First year head coach Nick Flohre has turned EKU’s soccer program around overnight. The Colonels have 12 wins on the season, a record for a program that went 4-12 the previous year.
The team has already locked up an OVC playoff bid, and are currently fighting for a first round bye.
The Eastern Progress was able to sit down with Coach Flohre this week to discuss his coaching career and historic season.
Eastern Progress: What made you decide coaching was the route you wanted to go?
Nick Flohre: I fell into it, honestly. I was a psychology major and had started grad school in sports psychology. I started coaching the last semester of my senior year and a friend of mine asked if I would help him coach a club team, [I] did that, and loved it. The next fall, I picked up a couple teams and realized I loved it—I also realized I didn’t want to do six years of grad school—but I had no intentions of being a coach when I first started.
EP: Did you do any grad assistant work?
Flohre: No I didn’t, I was an assistant at Tulane. There wasn’t a lot of room for growth in Indianapolis where I was at, so I tookthat gig at Tulane.
EP: So after that, where did you go?
Flohre: I moved around a little bit, coaching camps and club teams, but I had an itch to get back into college. A job opened up at Iowa and I took that, went from there to Ohio State, and now I’m here.
EP: Was women’s soccer what you wanted to do or did you fall into it?
Flohre: I just fell into it, when I was in Connecticut I coached a men’s team. I don’t really know how I got into women’s more than men’s but there’s more opportunity in the women’s game. There’s more programs, so with that there’s more money and job opportunities so that probably had something to do with it. That men’s team was some of the best years I’ve had in coaching because we were really good and the guys were great. I was only like 26 so I could have actually played with the seniors.
EP: So when you got the call for EKU, what was that process like?
Flohre: It was just the next step. I had learned a ton from my time in Iowa and Ohio State and the next step was to become a head coach. I had coached a handful of the girls when they were younger, so I was familiar with the team already and I wanted to take a chance on myself and see if I could help turn something around. Having Josh and Rachel (assistant coaches) here is probably one of the best decisions of my life, because they make me look a lot better than I really am.
EP: So when you came in, did you think the team would be this good this fast?
Flohre: There’s always optimism. Now did I think we would be at this point, no—just because we came in and changed a lot. Changing the culture takes time and after the first weekend I thought it was going to take longer than I thought, but then they just clicked. We’ve tried to raise the standards and the girls wanted that and have been open-minded and we’ve been fortunate.
EP: Big picture, what about coaching is important to you and makes you love doing this?
Flohre: I think it’s when the players become friends later in life, and that sounds cliche, but we’re in a people business. We’re using soccer as our avenue just like Coach McHale is using basketball, Coach Thompson’s using baseball, and so on, it’s a people business. I’ve coached kids when they were 12 years old and now they’re in there 20s and still call for references or call out of the blue to see how things are going.
That makes it worth because it’s not just wins and losses, it’s relationships. You’re not just going to spend fours years with us then we never hear from you again. As intense as we get, it’s just a game. We just try and get people to understand their full potential and help them in their careers. That’s pretty much it, I think that’s why coaches coach. That’s the cool thing.
EP: Even here, you said you coached some of these girls when they were younger and now you’re with them again…
Flohre: Exactly. It is really cool to see to see how they’ve developed as players and people, especially since I’ve known some of them since they were ten years old. It was a really unique situation.
Coach Flohre and the Colonels wrap up the regular season at home against Tennessee Tech on Thursday at 3:00 p.m.