50 Years of Kicks – Evansville Living Magazine

50 Years of Kicks – Evansville Living Magazine

1985 Final Four Team

What makes the University of Evansville men’s soccer team so special, according to Marshall Ray, is “how connected the alumni remain.”

UE expects between 50 and 100 former Aces to be on campus in September for the football program’s 50th anniversary. For Ray, it’s an opportunity to see former teammates and players he coached.

He was recruited by former coach Fred Schmalz in 1995 and played four years for the Aces before returning as an assistant coach (2006-14) and head coach (2014-23). ​​Ray now works for Shepherd Insurance.

Fred Schmalz

He describes former coaches Bill Vieth, Bob Gaudin and Schmalz as “the three pillars” of Aces men’s soccer. “The connection they had with their players is what holds the program together,” Ray says.

Vieth founded the program. UE started a club team in 1973 and played a few games. Vieth and others approached then-UE athletic director Arad McCutchan about fielding a varsity team the following season. That first varsity team posted a record of 3-8.

The Aces later enjoyed great success, participating in nine consecutive NCAA Division I tournaments starting in 1984 and reaching the Final Four in 1985 and 1990.

Vieth, who coached the program for its first three years, says the Aces have advanced through shrewd recruiting by Gaudin and Schmalz. Both coaches utilized local talent and also recruited in their home regions – Gaudin in New York and Schmalz in St. Louis, Missouri.

Members of UE’s top football teams will participate in the 50th anniversary celebration over Labor Day weekend, centering on UE’s Mayor’s Cup game against the University of Southern Indiana on Sept. 1. “We’re hoping for a big event,” Vieth said.