Like the Energizer Bunny, CBC soccer coach Terry Michler just keeps going and going.
Michler recently achieved the unique distinction of reaching 1,000 wins as a coach. Michler, who is the winningest high school boys soccer coach in the nation, has a lifetime mark of 1,001-283-117 in 49 seasons at CBC as of press time.
“It was never a goal or game plan,” Michler said. “I get good kids and it happens. I’ve gotten to be around long enough to get it.”
It’s likely Michler has more than 1,000 wins to his ledger. He was previously the head coach at Bishop Hogan in Kansas City for two years before coming back to his alma mater to coach in 1971.
Michler entered the 2019 season needing 10 wins to reach the 1,000-win milestone. The big win came in the Art Firley Soccer Shootout in Jefferson City on Oct. 18. CBC scored a 3-0 victory over Nixa 3-0 for Michler’s 1,000th career win.
“Before the game and we were sitting on 999, I told them to go out and win it for themselves,” Michler said. “I wanted them to get the monkey off their backs. I said don’t do it for me. You can be relaxed and play and go win and put this behind you. When you are playing under pressure, you play not to make mistakes and then you make mistakes.”
CBC athletics director Rocky Streb marveled about Michler’s accomplishment of 1,000 wins.
“It’s about as big as you can get,” Streb said. “It’s unprecedented for a single-gender coach. He’s the first to accomplish this. [I’m] extremely happy for him. They’ve struggled a bit this year and this benchmark has been hanging around the team’s neck like an albatross. It’s good to get it behind them and move on with just playing soccer.”
It was sophomore player Luca Bartoni that scored all three goals that sealed the win for CBC.
“Once we got that first goal, we were fine,” Michler said. “Bartoni has been a team leader.”
All of the Cadets were happy to get their coach the big win.
“On bus ride home, they were acting goofy,” Michler said. “Singing songs. It was fun times.”
Thanks to his long history as a coach, Michler’s players were not the only ones congratulating him after the game.
“My phone was blowing up with texts,” Michler said. “I put a nice thank you on Facebook … I wanted to make sure it was all shared. It gave me a chance to applaud everyone.”
Fellow coaches congratulated Michler as well, including friend and Chaminade coach Mike Gauvain.
“He’s had a lot of good players over the years but he does a wonderful, wonderful job with his kids,” Gauvain said.
De Smet coach Josh Klein, whose Spartans lost to CBC in the state championship game in 2018, also noted Michler’s skills.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” said Klein said. “It makes you look at your own successes and all the time, energy, and stress that comes with them and then you compare that to what [he’s] done and it’s not even close.”
This fall, the Cadets have a young team. There are nine sophomores on the squad.
“That’s an awful lot of sophomores on the varsity,” Michler said. “I have only two or three returning guys. This is a new experience for all of them. It’s taken some time to get acclimated to the varsity level of play.”
While the team dynamic has changed over the years, according to Michler, he is happy coaching at CBC, where he played soccer and graduated in 1965.
When Michler got the chance to coach at CBC, he initially turned down the opportunity after signing with the Kansas City Spurs to play professional soccer.
When the Spurs folded, CBC called again. This time, Michler accepted the offer.
“I said I’d be there yesterday,” Michler said. “I got lucky. The reality is it’s the only job I ever wanted … I’ve have had good experiences at CBC, a lot of great people here along the way. I stay in touch with a lot of the guys.”
Since then, Michler has led the Cadets to nine state championships and became a member of the St. Louis Soccer and Missouri Soccer Coaches halls of fame.
Even after 1,000 wins, Michler said he plans on returning to his team for the next season.
“I’ve got nine sophomores and I’m with them in the rough time this year,” Michler said. “I want to be there in the good times coming up.”
Streb said Michler coming back to coach is also the administration’s plane.
“He’s a fantastic ambassador for the sport really,” Streb said. “His presence at CBC just puts us as a program to the forefront … Personally, it’s been a pleasure seeing him work and getting to know a real legend.”