Behind Enemy Lines with Florida Gulf Coast coach Bob Butehorn
Friday night, the Penn men's soccer team will face FGCU and try to turn its season around. We took some time to talk with Eagles head coach Bob Butehorn, who received a master's degree from Penn and was an assistant coach for the Quakers for five seasons.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What did you do at Penn specifically, and what is your connection to Penn?
Bob Butehorn: Well, the things I did there were getting a degree, and then I worked with Rudy [Fuller] in helping him build a program. I have a lot of strong feelings towards Penn. There are some very good people, good memories. I loved my education there. A lot of the people that are still there were there with me, and we have very good friendships still.
DP: How did the process of scheduling the game against Penn work out?
BB: Rudy and I are very good friends and we decided we wanted to get a chance to play against each other. I always think that it’s good for college soccer to have teams play to show how it can be played and the style to it. So I think it was a logical decision for everyone involved. For us it was a great opportunity and they’re coming back to us in 2015, so we’ll have a chance to do it all over again.
DP: You were there for the founding of Florida Gulf Coast soccer back in 2007. How can you explain how that process worked and how your team has risen so far since then?
BB: I took the opportunity when I was with Rudy — I had some other opportunities, interviews. Some other jobs were opening and this came open. I felt very strongly about being able to take what I had learned from Penn and my other jobs, and also what I’d learned with my masters and what I could do with it, and apply it to a situation that required some experience. It was one of those [opportunities] you don’t get many of when you’re coaching in Division I athletics in starting a program from scratch. FGCU was all it was built to be and more. As for as success, it’s been program-wide here, generally because they’ve hired good people. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some good people here, and my program has kind of thrived.
DP: What do you expect to see from Penn in the match this Friday?
BB: I know Rudy does a very good job. He’s got two very good assistants in both Rob [Irvine] and Pete [Pososki]. They are very thorough in their work and teach the game the right way. So I know the team is going to be a quality opponent, especially playing them on their home ground. Every opponent this year has been a challenge to my young team, so I think it’s just another step in the process of getting through a season and also building a team.
DP: How would you describe your team's style of play?
BB: A little bit erratic, but our style generally revolves around breaking teams down by moving the ball quickly and unlocking parts of the field. But we also have the luxury of being able to attack in speed as well because we have guys that are very dangerous from that half of the field.
DP: Other than the game, what are you most looking forward to in Philadelphia?
BB: What we do at FGCU, you know some of my guys come from all different backgrounds, and so what I try to do when I take these trips is I try to expose them to things they might not see in their lives. I think we’ll try to catch a little bit of the history of our country in downtown Philly, take our guys into the market down there and see some of the historical sites, let them look at the Liberty Bell and let them get a taste of Philly. I’m sure they will do some tasting of Philly, but the cheesesteaks will not happen until after the Princeton game on Sunday.