By Nelson Coffin
A beloved figure in the high school soccer community — and beyond, Colin Devlin received his just due by being named IAAM Soccer Coach of the Year after leading Maryvale to its first championships since claiming successive crowns in 2006 and 2007.
Under his steady hand, the Lions overcame a 1-5 start this fall while building momentum toward a fantastic finish by outlasting top-seeded Mount de Sales in the B Conference title match that ended in a shootout after bowing, 2-1, to the Sailors in the regular season finale.
Maryvale athletic director Terri Moeser said that Devlin, who has headed the program since 2004, is the perfect coach for the job.
“Colin was one of my first hires,” she said. “And I can honestly say he has been one of my best hires. Colin came to the soccer program in the fall of 2004 and has worked diligently to ensure the program, not just the varsity squad, has found success year after year. Under his command, varsity soccer at Maryvale has always been incredibly competitive and has earned three championships, including this past fall.”
Moeser said that she and Devlin collaborate on finding the most challenging opponents for the Lions.
“He wants the team’s non-conference games to be competitive, mostly playing teams from the A Conference,” she added. “He does this purposely, knowing it will build up the strength and character of his players.”
Moeser said that the coach empties the bench in order for all of his players to gain experience against tough competitors.
“Colin is incredibly aware of the development of all players, as he has been a club coach for many years and is up to date on his United Soccer Coaches membership,” Moeser said. “He prioritizes their education and character development over the game, knowing those skills will not only translate to the game, but to their adult lives. He leads by example, especially with character, as he highly respects the game.”
Besides his many other virtues, there’s one that tugs at Moeser’s heart the most.
“It’s important to note that Colin does not coach at Maryvale for the money; he does it for the passion of the game,” she said.
“For several years, in one way or another, Colin has donated back his entire salary to Maryvale Athletics.”
Devlin said that he and the Lions have been riding this emotional roller coaster since winning the championship.
“It’s very special to me — after 16 seasons in the league and the inaugural season of the IAAM Coach of the Year,” he said.
To earn such plaudits from his peers makes him very grateful, he said.
“A lot went instantly through my mind, from my fellow coaches who nominated me, to thinking about all the coaches over the years in the league and the many great coaches currently in our A B and C conferences,” he said. "I am truly honored to represent these coaches, Maryvale Preparatory School and the IAAM as their Coach of the Year.
“And while I will receive this award, it’s simply not possible without our coaching staff of Kait Henninger 05,’ Troy Peters, Blair DiCriscio 01,’ Kim Dubansky and our trainer Erin Beane. Their efforts in the success of this program over the past six years speaks to where we find ourselves today and will share in this honor.”
Team captain Amanda Commodari said that Devlin is no ordinary coach.
"When we faced challenges, Coach Colin always reassured us that if we put our hearts out there on the field during every game, we would be champions," she said. "He pushed us to be the best we could be. While putting in the hard work, coach always shared a comment or quote that would bring so much joy to the team. It has been an incredible season and we could not have ended it with a championship without the love, support, guidance and hard-work, from Coach Colin. We couldn’t have asked for a better coach who believed so much in us. You deserve this Coach Colin! Congratulations!"