(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Since he won 71 games during an eight-year stint in charge of the Montana State University Billings men’s soccer program, things have only gone up for former Yellowjacket head coach Dan McNally.
Last Tuesday, a dream came true for the now-vice president of operations at FC Cincinnati, as Major League Soccer announced the addition of the club to the top professional league in the United States beginning in the 2019 season.
“It is amazing what we have achieved in Cincinnati,” said McNally, who has been involved with the organization since joining the staff in 2015. “In three years we have made a huge impact on soccer in the United States. I am very proud to be part of this journey to Major League Soccer.”
A native of Darwen, England, McNally was most recently in Billings in 2016 to introduce former NCAA Division II National Player of the Year Sam Charles as an inductee to the MSUB Hall of Fame and Distinction. McNally still holds the program record for wins in a season with a mark of 13-4-1 in 2007, and left the program in good standing at 11-5-2 in his final season in 2012.
“I still keep updated with everything going on with MSUB men’s soccer, and it is fantastic to see the strides the program continues to take,” McNally said. “I know the coaching staff is working hard to make sure the 2018 season will be the best in the program’s history.”
Current MSUB head coach Alex Balog was an assistant under McNally in 2012, before ultimately becoming his replacement and is now preparing for his sixth season in charge. “I am incredibly proud of Dan for being an instrumental part of what FC Cincinnati has achieved over the past three years,” Balog commented. “He left MSUB as the winningest coach in the history of the program, and the foundation he laid for us is now being laid again in Cincinnati. Without him, MSUB men’s soccer and FC Cincinnati wouldn’t be what they are.”
Contingent on the club’s selection for competition in the MLS is the construction of a new, 21,000-seat stadium which is scheduled to be completed in 2021. The team joined the United Soccer League in 2016, and has since set attendance records including drawing three crowds of more than 30,000 fans.
McNally is not the only individual with ties to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference involved with the organization, as he now calls former foe and Simon Fraser University head coach Alan Koch his colleague. Koch piloted the Clan for seven dominant seasons in the GNAC, before joining FC Cincinnati as director of scouting and analytics in 2016 and bumping to his current role of head coach in February, 2017.
“As one of the premier NCAA DII conferences, the GNAC has produced coaches like Dan and Alan who have shown they can go on and represent us at the next level in a successful way,” commented Balog. “As Dan’s friend and former colleague, it is impressive what he has achieved. He has carefully built his career to where he will now be part of the pinnacle of soccer in North America. As a former Yellowjacket, Dan deserves our congratulations and respect.”
The most successful coach in school history, McNally went 71-63-10 (.528) in his eight seasons in charge. Along with Charles, McNally recruited and coached defender Tom Milroy who was selected to MSUB’s Hall of Fame in 2017. Current MSUB associate head coach Thomas Chameraud was an all-region midfielder under McNally’s guidance in his final year in 2012 as well.
MSUB’s men’s soccer team went 9-10 in 2017 and finished in fifth place in the GNAC standings with a league record of 6-6. The ‘Jackets open the 2018 regular season in California Aug. 31-Sept. 4, and have their home opener Sept. 7-9 with the Fifth Annual Rimrock Classic in Memory of Trevor Wildberger at Yellowjacket Field.