In his ninth season leading the Amherst College men’s soccer team, head coach Justin Serpone directed the Purple & White to a phenomenal and historical season that culminated in the program’s first-ever national title.
Having shaped Amherst into one of the premier teams in NCAA Division III men’s soccer, Serpone’s squad opened the memorable campaign undefeated and untied in its first 14 games of 2015, and from there earned a first round bye in the NCAA Division III Championship. The Purple & White earned three straight victories to secure its place in the program’s third NCAA Final Four in Kansas City, Mo., and its first since 2008. Amherst battled SUNY Oneonta to a 0-0 deadlock and eventually won the thrilling contest on penalty kicks, 4-3 to advance to its first-ever national championship match. The Purple & White completed the amazing journey with a 2-1 victory over Loras College.
Guiding his team to an 18-1-2 record (9-0-1 NESCAC), Serpone was named the 2015 NSCAA, D3soccer.com, and HeroSports.com Division III Coach of the Year. The 18 wins for Amherst in 2015 ties the program’s high watermark for victories as Serpone’s 2013 squad also finished that season with an 18-1-2 ledger.
Since taking the reins in 2007, Serpone has amassed a superb 138-17-24 overall record which includes four NESCAC championships (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013); nine appearances in the NCAA Division III Championship tournament; eight Sweet 16 berths; four Elite 8 appearances; a pair of Final Fours; and the program's first national championship in 2015.
The 2007 season marked Serpone’s debut at Amherst, and his team was immediately in the spotlight after rattling off 11 consecutive wins en route to a 15-2-1 mark. The 2008 season brought even more success as his team advanced to the national semifinals for only the second time in program history (first time since 1997). The Purple & White ended the 2008 season with a No. 3 ranking in the NSCAA national poll and has maintained its elite status ever since.
An historic 2012 campaign saw Amherst finish with an unblemished 17-0-3 mark, closing out the season having never trailed in a match. Racking up a 56-3 goal differential, Amherst enjoyed the best season of goal prevention in NCAA history, regardless of division. In 2013, the Purple & White increased their unbeaten streak to 40-straight games (30-0-5) dating back to 2012, the sixth longest streak in Division III history, en route to their second consecutive Elite Eight appearance. Amherst earned its first ever No. 1 national ranking during the year and finished with an 18-1-2 overall mark.
In 2014, Serpone guided the Purple & White to an impressive 14-1-6 ledger and a 7-1-2 mark in conference play. Amherst extended its conference unbeaten streak to 37 games dating back to 2011 and spanned four seasons (Oct. 26, 2011 to Oct. 18, 2014). The stretch, which included NESCAC tournament games, resulted in the seventh longest run of that kind in NCAA Division III history.
Prior to his arrival in Amherst, Serpone served as the assistant men’s soccer coach at Duke University in 2006, helping to lead the Blue Devils to an 18-4-1 record, the ACC regular season and tournament championships, and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Duke he worked as a head assistant coach at Lafayette College (2001-03) and Northwestern University (2003-06), notably helping the Wildcats compile a record of 31-20-10 after they were a combined 9-42-4 from 2001-2003.
Serpone served as President of the Student Body and earned a B.A. in economics at Drew University, also posting a 61-19-4 record as a goalkeeper for the men’s soccer team. Since graduating from Drew, Serpone has earned an “A” coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation as well as a Premier Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA).
In keeping with the academic spirit of Amherst and the NESCAC, Serpone has completed three graduate degrees, A Master of Arts from Northwestern in Sports Administration (2010) and a Master of Business Administration from Bay Path College (2012) and a Master of Arts in Higher Education from Bay Path (2012). He is currently in the process of beginning a fourth masters in Creativity and Critical Thought from the University of Massachusetts.
A native of Massachusetts, Serpone and his wife, Angela, reside in Hadley with their daughter, Lily, their son, Ty, and their dog, Cody. Angela is entering her seventh season as head coach of the women's lacrosse program at UMass Amherst, winning the Atlantic-10 conference in each of her first five seasons. Angela was also named head coach of the first-ever Italian national team, which will compete at the 2017 FIL World Cup. Serpone will serve as co-head coach.