Kevin Langan 1.0

Kevin Langan after Friday's men's soccer clash against Detroit Mercy.

Since 2006, Coach John Tart's 117 wins have been the hallmark of excellence in the pages of 49er soccer history. Eighteen years later, a new man, Head Coach Kevin Langan, is set to take his place at the top.

It took Tart 237 matches to achieve the record. Langan reached it 46 games quicker.

Before Charlotte

Long before donning the green and white, Kevin Langan was a star in his own right. He began a career in professional soccer at age 18. Langan later helped the University of Bath's 2000-01 team win a championship. In 2001 and 2003, he represented Great Britain as part of the national team in the World University Games.

Langan's time at the University of Bath gave way to a first experience in coaching through internships and obtaining a degree in coaching education and sports performance. When he came to the United States, an interest in the field became a passion.

"My old soccer coach asked me to take a few U9 teams (under nine years old), and I just had a blast. It was so much fun teaching the game I love, watching how they could improve, how they could learn those lessons that soccer gives you about life… that was when I thought, 'oh, I really like this [so] maybe there could be a future in it for me," said Langan.

Serving as Assistant Coach

In 2009, the 49ers attained a season with an over .700 win percentage, the first since 1994. Then-Head Coach Jeremy Gunn was starting his third year at the position. After spending a year coaching in Texas, a new assistant coach, Langan, joined the staff. 

By 2011, Charlotte would fight for the national championship.

His talents stuck out at the time. Now an assistant coach, Charles Rodriguez played for Charlotte that year; he experienced first-hand the value of Langan.

"Kevin [was] one where you just had to enjoy picking his brain and listening," said Rodriguez. "For me in my off-days, I would come down and watch film – I don't know if he remembers – but he would sit and watch film with me. [I] learned to view the game [through] a different lens."

Charlotte found itself without a commander in the wake of coach Gunn's retirement. After only three years with the team, Langan got his chance to take the reins. 

"All of a sudden – I was 32, I believe – I got the head coaching job," said Langan. "I felt it had come a little too soon for me, but I was very determined."

Tenure as Head Coach 

From the start, Langan set the bar high. In his first year, the 2012 men's soccer team earned a .750 win percentage, good enough for one of the top five best seasons in program history. Even more impressive, under Langan, five seasons had higher than a .700 win percentage; no other coach has ever accomplished more than three.

Out of ten years as head coach, nine have seen Charlotte make the NCAA Tournament.

What sets him apart?

Alex Willis, a graduate student with three years out on the pitch for Charlotte, attributes it to Langan's keen eye. 

"He's obsessed, and obsessed in a good way, with attention to detail… he knows what he wants, and he's going to implement that one way or another," said Willis. 

Senior Kameron Lacey feels that Langan does the work when people aren't watching. 

"I think what goes unnoticed is the hard work… that he puts [in] off the field… in the office, when no one's watching."

Charles Rodriguez talks of his dedication to their craft from the coach's perspective. 

"I would say it is… infectious, the energy that he drives and puts into the program. It makes me better; it makes [assistant coach] Shane better," said Rodriguez. 

Breaking the Record

To some, the chance to set a lasting legacy is the pursuit of a lifetime; Langan seemed little impressed by his shot at history.

"I'm not really big on the legacy," he explained. "I don't really concern myself with what other people are thinking too much. All I want to do is put out a team that first and foremost makes me proud."

On the evening of Sept. 9, the men's soccer team took the field at home against Detroit Mercy. Under the hot summer sun, Langan led his squad to victory in a dominating 5-0 match.

As the crowd cheered on in celebration, not only for the team but for the record-breaking tenure of the great chieftain, the coach looked none stirred by the moment. The man from Jersey had made history an ocean away from home, but what mattered more was his team and the game that he loved.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.