When you think of St. John's Men's Soccer, the first two words that come to mind are drive and success.
Of all the programs at the University, no program, arguably, is more driven than men's soccer, which has grown from a middle-of-the-pack BIG EAST contender to the most successful at the school, and one of the best in the country.
Want success? It's not hard to find when you examine the records. Since 1991, the St. John's men's soccer team has won one NCAA National Championship (1996), reached two NCAA Final Fours (1996, 2001), six BIG EAST Tournament Championships, four BIG EAST Conference regular season titles and been ranked among the top-20 teams in the country 10 times.
And that's just on the field.
Off of it, the program has produced numerous players who have gone on to play professionally - three are playing in Europe, three are in the MLS, with several others playing in smaller leagues. In addition, more than a half-dozen players have earned Academic All-American honors.
Much of that drive and success comes from the man guiding the program, 13th-year Head Coach Dave Masur.
Masur was tabbed as the head coach at St. John's following an outstanding four-year stint at Montclair (N.J.) State, where he guided the team to an ECAC Regional title, the New Jersey Athletic Conference title and two NCAA Division III Tournaments.
In his 12 years at St. John's, Masur has established himself as the one of the most successful coaches in the country, and the winningest in program history. Under his tutelage, the Red Storm have won the BIG EAST Championship in four straight seasons (1992-95), reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times and gave St. John's its first NCAA Championship of any kind in 1996. Two years ago, the Red Storm won their 10th BIG EAST Championship (combined regular and postseason) and advanced to the 2001 Final Four. Last year, the program opened its new on-campus, state-of-the-art field - Belson Stadium - and was ranked No. 1 in the country for five-straight weeks.
On top of that, Masur's players have been just as successful off the field. Senior Chris Wingert has earned Verizon Academic All-American honors the last two years, taking home first-team honors last year after earning third-team honors in 2001. In 2000, Omar Chavez and Jeff Stoklosa were named to the Verizon Academic All-America District I team, while Stoklosa went on to earn first-team national honors, one of four SJU student-athletes to earn that honor.
Last year's team reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, but also had 21 of its 24 team members post grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher. The 1999 team was recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America with its College Team Academic Award, recognizing the elite programs in the country. In 1998, the NSCAA named Stefani Miglioranzi a first-team All-East Regional Scholar-Athlete, while Danny Parkin earned honorable mention honors. In 1995, senior Ben Hickey was named a first-team Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America Scholar-Athlete All-America and earned ISAA Scholar-Athlete New York Regional All-American honors. In addition, nine members of his 1999 team were named to the St. John's Department of Athletics Honor Roll, recognizing student-athletes achieving a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
Eight different student-athletes have earned various All-American honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, 21 different student-athletes have been named Regional All-Americans and 43 players have been named All-BIG EAST.
Since his arrival in 1991, each St. John's men's soccer team has had surpassing success. Each season, the team has built upon the success it had achieved the year before.
In Masur's first season at St. John's, the team made its first-ever appearance in the BIG EAST Championship game. That same year, the team won 12 games, the most ever in a season to that point.
The next season, the Red Storm made their second-straight appearance in the conference tournament championship. The result was the team's first-ever BIG EAST Championship and its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. That squad also became the first team to post a perfect 8-0 mark in the BIG EAST since round robin play began in 1990. The eight wins earned the team its first regular season championship in the BIG EAST as well.
In 1993, Masur guided his team to a repeat performance as BIG EAST regular season and Tournament Champions, and a second-straight berth in the NCAA Championship Tournament. That season, Masur made history by directing his team to the school's first undefeated regular season in 70 years. In 1994, Masur led his troops to their third-straight BIG EAST Tournament title with an impressive 14-5-3 record. By winning the 1994 BIG EAST Tournament, Masur led the Red Storm to its third-straight NCAA Tournament and became the first head coach in BIG EAST history to win back-to-back-to-back championships. In 1995, after graduating seven starters from the most successful recruiting class St. John's has ever known, Masur directed his squad to its unprecedented fourth-straight BIG EAST Tournament title and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The team achieved its fourth-highest win total in school history with a 16-5-1 mark, finishing fourth in the newly expanded BIG EAST Conference.
And just when things were going well, they got better in 1996.
That year, Masur guided the Red Storm to the most successful season any sport has experienced at St. John's. He navigated the Storm to a 22-2-2 record and the school's first ever NCAA Championship. As a result, Masur was honored as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America-Umbro National Coach-of-the-Year for 1996 after being named the Northeast Regional Coach-of-the-Year. With the motto "Dream It!, Believe It!, and Achieve It!," the team stormed through a record-setting season.
The 1996 team set new records for wins in a season (22), goals (80), assists (88) and points (248). After winning the previous four BIG EAST Tournaments and losing in the first round of the four previous NCAA Tournaments, it was an omen that the Red Storm was ousted in the semifinals of the 1996 BIG EAST Tournament. St. John's earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and won five-straight games, beating Florida International, 4-1, in the championship game, to raise its record in the NCAA Tournament to 5-4.
In 1997, the Red Storm followed up their national title by capturing another BIG EAST regular season title and earned their sixth consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament. St. John's continued to put forth record-breaking performances, with the defense anchoring the team's success. The Red Storm "D" set a new school record for shutouts in a season with 15 and registered a record-breaking fewest average goals allowed mark of 0.54.
