August 30, 2017

Rest in Peace, Matt Cushing

By Christan Shirk

Wheaton (Mass.) head men's soccer coach Matt Cushing passed away unexpectedly on Monday, August 28 on the threshhold of the 2017 season. It was to be Cushing's twenty-fourth season at the helm of the program where he had amassed over 300 wins. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst graduate came to Wheaton College after spending time on the coaching staffs at his alma mater as well as Division I Rutgers University and Lafayette College. He also coached the men's lacrosse team for a few years in the 90's. He is survived by his wife, Jessica, and four children Connor, Charlie, Grace, and Emma. There will be a public wake at Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home in Sandwich, Mass., on Thursday, August 31 from 3-7 p.m.

In 23 seasons, Cushing guided the Lyons to 328 victories and in the process became the 43rd men's coach in Division III history to reach the 300-win milestone. His career record of 328-113-43 (.722) placed him 16th among active Division III men's coaches in winning percentage heading into the new season. Since Cushing's arrival in Norton, MA in 1994, the Lyons have not suffered a single losing season. They have claimed eight NEWMAC titles under his guidance and participated in five ECAC tournamens and ten NCAA tournaments. The Lyons' most successful four-year stretch with him in charge (2000-2003) culminated in a trip to the 2003 Final Four where they were ousted by eventual runner-up Drew on penalty kicks in the semifinal. The Lyons had broken Drew's all-divisions record 17-game shutout streak with the game's first goal two minutes from time, but conceded the equalizer half a minute later. The 2001 squad may have been even better, finishing with a program best 21-2-0 record and reaching the Elite 8 where they were beaten 2-1 by defedning champion Messiah on their home field.

Cushing has earned numerous awards and honors, the highest being the NSCAA New England Region Coach of the Year in 2001. He was also named coach of the year by the Eastern Massachusetts Soccer Coaches Association (EMSCA) in 2000 and by the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League (NEISL) in 1997 and 2001. The NEWMAC selected him as their coach of the year in 1998 and 2001. In addition to coaching, Cushing has served as both a regional and national ranking committee chair for the NSCAA. For four years as chair of the NCAA's New England Regional Advisory Committee he sat on the Division III Men’s Soccer Committee tasked with administrating the NCAA tournament, including making at-large tournament selections. Cushing also helped in the development of the Liverpool Football Club International Academy of Massachusetts and remained on the coaching staff.

Matt graduated from Duxbury High School where he helped his team to four consecutive state championships. He was named a Parade Magazine All-American soccer player and was inducted into the high school's Hall of Fame in 2008. At UMass-Amherst where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Sports Management, Cushing captained the Minutemen soccer team as a junior and senior.

Not only was Matt a dedicated coach, but he was a mentor and friend to many of his players. He also was a loving father and husband, and cherished spending time with his family, even finding time in his busy schedule to coach his own children's youth club soccer teams. He was an avid outdoorsman exploring fishing, skiing, and sailing on Big Sandy Pond.

Matt Cushing's passing is a huge loss to the Wheaton men's soccer program, the Lyon's athletic department and the entire college community, as well as to Division III soccer. All at wish to extend their sympathies to Matt's wife, children, and entire family who are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.

Wheaton College Release
Wheaton College Coaching Bio


Comments or feedback for the author? Email Christan Shirk.

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