HOUGHTON — As inconceivable tales go, the reversal of the 2004 Michigan Tech soccer staff is without doubt one of the most exceptional in native sports activities historical past.
On the verge of being eradicated as a program simply two years earlier by the college’s board of management, the staff bounced again in a giant manner.
Bernie Anderson, then the MTU coach, stated the efforts of a gaggle of alumni — a lot of these former soccer gamers — made the distinction.
“These individuals stepped up massive time and saved this system,” Anderson stated on the time. “We wouldn’t have made it every other manner.”
The Huskies improved to 5-5 within the 2003 season after which took off the subsequent marketing campaign.
Led by standouts Dan Mettlach, Joe Berger and Lee Marana, the Huskies received their first 9 video games of the season and attained a No. 1 rating in Division II polls.
It was the primary time in class historical past for that achievement.
Mettach, who starred at Gwinn Excessive Faculty, was a flexible quarterback.
In 2004, he accounted for greater than 2,000 yards in whole offense and 20 touchdowns.
“He (Mettlach) was exceptionally fast,” Anderson stated in a 2013 interview. “He was most likely the quickest quarterback ever to play right here.”
Berger anchored the offensive line together with his measurement and nimble ft. These expertise would earn him All-American laurels and a profession within the Nationwide Soccer League.
Most of his 13 years within the NFL had been spent with the Minnesota Vikings.
Marana, a hard-nosed product out of Negaunee Excessive Faculty, was a punishing runner. He ran for 1,529 yards in 2004 and scored 21 occasions.
Andy Bonk gained All-American honors at linebacker as effectively in 2004.
The GLIAC particular person awards had been dominated by MTU, and Anderson was named Coach of the Yr.
Sadly — the ultimate sport of the season versus Grand Valley — proved expensive as Mettlach, Marana and Berger had been misplaced to accidents early on. and the competition was dominated by Grand Valley.
The sport was performed on the College of Michigan Stadium and was billed because the “Bash on the Massive Home.”
Nonetheless lacking its injured stars, Tech was defeated within the Division II playoffs per week later by North Dakota State by a 20-3 rating.
Anderson went on to teach at Northern Michigan College earlier than retiring just a few years in the past.
Tom Kearly took over as head coach and loved success with a 70-44 report that included a nine-win season in 2014.
Mettlach coached briefly at Finlandia College, and is now the offensive coordinator at Tech underneath Steve Olson.