McElderry Leaves Fordham Men’s Soccer for Rutgers

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McElderry Leaves Fordham Men’s Soccer for Rutgers

Fordham Men's Soccer coach Jim McElderry is leaving for Rutgers after 16 years at the helm of the Rams. (Keith Lucas/Sideline Media Productions)

Fordham Men's Soccer coach Jim McElderry is leaving for Rutgers after 16 years at the helm of the Rams. (Keith Lucas/Sideline Media Productions)

Fordham Men's Soccer coach Jim McElderry is leaving for Rutgers after 16 years at the helm of the Rams. (Keith Lucas/Sideline Media Productions)

Fordham Men's Soccer coach Jim McElderry is leaving for Rutgers after 16 years at the helm of the Rams. (Keith Lucas/Sideline Media Productions)

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By Jimmy Sullivan

Jim McElderry won 127 games and led Fordham Men’s Soccer to three NCAA Tournaments as the Rams’ head coach.

On Saturday, he left that legacy behind to start a new one at Rutgers.

The Fordham coach formally stepped down from his position to take the same one with the Scarlet Knights, Fordham Athletics revealed on Saturday. McElderry’s tenure is perhaps best-known for Fordham’s run to the Elite 8 in 2017, a run that saw the Rams take down powerhouse programs in Virginia and Duke before ultimately being eliminated by North Carolina. Now, he will be departing for a Big Ten school that won just four games last season and was eliminated from its conference tournament in the quarterfinals. The move is likely a step-up in prestige, even if not necessarily in performance.

“We want to thank Jim for 16 years of service to the Fordham Soccer program and to the countless student-athletes he has watched over,” Fordham Athletic Director Dave Roach said in a statement to Fordham Athletics. “We are grateful for everything he has done for Fordham Athletics and wish him and his family the best in his new endeavor.”

McElderry’s teams were consistently some of the best at Fordham University, and for that, he was a four-time recipient of Fordham’s Iron Major award, which is given annually to the best coach at the school. This past season, McElderry coached both the Atlantic 10 offensive and defensive players of the year, in senior Janos Loebe and junior Joergen Oland, respectively. In his 16-year tenure, 32 Rams were selected to all-conference teams and seven earned esteemed awards.

“I would like to thank Fr. McShane, Jeff Gray, Dave Roach, Charlie Elwood, Frank McLaughlin and the entire Fordham University athletic department,” McElderry told Fordham Athletics. “It has been an incredible 16 years here at Fordham, and I have been fortunate to experience life at Rose Hill with incredible people. I especially want to thank the alumni, all of my staff coaches, academic support, sports medicine, strength room, facilities, equipment and especially all of the players.”

McElderry’s move to Piscataway marks the second high-profile departure of a Fordham coach in the last six months. Bridget Orchard announced her resignation as Fordham Softball coach on June 1 after leading the Rams to their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years. Almost four weeks later, Fordham announced the hiring of Iona head coach and former Fordham assistant Melissa Inouye as Orchard’s replacement. It is unclear what the timeline will be for Roach to find a replacement for McElderry.

The now-former Fordham coach’s 127 wins rank second in Fordham history, behind only his predecessor, Frank Schnur. Interestingly enough, the next coach of Fordham Men’s Soccer will be just the fifth in the 66-year history of the program.

Despite his sudden exit, McElderry is still sentimental about his time in the Bronx.

“I will miss Fordham University and will cherish the memories I have from all of my teams. I will always be a Fordham University fan,” McElderry told Fordham Athletics.

He may be a fan, but he is no longer Fordham’s coach. Now, Dave Roach and company must scramble to find a replacement for one of the most successful coaches in the history of Fordham sports.