was the #9 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2003.
A proven winner at all levels, McCourt has been involved with the US Olympic Development Program (ODP) since 1997, serving as head coach of the Region 1 ODP U16 since 1999. During his tenure, he has coached against national teams from the United States, Brazil, Guatemala, Canada, Thailand and New Zealand. A USSF A licensed coach, he has coached international matches in a variety of countries, including Spain, France, Sweden, Costa Rica, Denmark and Mexico. On the collegiate level, McCourt was an assistant coach at Seton Hall during the 1998 season, and at New Jersey City University during the 2001 campaign.
McCourt graduated from Adelphi University with a BBA in business management/finance in 1989. At Adelphi, McCourt started and played on teams that made the second round as well as the final eight of the NCAA tournament. In 1988, Adelphi was ranked as high as fifth in the country, while during the 1987 season, McCourt earned All-Tournament accolades at the University of Virginia Tournament. He later played professional soccer with both the Albany Capitals (1990-91) and New Jersey Stallions (1993-97), and semi-pro with the Kearny Scots Americans.
While playing pro and semi-pro, McCourt worked on Wall Street as a currency trader for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (1989-96).
McCourt is also active in the local New Jersey Shore community with various youth soccer clinics and community service projects. He also runs an annual Monmouth Soccer golf outing for the program.
McCourt, his wife and two children reside in Monmouth County.