Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Spotlight: Coach Rick Stottler Leaves Powerful Legacy
By Space Coast Daily // July 16, 2022
.731 winning percentage is among best all-time in the history of NCAA Division II men’s college soccer
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Rick Stottler guided two Florida Tech men’s soccer teams to national titles, but that’s not his only legacy in Brevard County, as he has been honored with a posthumous induction into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
RICHARD STOTTLER – 2012 INDUCTEE
• NCAA Coach of the Year, Two National Champions, All-Time Soccer Coach Great
AMONG BEST OF ALL TIME
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Rick Stottler guided two Florida Tech men’s soccer teams to national titles, but that’s not his only legacy in Brevard County, as he has been honored with a posthumous induction into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
As head soccer coach of the Florida Tech Panthers, Stottler posted an incredible record of 190-66-12 during his 14-year tenure as the coach. The .731 winning percentage is among the best of all-time in the history of NCAA Division II men’s college soccer.
In 1988, Florida Tech won the NCAA Division II National Championship, defeating host school Cal State Northridge 3-2. 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. Stottler’s Panthers finished an impressive 19-2-1 record that season.
NCAA COACH OF THE YEAR, TECH HALL OF FAMER
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, and former Florida Lieutenant Governor, Tom Adams, Stottler became Florida Tech’s soccer coach in 1986.
Stottler, a keen judge of talent, and with the help of his assistant coach, native Brit 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.
Outstanding players who benefitted from Stottler’s efforts include now Florida Tech soccer coaches Fitzgerald Haig and Robin Chan.
Haig, recruited from Haiti, and Robin Chan – a native of Malaysia, who lived in London before coming to the United States – were both recruited by Malone.
Other outstanding players of the Stottler era include Bino Campanini (now a Florida Tech official), Eddie Enders, Steve Freeman, Dylan Lewis and James Phillips.
All of these players were inspired to pass on the skills they learned from Stottler as coaches to various area youth soccer teams and programs.
Many of those standout players have remained in the local area after they received their degrees from Tech and most of them have been extremely successful in their business pursuits – and nearly all of them became youth soccer coaches.
Stottler’s Florida Tech legacy extends to many of the prep and youth championship soccer teams in both girls and boys soccer.
Haig, the former standout Tech player during the Stottler dynasty, built the girls soccer program at Satellite High School into a state power. Chan, another outstanding player for Tech, led the boys soccer team at Melbourne Central Catholic High School.
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.
BUSINESSMAN AND PHILANTHROPIST
Stottler, a successful Brevard County businessman was born in 1935 and died in 2010 at Wuesthoff Hospital. He played four years of soccer for the University of Maryland, where he earned a degree in civil engineering.
A native of Wolcott, New York, he arrived in Cocoa Beach in 1958 and created Stottler, Stagg and Associates shortly thereafter.
Stottler was the boys’ soccer coach at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School before becoming the head coach at Florida Tech in 1986.
Stottler was very generous in raising money for Florida Tech and the soccer field at the F.W. Olin Sports Complex is named Rick Stottler Field.
Among the many other organizations he helped includes 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 acquired Cocoa Expo in 1985 and the facility became an international destination for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and other sports.
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 founded by Stottler.
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- PETER K INTRODUCES HALL OF FAMERS | spacecoastdaily.com
- Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction: Watch It Live Here | spacecoastdaily.com
You were an inspiration and guiding figure for many of us at Florida Tech. We will miss you.
You are missed. Thank you so much for all you did for so many; for all us FIT Soccer players!