After a decade of coaching the women’s soccer team, Graeme Millar is moving to coach the men’s soccer team.
Millar’s promotion comes after the departure of the 2016 men’s soccer coach, Andrew Bordelon, who coached at Stevenson for 10 months and has since accepted an offer to coach Division I men’s soccer at Northern Illinois University.
Brett Adams, director of athletics, said Bordelon dreamed of coaching at the Division I level.
“[The decision to leave] was a difficult decision for [Bordelon] to make, but one that I understood,” he said.
Adams said the timing of Bordelon’s departure was not ideal, but he was still supportive. “These things happen. You don’t always get to choose when your break comes,” he said.
Junior defender Alex Lingg said that in under a year, Bordelon changed the culture of the men’s soccer team for the better.
“Going back to my freshman year, the lifts weren’t as strict…The work ethic is a whole lot different now,” Lingg said. “Now everyone goes to lifts all the time, everyone’s working hard in practices, and everyone’s holding each other accountable.”
Millar is enthusiastic to pick up where Bordelon left off.
“The main focus for me in this change is bringing some stability to the men’s program and getting it back to being successful,” he said.
Having brought stability to the women’s team, Millar feels confident that they will succeed under a new coach, he said.
Millar, who was also named the director of soccer, is leading a national search for a women’s coach to replace him.
“The new coach will be somebody who can instill a positive team culture, recruit not only regionally but nationally to get the best student-athletes…and will keep the program going onwards and upwards,” he said.
Day-to-day interactions with the women’s team is what Millar said he will miss the most.
“Coaching the girls has been an honor and a privilege. What I’m really going to miss is the relationships I’ve built up with those girls…They mean a lot to me,” he said.
The women’s team will miss him too.
Junior forward Lauren Spivey said, “I have so many [fond memories of Mr. Millar]. My favorite ones would be when we would have a Halloween practice each year…and he would always dress up as a player. It’s fun seeing your coach dress up as a teammate.”
Freshman midfielder and forward Alex Hamel said, “Losing [Millar] is going to be a huge loss for us. He was a very strong asset and very good at bringing us together as a team.”
Under Millar, the women’s team has had eight postseason appearances. In 2010 and 2014 the Mustangs were NCAA tournament participants. Millar is the winningest women’s coach in Stevenson’s history.
Junior defender Morgan Cary said, “The women’s side is definitely going to miss [Millar] as a coach, but we’re happy to see that he’s still going to be at Stevenson…I’m happy for the men’s team because they’re getting a great coach.”
According to Lingg, the men’s team feels that with Millar’s stability, expertise, and energy, they will reach new heights.
“I am so excited…[Millar] has something to buy into. I think that’s something we all need in order to put 100 percent of our effort in [the game],” Lingg said. “He comes with a ton of experience. The stability is what I’m most excited for. I wish I had more years of eligibility. I know that the program is in good hands.”
Millar said he has goals to get the men’s team to the playoffs this fall.
The news of Bordelon’s departure saddened the men’s team, junior defender Eric Dorsey said, but overall they were supportive of his decision to head to NIU.
Echoing Adams’ sentiment, Lingg said, “I wish [Bordelon] the best of luck…You can’t pick when your chance is going to come.”
Bordelon said “It was difficult to say goodbye to such wonderful young men, but I am glad I was able to do it in person.”
He said even though he has accepted a coaching position at NIU, he “will be following Stevenson athletics closely.”
In a similar vein, Millar said he would continue to support the women’s team.
“I’m not leaving. I’m still here,” Millar said. “I will be their biggest supporter on the sidelines because I will be at every game I can…I will be there on Senior Day for those girls that I’ve coached for the last three years…I’ve reassured [the women’s team] that it will be okay.”