It took less than two weeks following his hiring as head men's soccer coach at Notre Dame for Chris Apple to begin assembling his staff. And the first person Apple looked to was Mike Avery, an individual with head coaching experience within the collegiate ranks.
Avery was named an assistant in March following three seasons as head men's soccer coach at Cal State University San Bernardino. In addition to his duties with the men's soccer program, he also served as head coach of the women's program for the 1998 and 1999 campaigns.
In three campaigns as men's coach at Cal State San Bernardino, Avery was instrumental in developing the Coyote program in the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). His teams showed steady improvement during his tenure with his 1999 squad compiling a 7-11-2 record. In three seasons, the Coyotes compiled an 18-38-4 mark.
In two seasons as the women's coach at Cal State San Bernardino, his teams were 15-19-1. His '98 squad finished with a 7-7-1 record while tying for third in the CCAA south division standings.
That was not Avery's first experience coaching the women's game. While a graduate student in Wichita Falls, Texas, at Midwestern State University, Avery coached the Express Soccer Club (an under-19 girls' team) to the North Texas state championship in 1993.
Avery began his coaching career at nearby Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.) in 1994 when the native of San Jose, Calif., transformed that program into one of the top small college NAIA men's soccer teams. In his final season in 1996, he led a team which had won just three games prior to his arrival to a 17-4-1 mark as the Pilots won the school's first-ever Mid-Central Conference crown. In three seasons at Bethel, his team posted an overall 43-21-2 mark. In Avery's first campaign (1994), the Pilots had a 10-9-1 record and then improved that by six wins the following season as they posted a 16-8-0 ledger. His efforts earned him conference coach-of-the-year honors in both 1995 and 1996 as well as Great Lakes Region coach-of-the-year accolades.
Avery played from 1986-89 at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he was a four-time all-conference and all-Far West standout for the NAIA school which made three national tournament appearances during his four seasons. In his senior season, he served as team captain on a squad which advanced to the national semifinals in '89.
Born Sept. 19, 1968, he received his degree in physical education in 1990, and following graduation, played professionally both in the United States and abroad for several teams. During a four-year span, he enjoyed stints with Real Santa Barbara, the Chicago Power and Askims (Sweden). He also served as a player-coach for the Indiana Invaders.
Avery, whose wife Carin is the assistant women's volleyball coach at Valparaiso University, received his master's degree in kinesiology from Midwestern State in 1994.
Mike is a terrific addition to our coaching staff, Apple says.
I have known him for four years and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with him. His soccer knowledge, integrity and work ethic will prove invaluable to our soccer program at Notre Dame.