August 7, 2012
SHARING THE LOAD
UMass assistant O'Neill will have expanded role as Koch battles cancer
AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts head men’s soccer coach Sam Koch has informed his team and the Department of Athletics that he has been diagnosed and is soon to begin receiving treatment for a form of cancer. Koch will continue to serve as the head coach of the men’s soccer team with daily operations being handled by assistant coach Devin O’Neill.
“Sam spoke with the team this morning as they returned to begin preseason training. He will begin treatments soon and will continue to serve as our head coach for the men’s soccer program,” said Director of Athletics John McCutcheon. “The team, his staff and the athletic department fully support Sam in this battle.”
“This is obviously a difficult time for my family and myself,” said Koch. “However, we have some of the best doctors in the country in terms of cancer treatment and I will face this challenge knowing I have a tremendous support system both at home and at UMass. I told my players to focus on the goals we put in place every year which includes winning an Atlantic 10 Championship; they must not dwell on my situation, but continue to do the right things on and off the field as they have done in the past.”
“I feel extremely fortunate and confident with my staff led by Devin O’Neill whose professional experience and wealth of knowledge will ensure that things don’t miss a beat when I am undergoing treatments. The staff will be able to handle anything throughout the season and I’m expecting things to run as smoothly as before.”
“The cancer is isolated to the sinus area and with a treatment schedule that begins during the pre-season, the plan my doctors have in line for me should have me back fully on the sidelines for the start of the Atlantic 10 season. My plan is to be completely back for that and to have the program ready for postseason play in November.”
Koch enters his 23rd year at UMass and 28th overall. He has guided UMass to three NCAA Tournaments including 2007 run to the NCAA College Cup Semifinals. He is the winningest coach in program history with 213 wins at UMass and 271 for his career.