Alex Elias '08 has been named the fifth men's soccer head coach at Middlebury since 1958. He replaces 33-year veteran David Saward, who recently stepped down. Elias won an NCAA Championship as a player with the Panthers in 2007 and recently finished his fourth season as the team's top assistant coach last fall.
"To put it simply, this is the highest honor for which I could ask," said Elias. "I am proud of the tradition of excellence and character that is Middlebury Men's Soccer and am eager to continue it. The enduring friendship and support of the Middlebury Men's Soccer alumni only increases the meaning and privilege of this appointment."
"It became clear over the past few years that Alex was the best choice to take over from his mentor, David Saward," said Director of Athletics Erin Quinn. "He is respected by peers within the department, the conference and by the student-athletes he has served. He was an outstanding student-athlete at Middlebury, excelling both on the field and as a leader as well as in the classroom."
Since returning to Middlebury, Elias has helped guide the Panthers to the NESCAC Semifinals each of his four seasons, including an appearance in the 2017 championship match. During his tenure, he has aided in the development of 17 All-NESCAC players, the 2014 NESCAC Player of the Year, three All-Americans and three Academic All-Americans. In the classroom over the past three years, the Panthers have earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic award each year, achieving the 10th-highest GPA in the nation across all divisions in 2014.
Prior to working at Middlebury, Elias spent three seasons as the lead assistant and recruiting coordinator at Division I Long Island University-Brooklyn (LIU). While at LIU, Elias helped mentor a member of the Canadian National Team, an Academic All-American, an All-Northeast Region Player and three All-NEC Players.
During his four-year playing career at Middlebury, Elias played in three NESCAC Championships and captained the 2007 team to NCAA and NESCAC Championship crowns. Elias received First-Team All-American, First-Team All-New England and First-Team All-NESCAC honors. He was also named a CoSIDA District I All-Academic selection with a 3.71 grade point average.
Following his playing career, Elias engaged in multiple non-profit service ventures. He spent a year living in Kimberley, South Africa, working with Grassroot Soccer. The group is a non-profit organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Upon returning to the United States, Elias moved to Brooklyn, New York, as a part of the Teach For America program, a national teacher corps of recent college graduates and professionals, who commit to teach in under-resourced public schools.
A Manchester, Vermont native, Elias was an NSCAA High School All-American at Burr & Burton. He was the Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year and has been inducted into his high school's athletic hall of fame. Elias graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts in economics from Middlebury in 2008 and earned an M.A. in psychology from LIU Brooklyn in 2013.
"I would like to thank Erin Quinn, David Saward and the rest of the athletic department for their support over the past four years; and, for graciously welcoming me into the head coaching position," added Elias. "I could not be more honored or excited to work with my colleagues and to lead our men's soccer program forward."