Fort Hays State University Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gerry Cleary as the new head men's soccer coach at FHSU. Cleary becomes the second head coach in program history, taking over a program that claimed four of the last five NCAA Central Regional titles and made its first national semifinal appearance in 2018.
"I am excited, grateful and humble to have the opportunity to take the reins of such a great program at such a great school," said Cleary. "I look forward to building on to such a successful team."
Cleary has three NAIA national championships to his credit as a head coach, all at Martin Methodist College. He guided the Martin Methodist women's program to national championships in 2005 and 2007. After coaching the women's program at Martin Methodist for eight seasons, he took over the men's program in 2011. Following a combined 21-13-1 in his first two seasons coaching the men's program, Cleary guided the RedHawks to the national championship in 2013 with a record of 19-2-2. Cleary became the first coach ever in collegiate soccer to win national championships with both a women's and men's program at the same school.
As head coach of the women's program at Martin Methodist, Cleary compiled a record of 137-27-11 (.814) over his eight seasons guiding the program. His teams won seven consecutive conference regular season and tournament titles from 2004 to 2010. As head coach of the men's program for three seasons (2011-2013), Cleary compiled a record of 40-15-3 (.716) and guided the team to the Southern States Athletic Conference title in 2013. Overall, in 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Cleary has a record of 177-42-14 (.790) with 15 conference championships (regular season and tournament combined).
Cleary earned NAIA National Coach of the Year honors three times, twice for women's soccer (2005 and 2007) and once for men's soccer (2013). He also earned NSCAA NAIA National Coach of the Year twice, NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year twice, and NAIA Region XI Coach of the Year twice. He was the TransSouth Athletic Conference Coach of the Year seven times in his tenure as the women's coach at Martin Methodist.
Following his third national championship season at Martin Methodist, Cleary moved on to serve as an assistant coach for four years at the NCAA Division I level at California State University-Bakersfield, where he assisted Richie Grant. During his time in Bakersfield, he also served as Director of Coaching for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Club Central California Aztecs.
"Coach Cleary is highly respected among his soccer coaching peers and brings a great deal of experience and expertise to our men's soccer program," FHSU Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke said. "We're excited about his leadership of our student-athletes moving forward."
Cleary played for Richie Grant at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee from 1995-98, where he was a three-time All-America and four-time All Mid-South Conference selection. Cleary twice earned Mid-South Conference Player of the Year honors and helped his university to three conference championships.
Cleary received his bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from Lambuth University in 1999. He then earned a master's degree in Educational, Instructional, and Curriculum Supervision from Christian Brothers University in 2002, where he also served as an assistant coach for both the men's and women's soccer programs. Working under head coach Gareth O'Sullivan at Christian Brothers, they won eight Gulf South Conference Championships with both programs combined, finishing with a Division II Women's National Championship in 2002.
Cleary has also coached Rocket City United in the National Premier Soccer League, located in Huntsville, Alabama. Cleary's coaching tips have been published multiple times in World Soccer Magazine and World Class Coaching – the world's leading resource magazine for soccer coaches.