LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- 19 seasons, 200 wins, and counting. Women's soccer head coach Mark Duble reached the 200-win plateau on Saturday night with Covenant's 2-0 win over Tennessee Temple. Duble is the third coach all-time to reach 200 victories at Covenant behind former men's soccer coach Dr. Brian Crossman and longtime, now current, women's basketball coach Tami Smialek.
A Covenant graduate, Duble was named the first head coach of the women's soccer program in 1993 before the program became varsity in the 1994 season. In that 1994 season, Covenant finished 10-6 overall and the program would experience winning seasons in each of the first four years. Duble has had just two sub-.500 years with 16 years at .500 or above.
Throughout his 19 years of service, Duble has made an impact on almost every player that has come through the program. Former players speak fondly of the way he helped them in their soccer ability and in their walk with Christ.
"In my first meeting with him, he looked me dead in the eye and ticked off his priorities on three fingers: God first, academics second, and soccer third," said Sarah Williams ('10), who played four years under Duble. "And in the four incredible years that followed, I cannot say how much I appreciated having a coach that put the condition of my faith first, the success of my academics second, and the development of my athletic skills third."
Duble has lived up to those principles he laid out for Williams throughout the 19 years. Several players have earned all-academic honors and the team GPA in the spring 2012 semester was 3.31. More importantly, Duble has made a commitment to help grow his players' walk with Christ.
"Coach Duble taught me what it means to love Christ and put him first in my life and everything else will fall into place," commented former four-year player Laura McCaleb Annessi ('08). "He taught me to work hard in all that I do so as working unto the Lord (Col. 3:23)."
"Under Coach Duble, I learned what it meant to play for God's glory," noted Caitlin Ezell ('11). "In wins, God is good. In losses, God is good. Covenant's soccer team on a small scale demonstrated what the body of Christ is supposed to look like."
Four-year player, Ashley Wood ('07) or "Woody" had this to say: "To me, Coach Duble was more than a coach. He was a father figure and a mentor. He cared about our abilities as players but more importantly about our hearts as believers. My four years of playing at Covenant was the most joy I ever got out of soccer.
Part of what makes Duble a great coach and leader is his ability to connect with his players on a personal level, while also possessing a great mind for soccer tactics.
Former four-year player, Kyria Johnson tells of the way Duble connected with his players. "His constant teasing and laughing were never without lots of love and hugs," noted Johnson ('09). "That is how he brought me and everyone into the Lady Scots family, and he does it so effectively."
Although Duble likes to keep things upbeat for his teams, players also speak of his ability to get teams focused on the task at hand. "The more I think about it the more I realize that while I can't remember every game I can remember the moments before every game," noted Desiree Robinson ('09) who also played four years under Duble. "He would talk a little strategy here and there, but more importantly he would set our minds on the higher goal."
Current assistant coach and a former player herself, Dana Streufert says Duble "is definitely the most competitive coach I have played for, but his passion to win games was never at the expense of his beliefs or passion to represent Christ. In victories, he would never take credit for his tactical ability to coach us in ways that allowed us to win. Instead he would praise the performance of his players and remind us to be thankful not for the win, but for the abilities and bodies God gave us to play."
Through it all, the wins, the losses, the highs and lows, players speak volumes about Duble's impact on their lives as a whole. "My time being a Lady Scot and being coached by Duble will forever be one of the most cherished times in my life," said Kristine Solis, who played four years for Duble and is affectionately referred to as "Bonzai" by the Coach because of her Irish/Mexican heritage. "I was able to be a part of a team that first and foremost loved Jesus as well as have success on the pitch."
Duble's leadership both on and off the field has been beneficial to players as they move on from Covenant. "The Lord has provided him with a leadership presence that demands excellence from his players," said Jill Schlink ('12) a three-year player for Duble. "Playing for Coach Duble was not just playing on a soccer team; it was being a part of a family that I will remember forever."
"Soccer at Covenant under Coach Duble's leadership became more than just a game; it became a ministry," added Wood. "I was encouraged to use soccer as a way to glorify God through my talents and abilities, and asked to truly love the opponents."
"The Lord used those years of playing to shape me, stretch me, and bless me in ways I never thought possible," added Leigh Graham ('10), another four-year player. "I'm so thankful to be among the many 'Daughters of Scotland.'"
Longtime assistant coach, Gene Ezell says that "coaching with Mark has not just been a 'working' relationship. I have learned so much from him, not just in terms of coaching, but in my walk with the Lord, in interacting in a positive manner with other coaches, and how to 'read' players in order to coach them better."
Perhaps former three-year player Adrienne Saxon ('10) sums it up best when describing Duble: "He has created an amazing legacy and tradition with the Lady Scots. Players who played for him years apart share in the same great memories of what being a Lady Scot means."
An amazing legacy indeed, and one that continues to grow with each passing season.
Additional coverage: Chattanooga Times Free Press - "Covenant College's Duble to 200 Wins" (Ron Bush)