LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates College Director of Athletics Jason Fein today announced the appointment of Tyler Sheikh, most recently head coach at Knox College in Illinois, as the ninth head coach in the men's soccer program's 56-year history.
"We are thrilled to welcome Tyler to the Bobcat family," said Fein. "Not only have his teams excelled on the field, but the search committee was also impressed by his passion for educating and supporting the entire person, in all academic and personal pursuits. His commitment to community service, social justice and alumni engagement all helped make him a terrific fit for Bates. I am looking forward to working with him and to the Bobcats continuing their upward climb this fall."
"I've always felt a pull to the NESCAC, the best conference in the country" said Sheikh, referring to Bates' New England Small College Athletic Conference. "Six years ago, an opportunity like this was kind of a pipe dream. Now I feel prepared to realize a goal for me and my budding family: to return home to New England and work with the young men at Bates."
Sheikh says he feels drawn to Bates specifically by its authenticity. "I feel something a little different on campus at Bates, the idea of realness in people. Bates' egalitarian ethos fits me perfectly," he said. A major goal for his Bates program, he says, is mental toughness, "always taking it to the competition. We should be a program that's fun to watch and has fun."
A Connecticut native, Sheikh played soccer at Division I Quinnipiac University, where he earned a history degree in 2008. He has served as head coach at Knox since 2015, compiling a 39-10-9 record, including a 22-2-4 mark in Midwest Conference play. He was head coach at Illinois College in 2014, and prior to that he served as head coach of both men's and women's soccer at Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania for two years. He holds a master's degree in education from the University of Connecticut.
Sheikh's teams have excelled defensively and offensively. In 2017, Knox set conference records with 12 shutouts in 20 games and only one goal allowed in nine league games. In 2015, the team ranked third in Division III in goals scored per game.
At Illinois College in 2014, Sheikh coached the Blueboys to a 10-7-2 record, their first appearance in the conference playoffs in over 20 years, and the school's best-ever conference mark (6-3-1). In 2012 and 2013, he was credited with turning around the Mount Aloysius men's and women's teams, winning 2013 Men's Soccer Coach of the Year honors in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. Sheikh also served as assistant athletic director and sports information director at Mt. Aloysius.
Bates opens the 2018 season at home on Sept. 5 vs. UMaine-Farmington, followed by its NESCAC opener at home vs. Hamilton on Sept. 8.
Sheikh succeeds Stewart Flaherty, who resigned in June for an assistant coaching position at Dartmouth College.