In 1998, Masur and his Red Storm squad made BIG EAST Conference history by capturing their league-best fifth conference tournament championship in the last seven years with a 4-1 win over Georgetown in the title game. Masur led the team to its seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a 16-5-3 record. SJU's stellar defense was once again ranked among the nation's best, finishing 21st overall. As a team, the Red Storm also registered impressive conference statistics, ranking third in goals scored with 44 and third in assists with 45. The defense allowed just 0.84 goals per game, third-best in the BIG EAST, and recorded six shutouts, best in the conference. Also during the 1998 campaign, Masur reached the 180th win of his career with a 1-0 decision over Rutgers (10/28/98).
In 2000, the Red Storm finished 14-5-2 overall, the eighth time in 10 years under Masur that the team had won at least 14 games. In addition, the team finished 8-2-1 in the BIG EAST, good enough for second place overall. That earned the team a bid to its ninth-straight NCAA Tournament, where they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, one of only five schools to advance that far in the last five years. Among the highlights were a team win at the UCONN Soccer Classic, when St. John's beat preseason No. 1 ranked Duke, 1-0, in the opener, and followed that up with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over Wake Forest.
The Red Storm began a spectacular 2001 season with a win at the Indiana University Classic, beating the host Hoosiers in the season opener. That was a sign of things to come, as the Red Storm went 12 games without a loss and ended the regular season with an 11-2-3 mark. In the postseason, St. John's posted three straight 1-0 wins (over Boston College, Notre Dame and Connecticut) to win the program's league record sixth BIG EAST Tournament Championship. Following home wins over Massachusetts and Penn State, the Red Storm upended previously unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Southern Methodist on the road for the team's second-ever trip to the Final Four. The season ended with a 2-1 overtime loss to Indiana, but with a 17-3-3 overall record.
Last year, the team overcame a season-opening loss to win five-straight games - all by shutout - and earned the No. 1 ranking in the country for the first time in program history during the regular season, a spot they held for five weeks. They won three regular season tournaments - two Daly Worldwide Communications Classic titles and the Rutgers Classic - and opened Belson Stadium against Wake Forest in front of a sellout crowd of 2,266. After reaching the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals, St. John's was tabbed as the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, its highest ever. The Red Storm finished the season 13-3-5 overall, ranked sixth in the country and led the nation with a 0.44 goals-against average.
Since his arrival in 1991, Masur has guided St. John's to an incredible record in the BIG EAST during the regular season. The Red Storm have posted an 84-17-11 mark in the 11 seasons under Masur's tutelage and posted a more impressive .799 winning percentage. St. John's put together back-to-back 9-1-1 records in conference play and is the only school to record not one, but two, undefeated regular seasons since the conference converted to a round robin format in 1990.
He joined the Red Storm program in 1991, after guiding Montclair State to a 53-21-6 record and a .700 winning percentage in four seasons. In his first season, he led the team to a 7-5-2 record after they had recorded just four wins in 1986. Masur took the Redhawks to the ECAC New York-New Jersey Regional Championship with a 17-4-3 record in 1988. The next season, he led State to a 13-8-1 mark, the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship and to the NCAA Regionals. In his final season, in 1990, the Redhawks posted a 16-4-0 mark and reached the NCAA Tournament.
Masur has been duly recognized for his accomplishments in the coaching profession. He has received 13 Coach-of-the-Year honors in his 13 seasons as a head coach.
His first such honor came at Montclair State in 1987, when he coached the Redhawks to a 7-5-2 record after having only won four games the season prior. In 1989, Masur won two awards, one from the New Jersey Athletic Conference and the other as the New Jersey College coach of the year. Masur brought State to the NCAA Regionals for the second-straight time in 1990, while amassing a 16-4-0 record.
In his time at St. John's, Masur has received seven additional awards. In 1991 and 1993, he was named the BIG EAST Coach-of-the-Year and Northeast Regional Coach-of-the-Year. The latter award put him in the company of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year honors. In 1996, when St. John's won the national championship, Masur was named the Northeast Regional Coach-of-the-Year and was crowned National Coach-of-the-Year. This past season, he was named Soccer America's Coach of the Year.
Masur began his coaching career at his alma mater, Rutgers University, in 1984. He was an assistant to his former coach, Bob Reaso, for two seasons, before taking the job at Montclair State.
Masur's talent does not only lie in his coaching ability. He was a very accomplished player at Rutgers, becoming the only Scarlet Knight to win back-to-back All-American honors, which he earned in 1983 and 1984, respectively. Masur was named to the All-Regional team as a sweeper from 1982-84. He was also named the team's most valuable player in 1982 and 1983, respectively, and served as the team's captain from 1982-84. For his accomplishments, Masur was inducted into the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame, only the third soccer player to earn that distinction.
Following his graduation in 1984, Masur went on to play professionally with the Chicago Sting, the Toledo Pride, New Jersey Eagles, the Penn Jersey Spirit and the New Jersey Imperials.
In 1989, Rutgers paid him the ultimate tribute by retiring the jersey he wore as a player.
Masur earned a master's degree in physical education, with a concentration in administration, from Montclair State in 1991. He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, where he was an All-American midfielder.
In addition, Masur earned his doctorate in education administration supervision from St. John's in May 2003.
Masur, and his wife, Shannon, have three daughters, Samantha, Jessica and Sidney, and a son, Christopher David. They reside in Montclair, New Jersey.