Manlius Twenty-one years is a long time to coach junior varsity boys’ soccer — especially with an 87 percent win rate.
It’s a long time to coach freshman baseball and modified basketball too, but for Brent Ostrander, the spotlight is unappealing. That’s why he’s stayed at Fayetteville-Manlius High School for more than two decades, maintaining those positions and picking up a modified wrestling gig along the way.
“My thing is love the sport, love the kid and my biggest reward is having them come back and tell me what they’re doing successfully in life, as opposed to soccer,” Ostrander said. “Life first, school and all that and then we worry about soccer. It all falls into place.”
Ostrander’s resume boasts more victories than those belonging to the vast majority of varsity coaches nationwide. Since coming to F-M as a 20-year old from Central Square, he’s strung together a number of undefeated campaigns.
But Ostrander doesn’t do it for the accolades, he does it for the kids— the more than 1,000 14-to-18 year-olds he’s reached during his time at F-M.
While he still calls himself a country boy, Ostrander has become a staple of the budding F-M soccer community, complete with 1,200 recreational participants and 500 in travel programs.
Working with varsity head coach Jeff Hammond, Ostrander has helped transform a Hornets program which finished each of the last two seasons undefeated and currently sits at 8-2-1, atop the CNY Counties League American Division.
“He’s been a fixture in our program,” Hammond said. “One of the reasons we have such success is because he does such a good job at the JV level. The kids like him. He gets a lot out of them. He develops kids. He’s the epitome of a coach.”
Recently, Ostrander earned his 300th career JV victory as the Hornets took down Baldwinsville 3-0. But for him, it was just another win, and wins don’t matter.