Winston-Salem doesn’t offer a professional team, but we have the next best thing with Wake Forest being in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The men’s soccer program (Team Website) is the most exciting and most successful men’s program currently at Wake. Bobby Muuss, a Long Island, NY native, was hired as the head coach of the program in January of 2015. In just one year, Muuss has the program back on top as one of the most successful collegiate programs in the country.
In just his first year, Muuss was honored as the ACC Coach of the Year (he won the award three times at the University of Denver). Wake was the number one team in the nation (NCAA DI) in the Rating Index Percentage (RPI) throughout the year. The team won the ACC Atlantic Division and went into the NCAA National Tournament as the number one overall seed. The Demon Deacons made it to the NCAA Elite Eight, where they lost in a 2-1 overtime battle to the eventual national champions from Stanford. Muuss finished his first season as head coach at Wake with an impressive 17-3-2 overall record. (Team Facebook Page)
Along with the quality of soccer on the field, Wake also brings an excellent fan base. These fans aren’t just WFU students, but there is also a large contingent from the Winston-Salem community, including “The Congregation” supporters club. Spry Stadium was regularly jam packed with fans, and the Demon Deacons led the country in attendance. They broke single season and single game records for the program during the 2015 season.
The 2015 season wasn’t the first go-round for Muuss as a coach at Wake Forest. After a successful playing career at Southern Connecticut State, Muuss was a four year assistant at the University of Connecticut. UCONN won the national championship in 2000, his final season working there. In 2001, Muuss was hired by Jay Vidovich as an assistant at Wake, and it was his first time to Winston-Salem. During his seven years as an assistant for WFU, Muuss helped the team to the 2006 Final Four.
He was hired as the head coach at the University of Denver in 2007, where he would remain for the next eight seasons. Muuss took the Pioneers to the NCAA Championships four times during his stint there. During his coaching career, he has now coached thirty-six players that have gone on to play professionally, including three from this past year’s Major League Soccer draft. Jack Harrison (Wake) was selected as the number one overall draft pick by the New York City Football Club. Michael Gamble (Wake) was selected by the New England Revolution, and Jordan Schweitzer (Denver) was selected by the Seattle Sounders. (2015 Season Highlight Video)
As well as coaching in Denver, Muuss also met his wife, Melodie, a Denver native. Along with his ten-year-old daughter (Camryn), Muuss now has a seventeen month old (Blayklee) and they are expecting a new-born boy next month.
What is the number one thing you missed about Winston while you were in Denver?
The sense of community that you get here in Winston. My wife had never been here before, and it was eye opening to her to see our crowds at games. Everything I did here during my time as an assistant was based around Wake. I love how the community embraces the program. When you do something, no matter how selfless you are, it is important to be appreciated. I am fortunate to be a part of this program. In Denver, we had strong programs, but we weren’t really embraced as a soccer program there. With all of the professional teams and it being such a big city, you don’t get the same sort of community feel as here. I am excited to see the program continue to grow.
Which Winston-Salem neighborhoods have you lived in?
We currently live off of Shattalon Road.
What are your top three Winston-Salem restaurants of all time?
The soccer coaching staff really likes The Village Tavern right near campus. My wife and I really enjoy going to The Porch downtown together. River Birch is another favorite, especially since it is really close to our house.
Are you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?
Thruway. We like just going there and walking up and down the strip.
Where is your favorite day trip outside of Winston?
To be honest, I haven’t had a bunch of time to get out. Melodie really enjoys going to Asheville and the mountains, since it feels closer to Denver. We also really enjoyed a trip to Blowing Rock.
If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cookies, Bojangles biscuits, or Krispy Kreme doughnuts?
Bojangles biscuits. If you threw in an ultimate bacon biscuit from Biscuitville, I would be set for life.
Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos?
Actually, the New York Giants. I love the Giants, but I support the Broncos. My wife is a huge fan of the Broncos, and I have to do what she tells me to do.