The second-winningest soccer coach in Michigan high school history is returning to the sideline where his coaching career began.
De La Salle Collegiate announced the selection of Thaier Mukhtar as head soccer coach. Mukhtar returns to De La Salle after leading the boys’ soccer program at Fraser High School for the previous six seasons. As head coach of the Ramblers, Mukhtar quickly improved a struggling program. Fraser transitioned from the Macomb Area Conference (MAC) Blue (3rd) division to the ultra-competitive Red Division. During the climb, the Ramblers captured three consecutive divisional titles (2012-14) and MHSAA district championships in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, the Ramblers advanced to the MHSAA Soccer Final Four after a regional title over Bloomfield Hills. Mukhtar earned MAC Coach of the Year honors in three successive seasons (2012-14), was the district coach of the year in both 2013 and 2014 and was the 2014 regional coach of the year. In the six years that Mukhtar roamed the sidelines, the Ramblers advanced eight student-athletes to the collegiate soccer level and earned a 93-24-24 (.695) record.
For 29 seasons as the head soccer coach at De La Salle before resigning in 2012, Mukhtar amassed an astounding 499-94-80 (.801) record that included five MHSAA state championships (1990, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2005) and one MHSAA state runner-up finish in 1994. Under the tutelage of Mukhtar, the Pilots reached the MHSAA Final Four ten times and were ranked in the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association (MHSSCA) final top-ten ranking 26 of his 29 years in charge. The program also captured 26 district titles, 18 Catholic High School League (CHSL) Championships and reached the MHSAA regional final round 15 times between 1983 and 2011. During his career with the Pilots, Mukhtar has been named MHSSCA state coach of the year ten times and earned CHSL Coach of the year honors an astounding 18 times.
Not only did the Pilots program produce team success, it amassed tremendous individual accolades under Mukhtar as well. His teams at De La Salle produced 113 MHSSCA All-State players, 58 NCAA Division 1 student-athletes and 78 more who went on to play at other levels of collegiate soccer. In addition, the program produced Brian Maisonneuve who is “arguably the most decorated player in state history,” according to Steve Kaminski of MLive.com in a September, 2017 ranking of the top 25 players in Michigan prep history. Maisonneuve led De La Salle to the 1990 Class ‘A’ state title and later captured the Hermann Trophy (nation’s top collegiate player) in 1994 while a student at Indiana University. Maisonneuve was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team and the 1998 U.S. Soccer World Cup Team before playing professionally.
In July of 2017, Mukhtar stepped down as head coach of the Fraser girls’ soccer program after 14 years of service. Although he made his mark as a teacher and coach at De La Salle, an all-boys school, Mukhtar proved he was just as skilled at leading girls when he took over the program in 2003. The Ramblers went on to capture seven MAC divisional titles and three MHSAA District championships out of seven district finals appearances. Mukhtar earned MAC Coach of the Year status six times and the program helped produce 23 student-athletes that went on to play college soccer.
After 35 years, Mukhtar has a career record of 774-195-144 (.781) He is a member of the MHSSCA Hall of Fame (2013), Catholic High School League Hall of Fame (1998), Macomb County Hall of Fame (2005) and the De La Salle Collegiate Athletic Hall of Fame (2004). In 2008, Mukhtar was named National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
With the departure of head coach Reid Friedrichs in December, conversations between De La Salle athletic director Mike Watson and Coach Mukhtar focused on a possible return for the legendary coach.
“I bleed purple and gold,” Mukhtar said. “I love being a teacher at De La Salle and I love the relationships I have with former and current students and their families. Our motto is ‘Builders of Boys; Makers of Men.’ I’ve never focused on winning more than I’ve focused on helping our young men be the best people they can possibly be,” he continued. “I always say that this is my vocation from God.”
There will be a formal introduction of Coach Mukhtar in the De La Salle Collegiate Commons on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 5:30 PM. All students, parents and alumni are invited. The Pilots soccer team tryouts for all levels will begin on August 8, 2018.
De La Salle Collegiate High School is an all-boys, private Catholic High School, conducted by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The school was founded in 1926.
De La Salle is located in Warren, Michigan, a Detroit suburb located in Macomb County. The school offers a college preparatory curriculum. De La Salle’s athletic teams are called the Pilots, and nearly every team is part of the Catholic High School League (CHSL), operated by the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Interested students are invited to contact the Admissions Office for application information, as well as information regarding financial aid and tuition. For more information on this story or any other athletic-department matter, contact Mike Watson, Director of Athletics at 586.541.6229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org