Published on December 12th, 2021 | by Staples Soccer4
Mike Noonan ’79 Coaches Clemson To D-I Crown
A former Staples soccer program reached the pinnacle of college soccer today.
Mike Noonan ’79 coached Clemson University to the NCAA Division I national championship. The Tigers scored just 27 seconds into the match, then rode another 1st-half goal to a convincing 2-0 victory over the University of Washington.
Noonan’s ties to the Wreckers are long and strong. He starred on the 1978 state championship squad. Coach Jeff Lea’s Wreckers won that game in dramatic fashion, when Gordy Hull scored with only 11 seconds left in the final overtime.
Noonan went on to a storied career at Middlebury College. Before Clemson he coached at Brown University, the University of New Hampshire and Wheaton College. His Brown teams trained at Loeffler Field and Wakeman, en route from Providence to games at Penn and Princeton. Noonan has also participated in many alumni events, including a panel discussion on academy and high school soccer several years ago.
He is considered one of the most brilliant minds in the college soccer ranks. The Tigers proved it this year, knocking off the #1, #2 and #4 seeds during their tournament run.
There are 2 more Westport connections to Clemson’s title. Noonan’s brother Mark — a Staples state champ himself in 1981 and ’82 — won his own national crown, as a Duke University player in 1986. That marked the first NCAA title for the Blue Devils — in any sport.
Coach Noonan reached out to his hometown this winter. His #1 recruit for next fall’s freshman class is Paddy Donovan. The Staples senior — who just completed his Beachside Soccer Club academy career — is considered one of the top goalkeepers in the nation. He did not play Staples soccer, but was an avid participant in the Watermelon Cup, Super Liga and Turkey Bowls. He is the son of Dan Donovan ’82, who played with Mark Noonan, and the nephew of the late Doug Donovan ’79 — a Wrecker teammate of Mike Noonan’s.
Congratulations to Mike Noonan. Here’s to many more years of a strong Staples-Clemson connection.