Seton Hall’s all-time soccer wins leader calls it quits
For the last 24 years, Manny Schellscheidt has patrolled the touchline at Owen T. Carroll Field.
Though he quietly paces back-and-forth, hands in both pockets, watching the game flow in silence, his mind is focused. He does not react to each play, rather he studies it.
Schellscheidt sees the game in a way that only few can understand. His love is soccer and his passion is teaching it to others.
On Monday morning, Schellscheidt announced he would be retiring from his position as the Seton Hall men’s soccer coach, a position he has held since 1988.
“There are times in life when things do change,” Schellscheidt said. “And you have to say to yourself that maybe it’s not such a bad idea. Life always goes on.”
Schellscheidt’s team finished their 2011 campaign in disappointing fashion, going just 5-11-2 on the season and recording only one conference victory, results seldom seen during his tenure as head coach.
According to the coach, the team’s recent string of poor results was partially a factor in his decision to retire.
“I’ll be quite honest, starting with myself, we would have hoped that we had better results,” Schellscheidt said. “If you are on the job and you’re responsible, trying to make this thing work, then obviously it gets more stressful. It got harder to keep up.”
Despite a disappointing final season as Seton Hall’s head coach, Schellscheidt’s nearly 50-year career in soccer is comprised of a seemingly endless list of accomplishments.
As a player, Schellscheidt was a midfielder for Elizabeth S.C. of the German American Soccer League. It was with that squad he helped win the U.S. Open Cup in 1970 and again in 1972.
In 1973, he was part of a Philadelphia Atoms squad that won the North American Soccer League Championship.
After his playing days came to an end in 1975, Schellscheidt took up coaching.
He coached the United States men’s national soccer team for one year in 1975 and returned to coach the 1984 squad during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif.
Then, in 1988, he was named head coach of the Seton Hall Pirates.
According to Schellscheidt, he can still remember that year as if it were yesterday.
“My very first experience traveling with the team, we were playing N.C. State in a tournament Duke was hosting,” Schellscheidt said, reminiscing about his 1988 squad. “10 minutes into the game, N.C. State scored. Five minutes after that, one of our guys gets a red card, and then they scored again, so now we are down 2-0 with only 10 men.
The end result was a 5-3 victory for Seton Hall in overtime. That was the first time I realized what I was getting myself into.”
Over his 24-year span with the Hall, Schellscheidt amassed 232 victories which places him No. 1 on the all-time list of soccer coaches.
In 1990, two years into his stint, he was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game.
With so many accomplishments to his name and a wealth of soccer knowledge, Schellscheidt is most proud of just one thing: his players.
“Having the privilege to work with young people and hearing them tell me how much I have helped them is special,” Schellscheidt said. “When you are involved in the game, it becomes your life. You take that with you to the end.”
As the next chapter in his life begins, Schellscheidt leaves behind an indelible legacy as both a passionate coach and a patient teacher and understands how special his time at Seton Hall has been.
“Seton Hall has been a close-knit family for me,” Schellscheidt said. “Life is about memories and that is what I will remember.”