In four seasons in charge of the Central Michigan soccer program, Peter McGahey has built a solid program with an emphasis on defense, leading the Chippewas to a combined 23-17-5 Mid-American Conference record. CMU has ranked in the top five in the MAC in goals allowed, goals against average and shutouts in each of McGahey's four years at the helm.
McGahey was named the fifth head coach in program history on Jan. 9, 2013. In 2016, he guided CMU to a 15-3-3 record, tying for the third-most victories in the 20-year history of the program. It was CMU’s most victories since 2012. The Chippewas finished 6-2-3 in MAC play in 2016, placing second in the West Division and third overall. CMU’s 15 victories were a league high, and the Chippewas advanced to the MAC Tournament semifinals, bowing to eventual champion Kent State.
Alexis Pelafas scored 16 goals and totaled 35 points, both program records, in 2016, while goalkeeper Kristen Knutson recorded nine shutouts, the fourth-highest total for a single season in program history. Knuston’s 15 victories are the second-most for a season in Chippewa history.
Three Chippewas -- Pelafas, Eliza Van de Kerkhove and Madison Pogarch -- were named to the All-MAC team, Marle Bringard earned a nod to the MAC All-Freshman squad, and Kaylin Hoomaian and Taylor Potts each earned a spot on the MAC All-Tournament Team. Pelafas and Van de Kerkhove were also named to the Great Lakes All-Region Team.
The McGahey-led Chippewas also earned a slew of academic honors in 2016, led by Christen Chiesa, who was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American and was also nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Chiesa and Hoomaian were named to the Academic All-District team, and a league-high 15 Chippewas earned Academic All-MAC honors, bringing to 26 the number of such honors McGahey’s players have earned during his tenure.
That the Chippewas have been highly competitive in the MAC during McGahey's reign is due in part to the rugged non-conference schedule CMU annually faces as a lead-in to the conference campaign.
In 2017, the Chippewas will again face a non-league slate loaded with stiff competition, opening the campaign with a trip to Lawrence, Kan., where they will play Tulsa and Kansas. Five of CMU’s first six games are on the road. Two of those first six opponents, Kansas and Marquette, played in the Women’s College Cup in 2016.
Marquette is the defending BIG EAST regular-season champion, while Kansas finished second in the Big 12 last fall.
McGahey came to CMU after a highly successful five-year run at Minnesota State, where his teams finished a combined 74-21-13 (.755 win percentage) and appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament four times.
McGahey was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Coach of the Year in 2012 after leading the Mavericks to a program-best 17-1-5 record, including 14-0-1 in league play as they claimed their first regular-season NSIC championship and became the first team in that conference to go unbeaten in league play since 2008.
The Mavericks also claimed their first-ever Central Regional Championship that season, advancing farther in the NCAA Tournament than any team in program history.
McGahey helped 30 Minnesota State players earn All-NSIC honors, while five Mavericks earned nine separate All-American honors athletically and academically under his watch.
McGahey's defenses were among the best in the country at Minnesota State, ranking in the top 25 nationally in goals-against average in four of his five seasons.
The Mavericks' offenses were just as impressive under McGahey, as they led the NSIC in goals scored in each of his final two seasons. Minnesota State ranked 15th in the country in 2012 with 2.52 goals per contest.
Prior to his time at Minnesota State, McGahey spent 2007 as an assistant coach at South Dakota State, and was an assistant at Central Oklahoma in 2004, helping the Broncos claim the Lone Star Conference regular-season championship.
In 2005-07, McGahey served as the Technical Director for the Colorado Fusion Soccer Club, playing a leading role in the merger of the Denver Soccer Club and the Colorado Sting FC, which resulted in the club's increase from 2,400 to 5,000 youth players.
McGahey served as the State Director of Coaching and Player Development for the Oklahoma Soccer Association from 2001-05, leading the technical programs for approximately 40,000 youth players. His work gained him the knowledge to write with Dr. Pater Pierror "The Soccer Coach's Guide to Working with Players and Parents,” which was published in 2004.
McGahey played four seasons for the University of Denver from 1992-96, where he received his bachelor's degree in communications. He earned his master's in physical education at Ball State University in 2005 and is pursuing his Doctorate from Minnesota State in Educational Leadership with an interest on experiential learning, self-efficacy and coaching efficacy.
A native of Denver, Colo., McGahey and his wife Dawn have two children, Ella and Will.