In his 11th season, coach Marlon LeBlanc has made his presence felt both on and off the pitch at West Virginia University, and on the national circuit. LeBlanc has guided WVU to four NCAA tournaments, advancing to at least the second round in all four appearances, including the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2007, while also winning the Big East regular-season championship in 2006. WVU also has been ranked in the Top 25 in nine of LeBlanc’s 10 seasons.
The proof of LeBlanc’s success is in the numbers. The Mountaineers have compiled a 97-71-27 (.566) record under his leadership. WVU is 65-24-12 at home during that span and in the last nine seasons against the nation’s Top 25, West Virginia boasts 21 victories, including nine top-10 wins.
The 2015 season was highlighted by a fourth consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship berth and several notable national individual accomplishments. WVU finished with a 7-12 record and a 2-3 mark in MAC play. LeBlanc won his 100th career match with WVU’s 3-0 victory over Penn State on Oct. 13.
Senior Ryan Cain and sophomore Joey Piatczyc were named to the All-MAC Second Team and senior Jamie Merriam became the second Mountaineer in as many years to be named to the Senior CLASS Award All-America Second Team.
WVU scored 32 goals and notched 42 assists, both No. 2 in the MAC. The Mountaineers’ 2.21 assists per game was second in the country. Piatczyc had a program-record 13 assists in 2015, No. 2 among NCAA Division I players in the regular season.
At the team’s annual postseason banquet, Piatczyc was named the Abel “Shadow” Sebele Players’ Player of the Year, while senior Zak Leedom was recognized as the Coaches' Award recipient, honoring the player that best exemplifies what it means to be a WVU men's soccer player: honor, respect, philanthropy, leadership, academic success, selflessness, character and integrity.
LeBlanc led the Mountaineers to an 11-7-1 record, including a 2-1-1 record in Mid-American Conference play. Despite a late push that saw West Virginia go unbeaten in seven of its last nine games, it was the first team out of the NCAA Tournament on Selection Monday.
LeBlanc was named the MAC Coach of the Year, his second career conference honor, while Andy Bevin was named Player of the Year and Joey Piatczyc was named Freshman of the Year. Bevin and Jamie Merriam were named to the All-MAC First Team, while Piatczyc, Ryan Cain, Jack Elliott and Lee Johnston earned second team honors.
The Mountaineers finished with 36 goals and 47 assists, ranking fourth in the nation in assists. Bevin capped a stellar career leading the team with 13 goals and eight assists, ranking No. 7 and No. 14, respectively, in the national rankings. Bevin was named a Senior CLASS Second Team All-American and to the NSCAA All-Great Lakes First Team.
West Virginia took on arguably its toughest schedule in history with its youngest team in history. Nine underclassmen were in the everyday starting lineup for a team that took on the likes of 2012 National Champion Indiana and 2012 National Championship runner-up Georgetown in the same weekend.
The Mountaineers finished with a 7-7-5 record, qualifying for their second Mid-American Conference Tournament in as many years. The young squad proved to have firepower, finishing No. 1 in points, No. 1 in assists and No. 2 in goals in the final MAC team rankings.
Individually, Andy Bevin led the league in points (24) and goals (9), while finishing fourth in assists (6). Jamie Merriam and Majed Osman finished the season ranked second in the league with seven assists, while Osman also ranked second in points with 19.
A defensive corps that entered the season with only 16 games started among the four of them provided stability on the backline. They allowed just an average of 4.1 shots on goal per game, the eighth straight season that the Mountaineers have allowed fewer than five shots on goal per game.
After making a late conference change from the Big East to the MAC prior to the 2012 season, LeBlanc was able to lead WVU to its ninth winning season in the last 10 years. The Mountaineers completed the season with a 9-6-2 record, including a trip to the MAC tournament in their inaugural season competing in the conference.
The awards continued to flow in for LeBlanc’s team, as Eric Schoenle was named to multiple All-America teams, while Peabo Doue, Uwem Etuk, Travis Pittman, Bevin and Schoenle were All-MAC members. Etuk and Schoenle were each named to the NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region team and both attended the MLS Combine.
The Mountaineers’ balanced scoring attack was led by Schoenle, who scored six goals for 12 points, while Osman finished with three goals. Thirteen different WVU players tallied goals, with 15 recording at least one point.
Anchored by Schoenle along the backline, it was another record-breaking season defensively for the Mountaineers. The team allowed an all-time low 7.7 shots per game and 3.1 shots on goal per game.
Looking to continue the success from the previous season, LeBlanc was able to lead WVU to an 11-8-1 record in 2011, the second consecutive 11-win season. WVU earned the No. 2 seed in the Big East tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, defeating No. 25 Xavier before falling to No. 5 Maryland.
LeBlanc posted victories against five Top 25 opponents, including a 2-0 victory over then-No. 1 and undefeated Connecticut at home on Oct. 18. Other Top 25 wins came against No. 11 Virginia, No. 13 Georgetown, No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 25 Xavier.
