Wade Jean heads into his eighth season at the helm of the Saint Michael's men's soccer program in 2017, and his sixth since returning to the institution for a second stint after also guiding the team in 2006 and 2007. The Saint Albans, Vt., native has a .504 winning percentage, the highest in the program's 57-year history.
Jean also serves as the Saint Michael's Department of Athletics' tickets manager.
A 2016 team that saw six key players miss major stretches utilized 15 players who either were in their first season of college soccer or their initial season holding a critical role on the team. The Purple Knights still finished 5-10-1 overall and 3-9-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference, starting the year with their second Catholic Cup crown in three seasons, before all 10 of their losses came by two goals or fewer. Four consecutive one-goal setbacks to begin October - including the final three against eventual NE10 Championship qualifiers - damaged their postseason hopes.
In 2015, the Purple Knights (8-9-1, 5-7-1) made a return to the NE-10 Championship for the first time in eight years, and for the third time in Jean's tenure. His squad allowed one goal or less eight times, posting six shutouts, while downing regionally-ranked Bentley University and Southern Connecticut State University during the season. After a late-season 3-1-1 surge helped them clinch a postseason bid, the eighth-seeded Purple Knights lost to No. 1 Southern New Hampshire University, 3-0, during a quarterfinal contest. Not only did Saint Michael's square off with a perennial league power - the Penmen would go on to win their fourth straight NE-10 Championship - but SNHU later advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The Purple Knights posted at least eight wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007, and claimed their best NE-10 winning percentage in five years.
The Purple Knights won the season-opening Catholic Cup in 2014 and knocked off regionally-ranked Le Moyne College before themselves earning a regional ranking during a 5-0 start, which included four straight shutouts to begin the fall. Four of their losses ended up being sustained by one goal during a 9-8 campaign, as they matched their highest win total since 2007. Seven shutouts were the most by Saint Michael's since 2009. With their second straight 5-8 NE-10 record, the Purple Knights matched their highest league victories figure since 2006. With a season-ending 1-0 victory over Assumption College on Oct. 31, the Purple and Gold handed Jean his 150th career head coaching win.
During the fall of 2013, the Purple Knights started league play 5-1 for the first time in program annals on the strength of shutout victories over regionally-ranked Bentley University and Merrimack College. Saint Michael's was also one of just four teams to hold a lead at any point that season against eventual national champion Southern New Hampshire University, netting the opening goal on Oct. 16.
Jean guided the Purple Knights to their most profilic offensive showing during the fall of 2012, setting school records for goals (36) and points (100). While posting 28 assists, Saint Michael's came within one of a 26-year-old mark. By sporting a 1.05 goals-against average, Jean's charges have now posted three of the top seven GAAs in program annals.
In his initial stint with the Purple Knights, Jean inherited a program that had qualified for the NE-10 Tournament five times in its first 19 seasons of league play. He promptly led the program to NE-10 Tournament berths both years at the helm, posting a 21-10-8 overall record and a 12-8-6 league mark. The 2006 squad's third-place regular-season showing was its best since 1988, and its NE-10 Tournament semifinal appearance was the program's first in 18 years. He was named NE-10 Coach of the Year in 2006. The year before Jean's arrival, the Purple Knights allowed 37 goals in 18 games; during his two seasons, the Purple and Gold yielded 28 in 39 contests, posting 20 shutouts.
Between 2008 and 2011, Jean coached with the Division I University of Vermont, helping the program qualify for the America East Conference Tournament three times while going 11-11-7 in the conference. Vermont knocked off a pair of nationally-ranked foes in that stretch, including No. 13 Stanford University on Sept. 1, 2010. Jean was an assistant in 2008 before serving three falls as the associate head coach.
Jean, who holds a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Coaching License, is 163-125-39 in 18 seasons as a college head coach. He has also served as the director of coaching for the Nordic Soccer Club in Essex, Vt., since 2006.
Prior to Saint Michael's, Jean was the head coach from 1998 to 2005 at Division I Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, being named Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year four times in his eight seasons. He left with the school record for victories, going 82-54-15. The Dukes posted five 13-win seasons, including each year between 2002 and 2005, advancing at least as far as the A-10 Tournament semifinals each of those four years, including to the 2002 title game. Under Jean, the Dukes made it to a pair of tournament championship games and earned at least a share of three A-10 regular-season crowns. Duquesne was ranked as high as 25th in the final 2003 national poll.
Jean was an assistant coach for three seasons from 1995 to 1997 at Division I Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, helping the Falcons to a 52-13-3 record and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Bowling Green won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament all three years. Before his stint at Bowling Green, Jean worked at Division I Illinois State University, serving as a volunteer assistant in 1993 and a graduate assistant in 1994. The Redbirds tied for second place in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) both seasons.
Prior to heading Midwest, Jean spent three seasons (1990-92) as the head coach at Champlain College in Burlington, building the Beavers into one of the region's top Division I National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) programs. Champlain won a program-record 12 games in Jean's final year with the school in 1992. Following a playing career at Johnson State College, Jean spent one season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping the Badgers compile a 16-4-1 record and a berth in the NAIA Tournament in 1989. The Badgers also won Mayflower Conference and North Atlantic regional championships during Jean's year as an assistant.
A high school graduate of Bellows Free Academy in Saint Albans, Jean played soccer for four years at Johnson State, graduating in 1990 with a degree in elementary education. A four-year starter as a defensive midfielder, Jean was a senior captain and led the Badgers to three Mayflower Conference titles. He also earned the Bryan Wendall Award, given to the individual signifying the most dedication to his college's men's soccer program. Jean received his master's degree in health, physical education, recreation and dance from Illinois State in 1996.