NEAC Coaches Corner: Penn College

NEAC Coaches Corner: Penn College

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Throughout the spring, the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) will highlight a coach and student-athlete from each of our member institutions in a brief Q & A. Today’s Coaches Corner introduces us to Penn College Men’s Soccer Coach Tyler Mensch and student-athlete Chris McFarland.

Coach Tyler Mensch joined the Penn College staff in May of 2015 with this past fall being the best of his three seasons with the Wildcats. Mensch led his squad to NEAC tournament for the first time in program history with eight wins as the Wildcats advanced to the NEAC Semifinals. Mensch also saw senior goalkeeper Malcolm Kane (Ardsley, Pa.) become the Wildcats’ first All-NEAC First Team selection.

Rookie Chris McFarland (Coatsville, Pa.) is fresh off his first season playing for Mensch. McFarland played a key role in the Wildcats’ 2017 NEAC Quarterfinal game, assisting on both Penn College goals and converting his penalty kick attempt. The Wildcats freshman also took some time to reflect on that memory and Coach Mensch’s impact on his career thus far.

Head Coach Tyler Mensch

What inspired you to become a collegiate coach?

My inspiration to become a coach started with my playing days at Misericordia University and my coach, Chuck Edkins. He provided me the opportunity to work a few camps as a player where I was able to instruct younger kids on how to play the game of soccer. Working those camps, I realized that I wanted to be not only a teacher of the game but a positive role model to young adults both on and off the field. To me there was no better classroom than the soccer field where I could teach my skills, knowledge and values I learned as a player and give it back to a younger generation of soccer players.

What is your favorite memory or moment at Penn College?

My favorite coaching moment at Penn College would be our NEAC Quarterfinal match this past fall against Keuka. With our backs against the wall and trailing 2-1 with six minutes to go, we were able to score a brilliant set-piece goal to tie the match at 2-2. At no point in my three-year tenure as the head coach have I seen our guys have so much fun and excitement playing the game of soccer. This group of guys were determined and committed to play a full 90 minutes and push through any adversity that came their way to tie the game. Our match ended up going to penalty kicks where we came out victorious, 8-7. The celebration and dog pile after we made the winning penalty kick will be a lasting memory I will never forget.

As a coach, how do you help your Division III student-athletes balance all aspects of college life?

I make sure that guys have plenty of downtime/free time throughout the season to be a college student. I do not want to bog them down with soccer all the time as it takes away from their academics and personal life. We accommodate practice times based on schedules to make it convenient for everyone along with doing study halls to help with academic performance. I also do a lot of team-bonding activities outside of the soccer field to show them that there are other things to do around campus or in the community.

Outside of wins, losses and stats, what do you want everyone to know about your student-athletes?

Our student-athletes at Penn College are extremely passionate, hardworking and committed to soccer. We have created a positive family culture where all guys feel welcomes and wanted. Our players learned to play by our motto “90 minutes is a lifetime” and never take a play off.

Chris McFarland

Describe the impact your coach had on your decision to attend your institution and/or on your development as a student-athlete.

Coach Mensch had a huge impact on my decision to attend Penn College. I was very set on my major but he really sealed the deal because of how much he believed in me as a player. He told me from the start where he could see me as a player and know I would be a huge asset to the team. This really pushed me to try and make myself the best student-athlete possible.

Do you have a favorite memory or moment with your coach that you would like to share?

My favorite memory would have to be winning our playoff game against Keuka College. I’ve never seen my coach so happy and the fact that I was able to impact the game made it even better. He ran over and gave all of us a big hug because it was history in the making.

What advice would you give to future student-athletes who may be considering playing for your team/coach?

I would say that if you are looking for a team that is dedicated, passionate and downright hard-working, this is the team for you.

To learn more about Penn College and Wildcats athletics, visit pctwildcats.com.

*Information compiled by Matt Blymier, Penn College Assistant Director of Athletics/Sports Information Director

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.