By BRIAN CUNNIFF
WILDWOOD — The coach who revived the Wildwood High School boys soccer program is stepping down.
Steve DeHorsey coached his final game Monday when the Warriors lost their season finale, 6-0, to Glassboro at Kaitlin M. Anzelone Memorial Field.
The team finished with a 5-12-1 record.
“You don’t get to pick and choose what game you’re going to end with,” DeHorsey said with a laugh, “unless you win a championship and decide to walk away.”
One of Wildwood’s all-time greats as a player, DeHorsey coached the school’s girls team with his sister, Nicole, for three seasons from 2003 through 2005. He then restarted the boys program in 2006 after it had gone defunct after the 1998 season due to low numbers.
After quite a few seasons with massive growing pains, Wildwood became increasingly competitive in the Tri-County Classic Division under DeHorsey’s watch despite rarely featuring many players with much soccer experience outside of Wildwood’s program.
The high-water mark came in 2018 when the Warriors set a program record for victories when finishing 13-6 and placing second in the Classic Division.
Although Wildwood finished the 2021 campaign with just five wins, the future appears bright. As many as seven freshmen and sophomores were regular starters. A couple of other younger players played roles off the bench.
DeHorsey had informed his players earlier this season that he would not return as coach.
“There are things I’ll miss, there are things I’m not going to miss,” DeHorsey said. “I hope I’m leaving the program in a better state than it was when I arrived. I’ll miss the kids, I’ll miss the relationships and I’ll miss the competition.
“The only two things we didn’t accomplish that I wanted to — one was putting a banner up in the gym and the other was winning a (state) playoff game. Other than that I think we’ve come a long way. I think we’re a much more consistent program than we’ve been in the past.”
DeHorsey graduated from Wildwood in 1994 as the boys soccer program’s all-time leading scorer with 44 career goals. That mark has since been surpassed by three players — Tyler Tomlin (57), Jared Irwin (56) and Dennis McAllister (54). DeHorsey was also a starting guard on the school’s boys basketball team as a high school student.
“Coaching at the same high school where I played always meant something to me,” DeHorsey said. “It’s an honor.”
DeHorsey went on to star and was part of three conference championship teams at Division II Catawba College. He later played professionally for the Carolina Dynamo.
DeHorsey works as a supervisor in the North Wildwood Recreation Department.
“I’ll still be around and I’m still going to follow them,” DeHorsey said of his players. “I’ll be looking forward to seeing them have success.”