Englishman Gavin Penny, who spent the past two years as Jeff Gettler’s assistant coach with the Husson University men’s soccer team, has been named to replace Gettler.
Gettler is the director of coaching for the Richmond Strikers soccer club’s Under 13-Under 18 boys and girls travel teams.
Penny, a four-year starter at Nyack College (New York) before serving as an assistant coach for two years at his alma mater, was chosen from among 87 applicants, according to Husson athletic director Frank Pergolizzi.
“He has a great passion for the game and for working with young people,” said Pergolizzi. “He has a good technical approach to how the game should be played.”
Pergolizzi noted that the returning players on the soccer team were “enthusiastic about Gavin.”
In addition to coaching soccer, Penny also will work in the facilities and event management department under baseball coach Jason Harvey.
Pergolizzi said like all of the coaches at Husson, Penny will have an 11-month contract.
“That allows them to have a month to relax with their families or work camps and clinics,” he said.
Gettler said Penny will do a “real good job.”
“He’s a student of the game, and he played at a good level,” said Gettler. “I always give my assistants a lot to things to do. The players liked him. He always got the attention of the team.”
Penny grew up in Dagenham, England, and played semi-pro soccer before moving to the United States in 2007 to begin coaching in the New York Red Bulls’ training programs. He moved on to become a head coach with the Ocean City Barons in the Premier Development League.
But his coaching career was put on hold when he decided to play at Nyack College, where he was a striker.
The Eagles went 46-16-4 in league play in its six seasons under Gettler and won two conference championships that earned them berths to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
“It is an honor to be given the responsibility to lead such an incredible group of young men and one I will embrace,” Penny said in a news release.
“Jeff Gettler was a fantastic mentor who left this program as one that could succeed after his departure,” he said. “I am blessed to play a part in building a solid foundation for the futures of every played that passes through our program.
“I believe we have a great group of returning players who are capable of achieving great success. I hope that I can be a great resource for the Husson campus and the community, providing help in whichever way I can. I can’t wait to get started,” he said.