Coach Dave Elligott

Coach Elligott trades soccer duties for finance career

December 4, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

Dave Elligott and his wife Patty are headed to Hawaii in January. But unfortunately for SFU it’s not just a winter holiday.            

The stellar head coach of the Clan men’s soccer team is leaving the university after seven years on staff for a new international finance career in Honolulu, working with a company that trades on the Tokyo stock exchange.

Elligott took over the men’s soccer program from Keith Watts in 2001, guiding the Clan to an impressive 82-32-9 record (17-2-1 in 2007) and five National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship appearances over seven seasons.

“The decision to leave SFU is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my personal or professional life,” says Elligott, who will finish out the fall semester and assist in the transition to a new coach.

“But I have been offered what only can be called a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I believe that now is the right time to take my life in a new direction.”

So how does a varsity soccer coach – albeit one with an SFU BA in criminology and business administration – end up in high finance? “I asked myself the same question when the company approached me,” says Elligott, who has agreed to keep the organization’s name confidential for now.

“But the more we spoke and exchanged ideas the more I realized that it’s not going to be all that different than what I’ve been doing here. They were looking for someone with proven leadership and people skills who could galvanize a group of people into a successful team and who wouldn’t crumble under pressure.”

Elligott clearly fits the profile. As a coach at SFU, he was twice named the NAIA Region I Coach of the Year (2003, 2007), and guided the Clan to five NAIA National Championship appearances in seven seasons, including their first Final Four appearance since 1991 this year.

He was also recently named 2007 coach of the year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

As for what he’ll miss the most, Elligott doesn’t hesitate: “The players – no question about it. The team is absolutely filled with not only great players but just top-quality young men. That was really the part of the decision that kept me up at night.

“But I’m also going to miss the department and the university and the people I’ve worked with.”

And of course, there’s the game itself: “Soccer has been a part of my daily life since I was five years old so that’s one of the scariest things about leaving.”

But the beautiful thing about the beautiful game is it’s universal popularity, says Elligott. “If I do miss it, I won’t have to look to hard to get involved over there.”

And Elligott says he’ll never be out of touch with the lads or with how the Clan is doing. “It’ll be the first thing I check every morning on my daily Web surfing.”
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