Schoenle became LeBlanc’s fifth All-American as he was named to the NSCAA All-America Third Team. Raymon Gaddis, Shadow Sebele, Bevin and Schoenle were All-Big East members. Bevin took home Big East Rookie of the Year honors and joined Gaddis and Schoenle on the NSCAA All-Northeast Region team.
With wins in the first three home games of 2011, coupled with 2010’s 10-game home winning streak, the Mountaineers set the school record for most consecutive wins at home with 13.
LeBlanc had one of the best seasons in the history of the program in 2010, leading the team to the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to eventual national champion, Akron. The Mountaineers finished the season with an 11-8-2 record, including a 10-1 mark at home. After only scoring 13 goals in 2009, the WVU offense came alive, scoring 34 goals in 2010, led by Franck Tayou with nine and Sebele, Schoenle and Peabo Doue with five each.
Zach Johnson, Gaddis and Sebele each earned All-Big East Second Team honors, while Schoenle earned third-team honors. Gaddis also was named a TopDrawerSoccer third team All-American and a first-team selection to the NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-Northeast Region team, while Schoenle was selected to attend a U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team camp in December.
Johnson concluded his stellar career between the posts, owning a part in all of WVU’s goalkeeper records. Johnson finished his career first in goalkeeper minutes (7,548), first in goals-against average (0.71), second in shutouts (36) and fourth in saves (282).
After winning a Big East regular-season championship in 2006 and advancing twice to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, LeBlanc spent most of 2008 and 2009 coaching around injuries and building the program into a powerhouse.
The 2009 squad saw as many as six freshmen starters due to injuries, but was able to compile a respectable 7-5-6 overall mark, with a 6-3-2 league record. The back line gave all opponents fits, as the Mountaineer defense held squads to less than 10 shots per game and registered a 0.61 GAA - the eighth-best mark nationally.
Despite losing seven starters to graduation and adding 16 newcomers, WVU finished with an overall mark of 5-9-5 in 2008. LeBlanc guided the squad to victories at No. 4-ranked Connecticut (1-0) and at home over No. 22 Ohio State (1-0). WVU also became known as one of the stingiest defensive units in the nation, allowing only 13 goals on the season - a mark tied for No. 1 in the Big East. The Mountaineers also held opponents scoreless for 554:41, a span of nearly six games. The squad boasted a 0.64 goals-against average, which was good enough for fifth nationally.
In 2007, WVU finished 14-6-2 and reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history. WVU pulled off three wins against the nation’s Top 10: at No. 6 Maryland (1-0), at No. 5 Duke (1-0) and at home against No. 1 Connecticut (1-0).
The Mountaineers also set numerous school records in 2007: 14 shutouts, 11 goals allowed and six consecutive shutouts. Additionally, midfielder Dan Stratford set the career assist mark at 27.
LeBlanc took over at West Virginia on the opening day of preseason camp in 2006 and helped the program reach new heights immediately. The Mountaineers posted a 15-3-3 record in 2006, going 9-0-1 in Big East play, marking the first time a team in the conference had gone unbeaten playing at least a 10-game schedule. The 15 wins in 2006 also were the most in school history.
For his efforts, LeBlanc was named the 2006 Soccer America National Coach of the Year, FieldTurf-Tarket National Coach of the Year, NSCAA/adidas Northeast Regional Coach of the Year and the coaching staff was named the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year. Under his tutelage, WVU spent eight weeks ranked in the Top 10 in 2006 and five in the Top five, ranking as high as No. 3.
While LeBlanc’s tenure has been filled with success on the field, the team’s academic success is even more impressive. For the eighth consecutive season in 2015, WVU earned an NSCAA Team Academic Award for surpassing a minimum team GPA of 3.0. Collectively, the team has achieved above a 3.0 GPA each semester since the fall of 2007.
For the third consecutive season, a WVU student-athlete was recognized with CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades in 2015. With a perfect 4.0 GPA, Jack Elliott earned Second Team honors while also being named a MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. Additionally, six Mountaineers were named to the Academic All-MAC Team.
A plethora of academic honors came in during the 2014 season, led by Andy Bevin, who was named the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for men’s soccer. He also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team and NSCAA Scholar All-America First Team honors.
Jack Elliott was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team, while Jamie Merriam was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-East Region Second Team and Zak Leedom earned NSCAA Scholar All-East Region Honorable Mention.
In 2013, Bevin was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team, Capital One Academic All-District 2, NSCAA Scholar Second Team All-American, NSCAA Scholar All-East Region First Team and Academic All-MAC First Team.
From 2010-11, WVU earned the Big East Male Institutional Scholar-Athlete of the Year award with Ruben Garrido winning in 2011 and Zach Johnson winning in 2010. Garrido also was named to the ESPN Academic All-District Second Team in 2010.
The squad had a perfect APR score for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 cycles and had the fourth-highest team GPA among Division I schools in 2009.
Jason Bristol garnered 2008 NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-East Region honorable mention accolades for earning at least a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average. In 2007-08, Pat Carroll garnered ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team honors.
