Name: Robert Leib
Hometown: Schaefferstown, Pa. ("Amish country")
Years coaching at UMF: 1977-2007
Current Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Why did you choose to coach at UMF?
I was an Assistant Coach at the University of Delaware from 1969-1977 when I decided I wanted to be a head coach at a small college. We vacationed in Maine with a friend from the University of Delaware in 1975 and liked the area. We actually drove through Farmington on the way to New Hampshire on route 2. I was hired in 1977 after Coach Gordon left to coach in Virginia. It was quite a career move for us, but with three little children it was a great place to raise our family. The coaching staff was like a family and I liked the rural setting since I was raised in the farmlands of Lebanon Valley in Pennsylvania.
What are your greatest memories at UMF?
I had a lot of great memories over 30 years and the first one was Coach Gordon's player's accepting me as their new coach. With the help of Assistant Coach Greg Dugas, we had a great first year. They bought me cross country skis to set the tone for my many winter adventures in Maine.
In 1982 we went 14-0 in the regular season and finished 15-1, losing to Thomas College in the finals. In 1984 we played Gordon College to go to California and lost another 1-0 game. Then, in 1986 we finally beat Johnson State 1-0 and went to Texas. We wore earmuffs for all the world to see! I think it was 1996 when we had a chance to win sixteen games but had to settle for fifteen.
In 2002 when I was in charge of both the men and women's programs, both teams won the conference championships at Thomas and that was certainly special. Then, in 2003 the women won the regionals and went to St. Charles, Missouri. These were all NAIA events and then to my surprise a very young women's team won the conference in 2003, making it to our very first NCAA tournament.
But I need to say my greatest memories are the great people I coached and worked with over the years. Niki Greenlaw and Jamie Beaudoin each coached the men and women when I was coaching both teams from 1996-2002 and deserve a lot of credit for our success during that time. Overall, the people were great, the area was beautiful and the winters were a challenge.
How has coaching at the University of Maine Farmington influenced you?
Coaching at UMF showed me that enjoying the people you work with and forming lasting relationships is the key to a successful life. I really enjoyed the hard working, team oriented, selfless attitude of the players I coached. I love the Maine people and would do it all over again even though I now know what a 100 inches of snow is like.
What advice would you give to the current UMF men's soccer team?
I would tell the current team to enjoy every moment because college goes fast and is one of the greatest experiences in your life. Bond with your teammates and dedicate yourself to the greater good of the team and school.
Thank you to all of my former players for a great opportunity in life and I will see some of you at the UMF golf tournament that Todd Chamberlain has made into a great fundraiser for UMF athletics.