Stottler Leaves Indelible Impression Upon Brevard
By Jeff Navin // April 22, 2012
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Rick Stottler guided two Florida Tech men’s soccer teams to national titles.
That won’t be his only legacy in Brevard County, as he has been honored with a posthumous induction into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in May.
Stottler, with the help of his assistant coach Giles Malone, recruited several players from the United Kingdom and other foreign countries to play soccer for the Panthers during his 14-year tenure as the head coach.
A lot of those standout players remained in Brevard County or Central Florida after they received their degrees. Most of them were successful in their business pursuits and nearly all of them became youth soccer coaches.
It wasn’t an accident when Brevard County high schools started winning state championships in both girls and boys soccer.
Fitzgerald Haig built the girls soccer program at Satellite High School into a state power.
Robin Chan inherited a solid foundation as coach of the boys soccer team at Melbourne Central Catholic High School before churning out regular appearances in the State Final Four and state championships when penalty kick shootouts against Miami Gulliver Prep didn’t get in the way.
Both now are coaches at Florida Tech.
Haig became the first women’s soccer coach at the school, and Chan took over as the men’s coach after Stottler’s successor struggled to maintain the same level of excellence.
Haig is orginally from Haiti. Chan is a native of Malaysia, who lived in London before coming to the United States.
Bino Campanini, Eddie Enders, Steve Freeman, Dylan Lewis and James Phillips are among the other former players who have been youth soccer coaches in the area.
Stottler, a successful Brevard County businessman who was born on Jan. 28, 1935, died Dec. 2, 2010 at Wuesthoff Hospital after a long illness.
He was a native of Wolcott, N.Y. He came to Cocoa Beach in 1958 and created Stottler, Stagg and Associates shortly thereafter. He played four years of soccer for the University of Maryland, where he earned a degree in civil engineering.
Stottler was the boys’ soccer coach at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School before becoming the head coach at Florida Tech in 1986.
The Panthers posted a record of 190-66-12 during Stottler’s 14 years as the coach. The .731 winning percentage is among the best all-time in NCAA Division II men’s college soccer.
In 1988, Florida Tech defeated host school Cal State Northridge 3-2 to win the NCAA Division II title. The team finished with a 15-6 record.
The Panthers won the national title again in 1991, trouncing Sonoma State 5-1 on Florida Tech’s old home field on campus. Florida Tech posted a 19-2-1 record that season.
Stottler was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 1991, the South Region Coach of the Year in 1991 and the Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year in both 1988 and 1989. He was inducted into the Florida Tech Hall of Fame in 2001.
In 2001-2002, Stottler was inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame with rival coaches Adrian Bush of Tampa and Sam Koleduk of Saint Leo.
At the urging of Florida Tech vice president Tom Adams, Stottler became Florida Tech’s soccer coach in 1986. Adams was the former Lieutenant Governor of Florida.
Stottler was very generous in raising money for Florida Tech. The soccer field at the F.W. Olin Sports Complex is named Rick Stottler Field.
He also helped Crisis Services of Brevard (211 Brevard) and the Central Brevard Humane Society with its popular “Paws at the Pier” annual fundraising event at the Cocoa Beach Pier.
Stottler and his business partners acquired Cocoa Expo in 1985 after the Houston Astros decided to conduct spring training in Kissimmee the previous year.
The facility became a popular place for youth soccer tournaments and youth baseball tournaments.
The Cocoa Expos men’s soccer team, which played in two different divisions in the United Soccer Leagues, and the Brevard County Cocoa Expos, a women’s team in the USL’s W-League, also were popular and both teams were owned by Stottler and his partners.