Isaacson celebrates 100 wins


by Gunnar Davis, Editor and Chief

Head coach Rick Isaacson called the Simpson men’s soccer program a “sleeping giant” when he took over in 2011.

In 2010, the year before Isaacson took control of the reigns, the program only mustered up five wins and finished seventh in the conference.

Nine years later, after a culture shift and a change of recruiting tactics, the Storm are 10-1 just 11 games into the 2019 season, including Isaacson’s 100th career win over Saint Mary’s on Sept. 25.

“To be honest I’ve never put that much into milestones like that,” Isaacson said. “As a coach, you’re only as good as your players. At Simpson, reaching milestones like that, they just happen over time.”

The Storm have finished third in the conference in each of the past four seasons, including three trips to the conference tournament semifinals. The recent success didn’t happen overnight though.

A culture change was necessary and Isaacson was the man for the job.

“That’s the first thing we identified when I took this job,” Isaacson said. “We’ve got to improve numbers, bring in more talent and change the culture. We got to work right away on changing the culture.”

With new talent and growth in the program, the goals have shifted to become bigger and better for his team.

“When you look back nine years ago, the goal was to get back above .500 and try to get to the conference tournament,” Isaacson said. “Now, all these years later, the goal is to try and compete for a championship, win this league and play in the national tournament.”

The Storm’s postseason came to an early and abrupt finish last year when Central upset the Storm in the first round of the American Rivers Conference tournament, 3-2. Isaacson feels like his squad this season is special.

“We felt like we were bringing back enough pieces to really be competitive in terms of trying to win the conference this year,” Isaacson said. “Now we have to stay healthy and continue to come together, but I like where we’re at at the moment.”

His guys have already picked up 10 wins this season, including an overtime win against conference rival Wartburg. Senior Darius Doswell thinks that the recent success of the team and overall success of his coach has plenty to do with the way Isaacson operates.

“It’s the environment at practice and at the games,” Doswell said. “While it’s all business, it’s also fun and it’s enjoyable. He makes business not feel like business. He makes it feel like we’re all just having fun while we’re getting our work in and our wins.”

While Isaacson is excited about the future of his program, he also feels that same way about all of the athletic programs.

“It’s been fun to watch, over the last nine years, all of our programs grow and continue to trend in the right direction,” he said. “I think we’re getting to a point now that it’s tough to identify a team that’s struggling. All of our programs here have been experiencing some level of success and that’s been fun to witness.”

100 wins didn’t come easy for Isaacson and his career is far from over. Simpson College is home for him.

“What I’ve been able to accomplish is because of how great Simpson is,” Isaacson said. “I’m just a byproduct of how great this school is.”