The 19th head coach in Franklin & Marshall history, Dan Wagner enters his 16th season as the squad's mentor this fall. A three-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Adidas Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, the only active coach in the region to win the award three times, Wagner has turned the Diplomats into a consistent national player.
Wagner has guided the Diplomats to 13 straight winning seasons, including eight straight appearances in the Centennial Conference (CC) Playoffs. From 2006 to present, the Diplomats have participated in the NCAA tournament six times and were seven times ranked in the top 25 of the national rankings at the season's end. Wagner’s players have been named All-America eight times during his tenure and CC Players of the Year in three seasons.
Continued excellence for F&M in 2016 was made evident by the Diplomats becoming one of just five teams in the nation to appear in four-straight NCAA Sweet 16's while also reaching the Elite Eight for the second time since 2013. At the close of the season, the Diplomats (15-4-4 overall) were recognized for its string of unremitting dominance with another record for the program, as F&M finished at No. 6 in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) National Poll – the highest finish in their history.
In 2015, F&M became the only squad in program history to reach No. 1 in the nation – a reign the Diplomats held for four consecutive weeks – while advancing to its third straight Sweet 16 and tying the all-time single-season wins mark with a 17-4 overall mark, including a run of 14 wins to open the season. By the numbers, 2015 proved to be the greatest offensive season in the history of the program as the team combined for the most goals (48), assists (36) and points (132).
The 2014 Diplomats produced an unbeaten regular-season record, secured a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and produced a number of captivating wins that will forever be imprinted in F&M lore. For the second straight season, the Diplomats opened the year with five straight shutouts for the second consecutive season and blanked their opponents 13 times during 2014 to tie the program record. F&M hosted both the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and finished the year with a No. 12 ranking, its second consecutive top-15 mark to conclude a campaign.
The 2013 season was also one for the record books as the Diplomats’ memorable campaign resulted in a remarkable run in the NCAA Tournament that reached all the way to the Elite Eight, where F&M fell to eventual champion Messiah. The Diplomats advanced further in the tournament than any other team in program history, picking up wins over Catholic (1-0) in the first round, Dickinson in the second (3-0) and Rose-Hulman (3-0) in the sectional semifinals.
Centennial Conference (CC) Champions in 2013 for the first time in program history, F&M entered the tournament winners of five straight that included a 2-1 (2OT) victory over Dickinson on Nov. 10 for its first conference championship.
F&M registered a 17-4-2 record on the season, good for the most wins in program history. Thirteen times the Diplomats shut out their opponent for the year, also a team record, and the second highest total in conference history. F&M closed out the season at No. 8 in the nation, the fifth-highest ranking ever by a CC school and the best finish since 2006.
Guiding his team to unprecedented heights in 2013, Wagner was named the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association (SPSCA) College Coach of the Year, becoming only the third non-Philadelphia based coach to receive the award.
Wagner’s first two seasons were building blocks for what would become one of the most successful stretches in program history. The Diplomats won only 12 of their 34 games in 2002 and 2003 and finished last in Centennial Conference in 03. The program came roaring back in 2004, with 11 wins marking one of the 10 best season-to-season turnarounds for a program in the NCAA that year. Since 2004 the Diplomats have only lost 33 times in 125 contests while consistently having one of the toughest schedules in the country.
Wagner's soccer pedigree is rich. Steeped in the storied tradition of Messiah soccer, where he excelled as an undergrad, Wagner is the only player to captain the Falcons for three seasons. While playing in Grantham, he earned All-Middle Atlantic Conference honors in 1991, 1994 and 1995. He finished his career at Messiah with 16 goals and 23 assists for 55 points. Wagner also captained Mechanicsburg High School for three seasons and was named Mid-Penn Player of the Year in 1991. He also was All-State and captained his EPYSA ODP team.
Wagner also directs the F&M Soccer Africa Project, a cooperative venture with Amandla Edufootball and the CTC Ten Foundation. This group has created the Chris Campbell Memorial Field as well as a clubhouse and education center in Khayelitsha South Africa. The facility operates similar to a boy’s and girl’s club in the United States and promotes positive life choices for underprivileged youth in one of the poorest areas of South Africa. The idea of the facility was conceived by Wagner, created by CTC Ten and is now managed by South African NGO Amandla Edufootball. The F&M soccer team travels to Cape Town every three years in support of the facility. Wagner also works closely with F&M’s Ware Institutes for Civic Engagement in supporting faculty and student study abroad, volunteer and community-based learning experiences.
In addition to his time at Franklin & Marshall, Wagner is the Co-Director of Tactical Team Trainers, conducting high school soccer team and player development camps. Dan’s Co-Director is Mark Wagner, who serves as the men’s soccer coach at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa.
Wagner first went from the pitch to the sideline at Northern York High School, coaching the girls' junior varsity (1994) and varsity (1995) teams. From Dillsburg, it was on to Pequea Valley High School, where he stood at the helm for two seasons. In that time, he raised the varsity boys' program from a 5-13 record in 1997, to 14-4 in 1998. The sudden turnaround earned Wagner the 1998 Lancaster-Lebanon League Section III Coach of the Year award and demonstrated his uncanny knack for making his teams instantly competitive.
|2002||8||9||2||.474||7||2||0||.777||CC Tournament Appearance|
|2004||11||5||3||.658||5||3||1||.611||CC, ECAC Tournament Appearance|
|2006||13||4||3||.650||6||1||2||.777||NCAA Tournament Appearance|
|2007||15||4||0||.789||6||4||0||.600||NCAA Tournament Appearance|
|2009||9||6||3||.583||5||3||2||.600||CC Playoff Appearance|
|2010||9||4||3||.656||5||2||3||.650||CC Playoff Appearance|
|2011||10||5||3||.611||5||3||1||.611||Finished Season Ranked No. 23 in Nation|
|2012||12||6||0||.666||5||4||0||.555||Became Program's All-Time Wins Leader|
|2013||17||4||2||.783||5||3||1||.611||First CC Championship, NCAA Elite Eight Appearance|
|2014||16||2||3||.833||9||1||2||.769||Ranked as High as No. 4 in Nation, NCAA Sweet 16|
|2015||17||4||0||.814||7||2||0||.777||First-Ever No. 1 Ranking, NCAA Sweet 16|
|2016||15||4||4||.789||7||1||1||.875||NCAA Elite Eight Appearance|