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The Marshall men's soccer team opened its 2012 season on Friday night with a 2-0 win over Wright State.
Bob Gray, the sixth head coach in the program's 35-year history, enters his 21st season at the helm of Marshall men's soccer. With 28 winning seasons in 36 years of collegiate coaching and a career record of 424-239-54, Gray is continuing his legacy as one of the NCAA's winningest coaches. In 20 seasons with the Herd, Gray has amassed a record of 169-163-29, while notching his 400th career win during the 2010 season.
2009 was arguably Gray's most successful season with the Herd, as he turned around a 3-14-1 team from '08 into a 10-7-2 contender in `09. With a 6-2 Conference USA mark that year, Marshall advanced all the way to the conference championship game and turned heads in the college soccer world. For his efforts, Gray was named the C-USA Coach of the Year for 2009.
With nine returning starters and a host of young talent, the Herd were expected to compete for a championship and an NCAA berth in 2010. However, the team fell short of the C-USA postseason with a final game loss to UAB. Gray and the Herd still managed to put together a solid 9-5-4 record, though, capping off the team's first back-to-back winning seasons since the 2000-2001 campaigns.
During the 2012 season, the Herd failed to reach the postseason in a season that was played in unfamiliar territory as Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex was under construction, which forced the squad to play its first year away from Sam Hood Field in 14 seasons. After a stellar 10-1-1 start to 2012, Marshall lost four of its last five games to close out the season as offensive issues surfaced to close out the year with an 11-5-1 mark.
During the 2011 season, Gray led the Herd to an 8-8-1 record and an appearance in the C-USA postseason tournament. Marshall finished the regular season as the No. 4 seed, having put together an eight-game winnning streak to compensate for an 0-6 start. However, the Herd's regular season success was cut-short by a heartbreaking, 4-3 loss to SMU in the tournament's opening round.
In 2007, the Herd's third in C-USA, Gray led Marshall to its second appearance in the conference tournament, where the team claimed an opening-round, 3-1 upset win over Kentucky before succumbing to FIU in the semifinals.
During the 2005 campaign, Gray led the Herd in its inaugural season in Conference USA to a 4-3-2 conference mark. His efforts and success were noted as he was honored with Conference USA Coach of the Year honors.
In 2004, Gray became the first Marshall men's soccer coach to eclipse the 100-win plateau in the Herd's 1-0 victory over Alabama A&M. In 2000, Gray passed Jack DeFazio for first place on the all-time victory list in Marshall men's soccer history. Gray won his 300th career game in 1998 when the Herd defeated Eastern Michigan, 3-1, becoming one of only 10 active Division I coaches to achieve this milestone.
Prior to Marshall, Gray had an extremely successful stint at the University of Mobile, where he compiled a 47-12-4 record in three seasons.. Gray's time at Mobile culminated in 1994 when he led the Rams to a 21-4 record and reached the NAIA National Championship game.
Before Mobile, Gray spent 14 years as head coach of Alderson-Broaddus College - his alma-mater - from 1978-91. Gray guided the Battlers to five appearances in the NAIA National Tournament, and in those five appearances, saw his teams finish second (1981 and 1988) and third (1983 and 1991) twice. On his way to 255 wins, Gray became one of the winningest coaches in NAIA history, and in 1998 was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame. Gray was a five-time Area Coach of the Year and was named NSCAA National Coach of the Year in 1991. He was also named West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year five times and captured seven league titles.
Gray has become very involved in the local and national soccer communities. He is the director of the local West Virginia Rowdies youth club teams that have won multiple state championships. In 2004, he was appointed to the USSF National Instructional Staff.
Gray's love of the game shows in his coaching philosophy, as he stresses both hard work, and the importance of having fun.
Gray and his wife Kay have two children; Nicole and Matthew.