The Middle Township High School boys soccer program will need to replace its Hall of Fame head coach.
John Maher, who was announced late last week as an inductee to the 2017 class of the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame, informed the school Monday that he is retiring from the position after 15 seasons.
Maher, 63, cited health concerns as his main reason for stepping aside. Maher has suffered from a spinal and back condition for the past few years.
“I really started thinking about this when (longtime coach John) Napoli stepped down at Mainland a couple weeks ago,” Maher said. “I talked with my wife about it and I decided this was probably the right time to do this and get on with things.
“I can’t continue to make the commitment necessary to be at my best. To continue coaching would be a distraction to the program.”
Maher steps aside as one of the winningest boys soccer coaches in Cape-Atlantic League history.
He won his 200th career game last fall, becoming just the eighth CAL soccer coach to surpass that number. He finishes at 204-82-17 for his high school coaching career, having led Middle to five CAL National Conference titles, including four in the last five seasons. He also guided Middle to South Jersey Group II championships in 2008 and 2013.
“I certainly can’t be dissatisfied with how we did,” Maher said. “When I look back and being reflective upon it, I’m nothing but proud of the players and the program.”
Maher was also a rather successful soccer coach at the club level for Cape Express, the South Jersey Warriors and the South Jersey Outlaws, wining a total of more than 400 games.
“Coach Maher was a true professional,” Middle Township High School athletic director Scott Lodgek said. “He did a tremendous job maintaining a high level of excellence with our boys soccer program. His contributions and commitment are much appreciated. The soccer program and the athletic department will miss him, that’s for sure.”
Maher is set to be officially inducted into the SJSCA Hall of Fame at a banquet scheduled for May 21 at Valleybrook Country Club in Blackwood. Maher is one of eight players, coaches and contributors scheduled for induction.
Maher is one of two inductees with CAL ties. Former St. Augustine Prep star Matt Miles, who scored 128 goals in a high school career that ended in 1992, is the other.
Maher is the second SJSCA Hall of Fame member from his family. His son, Anthony, a 1997 graduate of Middle, was inducted in 2009. Anthony scored a program-record 69 career goals at Middle and went on to an all-star four-year career at Division II Mercyhurst University before playing professionally for more than a decade.