Linfield Soccer Season-by-Season
Chuck Bechtol has been named new men’s soccer coach at Linfield College, director of athletics Scott Carnahan announced Thursday.
Bechtol, a 1992 Linfield graduate, succeeds Ian Lefebvre, who led the program for five seasons.
“I’m extremely pleased Chuck has accepted our offer to become men’s soccer coach at Linfield,” said Carnahan. “He has proven himself as one of the premier coaches in the state of Oregon at both the high school and club levels.”
Bechtol, 42, spent the last four seasons as boys soccer coach at McMinnville High School. He guided the McMinnville boys to Pacific Conference titles each of the past three seasons, two of which he doubled as Grizzlies girls coach. He has been honored as Pacific Conference Coach of the Year three times.
His 2011 MHS boys team, featuring first team all-state standouts Dustin Munger and Ryan Aker, advanced to the Class 6A state semifinals before falling 1-0 to eventual state champion Westview.
Bechtol, a native of Corvallis, has considerable amateur club coaching experience with FC Portland, working with various age groups from 11 to 18.
A four-year soccer letterwinner at Linfield from 1988 until 1991, Bechtol was a first team all-conference midfielder as a senior in 1991 and earned honorable mention all-conference recognition in 1989.
In the Linfield record book, he ranks fourth all-time in total points with 70, scoring 29 goals and adding 12 assists.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “This is a great opportunity, not only for me and for our current players, but for whomever we bring to Linfield as we work to take this program back to the top,” he said.
A perennial Northwest Conference title contender in the early 2000s, the Linfield men’s soccer program had slipped toward the bottom of the conference standings in recent seasons. Linfield’s finest season came as recently as 2000 when the ‘Cats went 21-1-1 and reached the NCAA Division III semifinals before falling 3-2 to eventual national champion Messiah (Pa.).
The Wildcats won NWC crowns in 2000 and 2003 and were runners-up in 2001 and 2002. The 2011 team compiled a 2-14-1 overall mark, placing seventh in the eight-team league with a 1-12-1 record.
Bechtol said elevating the program involves “undergoing a cultural change. It’s a mindset of doing the little things day to day that are going to make a difference, whether that’s on the scoreboard or elsewhere. We want everyone on the same page, working toward a common goal.”
Given the quality of Linfield’s campus, academics and athletic program, Bechtol believes it is possible to restore the luster to the men’s program.
“I really believe there’s a tremendous opportunity to be successful here,” he said. “Linfield is one of the top academic schools in the country with great facilities and located in a town that loves soccer.”
Bechtol also understands the unique dynamics of Division III athletics.
“Beyond his knowledge and expertise, Chuck’s philosophy falls right into line with what the college was looking for in its next soccer coach,” said Carnahan. “Among his goals are seeing students develop success-related skills beyond college. And as an alum, he already has ownership in the program and wants very much to see it prosper.”
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Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128