The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Head soccer coach resigns to follow his family

Mike Singleton will next work at Goucher College
Generals Athletics
Head coach Mike Singleton (far right), assistant coaches and senior players get together on W&L men’s soccer’s senior day.

After making a historic playoff run, Washington and Lee men’s soccer coach is now taking on an entirely new challenge.

Mike Singleton is preparing to transition from Washington and Lee’s successful program with seven National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III playoff appearances — five in the Sweet 16 and two in the Final Four — to a program with only two winning seasons in forty years.

After a decade of coaching at Washington and Lee, Singleton announced his resignation and plan to lead the women’s soccer program at Goucher College in Maryland. 

A five-time recipient of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year title, Singleton said he wants to prioritize family. “My wife moved out here for me, it’s my turn to do the same for her,” he said in an interview.

Singleton’s wife, Jessica Buhler, is corporate director of communications and public relations at The Kendal Corporation, a not-for-profit provider of senior living communities and services. Singleton and Buhler are moving to Towson, Maryland to be closer to the Kendal Corporation office, according to Buhler’s LinkedIn profile. Goucher College is also in Towson.

While the team was sad to hear the news, players said they understood Singleton’s sacrifice for his family.

“Our team is a family, and with being a family there’s also understanding. [Singleton] has a wife outside of soccer. He has more to his life than just being our coach,” captain Will Joseph, ’26, said in an interview.

Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn said Singleton set a new standard for the program.

“When he came it wasn’t broken, but that little bit between good and great is really hard, and he’s done it in ten years. That’s a phenomenal thing,” she said in an interview.

Hathorn praised the character Singleton brought to the team and the impact he has made on its players.

“There just has been very little to no behavioral problems since Singleton came here, in part because of his beliefs and values, what he wants and what he expects, how he holds people accountable,” she said.

After thirty years of coaching soccer, Singleton expressed gratitude for his transformative experiences as a coach.

“Soccer’s always been my passion,” he said, “and I’m really thankful to be given all these experiences in life,” he said.

Singleton said he is most proud of the intelligence of his team.

“We have the highest GPA in the program’s history, and our behavior on campus has greatly improved,” he said. 

When Singleton came to Washington and Lee, he turned the team around, Joseph said. “I think Goucher is in a similar boat to where we were when he came,” he said.

Singleton said he is ready to take on the new challenge at Goucher in the coming fall.

“I got some work to do, to get to the places where we enjoy it better and have more fun,” Singleton said. “I’m going to be demanding, going to ask them to work harder and do more, and that’s what it takes to be successful.” 

In his approach to soccer, Singleton said he thinks it can be a very artistic sport. He gives his players more creative license on the field, which he said contributes to the Washington and Lee men’s team’s success.

The past three years, men’s soccer has scored an average of 66 goals, whereas the average college team scores 25 to 30 goals per season, said Singleton.

Hathorn said she has high hopes for Goucher with Singleton at their side.

“I think Goucher is really lucky to get someone of Mike’s caliber, and for the women on the women’s soccer team, I think it’s really cool he’s coaching women,” she said.

Singleton finished his coaching career at Washington and Lee with the program’s annual alumni game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.

A search for a new men’s coach is currently underway. The athletic department plans to announce a new hire before the summer, Hathorn said.

“Whoever comes in, they need to hit the ground running, and realize it’s not a development season, it’s a go-further season,” Singleton said.

After all the changes Singleton made to the program, Hathorn said he leaves big shoes to fill. 

“You don’t replace Mike; you find someone else,” she said. “He really set the bar high, and he is an outstanding, unique professional. You just don’t find a lot of folks like Mike. He’s that good.”

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