HANOVER, N.H. -- Jeff Cook announced today that he is stepping down from his role as the Dartmouth men's soccer head coach to accept a position with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Cook served as the Big Green's head coach for 12 years and posted an overall record of 106-74-31 while leading his squad to five Ivy League titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
"We are deeply grateful for the profound impact Jeff has had on our program and on the lives of his student-athletes," said Dartmouth Athletics Director Harry Sheehy. "We at Dartmouth wish him many years of success at the professional level. Jeff will always be a member of the Big Green family."
Cook set a foundation for excellence within the men's soccer program, achieving success in the Ivy League and on the national level. Over the past nine seasons, Dartmouth earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament seven times, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2008 and again in 2010. His players earned All-Ivy League accolades 61 times, including 23 first-team selections and two Ivy League Players of the Year in Craig Henderson and Lucky Mkosana.
Cook's players have gone on to success at the professional level as well with Daniel Keat (2007-10) and Mkosana (2008-11) both drafted by MLS squads. Keat was a Supplemental Draft selection of the Los Angeles Galaxy, while the Chicago Fire made Mkosana the first Big Green player to be taken in the SuperDraft with the No. 23 pick in 2011.
Dartmouth last claimed the Ivy League title in 2011 and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which marked its fifth consecutive postseason appearance, a distinction only 12 teams in the country could boast.
Dartmouth won back-to-back Ivy League championships in 2004 and 2005, dropping only one Ivy contest in those two years. Cook and the Big Green advanced for the first time in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 after defeating Boston College on penalty kicks, before falling to the eventual national champion, Wake Forest.
The Big Green posted one of their most successful seasons in 2010, recording a 12-7-1 record and advancing to the Sweet 16, taking No. 8 UCLA to double overtime. The 12 wins were the most for the Big Green under Cook's tutelage.
"Serving as the head men's soccer coach at Dartmouth has been a tremendous honor," said Cook. "For the last 12 years, I have committed everything I have to developing our program and our student-athletes on and off the field, and am very proud of what we have been able to achieve. This career opportunity would never have been possible without the outstanding support I have received during my time at Dartmouth — from the athletic administration, colleagues within the athletic department, alumni and friends from the Upper Valley community, and most importantly our student-athletes."
Prior to taking over at Dartmouth, Cook was the head coach at the University of Cincinnati from 1996-2000 and was named the 1997 Conference USA Coach of the Year. Cook led the Bearcats to the school's first NCAA berth in 1998 and a No. 15 national ranking in 1999. The Bearcats earned Conference USA tournament bids during each of Cook's five years and advanced to the semifinals twice. Two of Cook's players earned NSCAA All-America honors, the first such recognition for a Bearcat player.
Cook served as an assistant coach under Dartmouth head coach Fran O'Leary for two seasons (1994-95) and also served as the Director of Coaching for the Upper Valley Lightning Soccer program in the Upper Valley.
A 1989 graduate of Bates College, Cook began his coaching career as an assistant at the University of Massachusetts before becoming the head coach at Division III Wheaton where he posted a 31-22-4 record.
More from Jeff Cook on his departure
"The decision to accept this coaching position with the Philadelphia Union Youth Academy was a difficult one because it meant I had to leave Dartmouth College, an institution I believe in deeply and have been privileged to represent. I would not have left Dartmouth for another collegiate coaching position, but could not turn down what I believe is a once-in-a-career opportunity to join the Union and Major League Soccer at a very exciting time for soccer in the United States. The unfortunate reality of a coaching career is that in order to progress and move forward professionally, it almost always requires moving away from what you know, and in our case we will miss everyone at Dartmouth and in the Upper Valley very much.
"This coaching position with the Philadelphia Union Youth Academy is very exciting and I look forward to working with the club in their efforts to develop an outstanding youth development academy. The Union are incredibly committed to youth development, and that message shone through as I learned more about their plans and the specific nature of my role. I believe passionately in the quality of the American youth player, and the Union will provide a pathway for some of the most outstanding youth players in the country to progress towards the elite level of our sport.
"Dartmouth remains a fantastic institution for student-athletes to pursue excellence in all areas of their life, and I believe that the best days are ahead for men's soccer and the entire athletic department. It has been a wonderful place to coach and to call home, and I look forward to following the future successes of the Big Green athletic program. I'd like to acknowledge the support of both Harry Sheehy and Drew Galbraith throughout my time as head coach as well as during this time of transition."