LeBlanc’s expertise has helped develop some of the NCAA’s finest athletes. Five WVU student-athletes earning All-America honors: Jarrod Smith (2006), Nick Noble (2006), Andy Wright (2007), Raymon Gaddis (2010-11), Eric Schoenle (2011-12) and Andy Bevin (2014). Sixteen players have been named to at least one all-conference team (Nick Noble, Jarrod Smith, Andy Wright, Dan Stratford, Andrew Halsell, Gift Maworere, Raymon Gaddis, Zach Johnson, Eric Schoenle, Shadow Sebele, Peabo Doue, Uwem Etuk, Travis Pittman, Majed Osman, Andy Bevin, Jamie Merriam, Ryan Cain, Jack Elliott, Lee Johnston, Joey Piatczyc and Tucker Stephenson), with six earning major conference awards.
Four players are currently playing professionally: Paul Cunningham (Balestier Khalsa), Doue (Wilmington Hammerheads), Gaddis (Philadelphia Union) and Noble (Harrisburg City Islanders). Pat Carroll (D.C. United), Gaddis (Philadelphia Union), Noble (Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy), Smith (Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders FC) and Stratford (D.C. United) have all seen time on MLS rosters.
LeBlanc has had a player drafted in four of the last six seasons, with Bevin most recently going to Seattle in the 2015 MLS Supplemental Draft. Previously, Schoenle went to Philadelphia in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft, while Gaddis became WVU’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection when he was picked 35th overall by Philadelphia in the 2012 draft. In 2011, Johnson was selected by the LA Galaxy in the MLS Supplemental Draft. Seven players have been invited to the MLS combine during LeBlanc’s tenure.
The Penn State Years
LeBlanc came to WVU from Penn State, where he played in 1994 before serving as an assistant from 2001-06 and helping the Nittany Lions earn NCAA tournament bids in four of five seasons, including Sweet 16 appearances in 2001 and 2005 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2002.
His duties included serving as the recruiting coordinator, assistant director and coordinator for Penn State soccer camps, video analysis and coordination of game-day operations and community outreach. LeBlanc helped PSU to Big Ten championships in 2002 and 2005. Penn State ended the 2002 season ranked No. 8 and finished the 2005 season ranked No. 10 by the NSCAA. In all, LeBlanc helped lead Penn State to a 62-34-12 record. That included seven games in 2002 in which he filled in for coach Barry Gorman, posting a 4-3 overall record, 2-2 in the Big Ten, in the midst of a league championship run.
LeBlanc was considered to be among the nation’s top collegiate assistants and best recruiters, earning a nomination for the 2002 AFLAC Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2005, with all players part of LeBlanc’s recruiting classes, Penn State won the Big Ten regular-season championship with a 6-0 league record. The Nittany Lions also went on to win the Big Ten tournament title that year.
In 2004, LeBlanc recruited Rich Costanzo, the 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. That season, two of LeBlanc’s recruits were named to the Soccer America Freshman All-America Team.
As recruiting coordinator at Penn State, LeBlanc’s classes were ranked No. 9 and No. 8 in the nation in 2001 and 2002, respectively, by CollegeSoccerNews. The 2002 class was ranked No. 6 nationally by Soccer America.
Prior To Coaching
A Hightstown High (N.J.) four-year starter, LeBlanc received all-state, all-area and all-county honors during his scholastic career. In addition to starring for his high school program, LeBlanc was a Region I Olympic Development Program (ODP) standout and a New Jersey ODP team captain. His club team, Jersey Shore Boca (N.J.), captured the U-17 New Jersey State Club championship.
LeBlanc graduated from Penn State in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He received his master's degree in athletic administration from Ohio University in 2015.
The East Windsor, N.J., native holds national, advanced national and premier coaching diplomas with a “Distinguished Pass” from the NSCAA. In 2005, LeBlanc served as a clinician at the NSCAA national convention and was also a featured clinician at the 2011 NSCAA convention which was themed as “Best of the U.S.”
LeBlanc has traveled to England, Brazil, Portugal, and in 2006, he went to the FIFA World Cup in Germany, to further his coaching education. He currently holds a USSF “A” license.
He was named to The Dominion Post’s 100 Most Influential people in 2007, while also serving as a leading mentor in the WVU Leadership Studies Program and has served as an adjunct member of WVU’s Fieldcrest Hall Advisory Board.
He is a member of the Black Soccer Coaches Association (BSCA) and serves on the Leadership Council for the Black Soccer Coaches Committee. In addition, LeBlanc held a position as the Big East representative on the NSCAA/adidas Division I Men’s National Ranking Committee from 2007-11. He also is a member of the Black Coaches Association (BCA), has served on the NSCAA/adidas Northeast Ranking Committee and served from 2007-09 on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee. LeBlanc served on the NCAA Certification Committee on Gender Equity and Diversity and WVU’s 2020 Strategic Planning Diversity and Inclusion sub-committee.
LeBlanc was instrumental in the creation of the oneWVU initiative, which promotes diversity among all races of students, faculty and staff through fellowship on WVU’s campuses.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have a daughter, Alexandra (11), and a son, Kellan (8).