Dave Prutting took over as the St. Anthony’s girls soccer coach at the relatively old age of 49. Little did he realize that he’d still be on the same sideline 25 years later.
Prutting, now 75, reached the rarest of milestones in Monday’s 1-0 win over St. Francis Prep. He ran his career record to 400-40-17, becoming just the fifth girls soccer coach in state history to reach the 400-win plateau, according to Newsday.
“I was looking at coaching maybe two-three years,” Prutting said. “But I liked it so I stayed.”
And he won in a monumental way.
St. Anthony’s (15-1-1 overall, 11-0-1 league) can wrap up the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA title with a win Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the regular season finale at Kellenberg.
It takes consistency and greatness to win at the pace Prutting’s teams have through the decades. He owns 20 league and 19 state CHSAA titles.
“It was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but the young players have performed well,” said Prutting, who graduated 12 seniors from last season’s state champion.
As a 20-year-old college student at William & Mary, Prutting shared football coaching duties for one season at a nearby Virginia high school. The school closed, Prutting graduated and his life moved on.
Prutting, who is retired from Stony Brook University Hospital, picked up coaching youth soccer somewhere along the way. And nearly 30 years after his first stint at the high school level, he made the move back.
Who knew it would mark the start of a Long Island soccer dynasty?
St. Anthony’s Athletic Director Don Buckley presented Prutting with a clock plaque after his historic win in the rain Monday. But it was hardly an apt gift – Prutting’s success is timeless.
“It’s a nice thing to accomplish,” Prutting said. “But wins have never been my main focus. I like working with the kids and I have a good time doing it. It’s icing on the cake, but its not my main motivation.”