Rob McConville is coming home, so to speak.
The former standout for the Hand boys soccer team in the late 1990s is coming back to Madison to coach the school’s girls soccer team.
“This is the job I have wanted for awhile. I’ve patiently waited. When it became available, I reached out,” McConville said.
McConville, 38, interviewed for the position the last time it was open in 2014. It went to Dave Dikranian, who stayed on for six seasons. McConville served as an assistant with the Hand boys soccer team from 2009-15.
“I never really wanted to leave Hand, but I had no route there to get head coaching experience,” McConville said.
So McConville headed up a few exits on Interstate-95 North and took over the girls program at Westbrook in 2016. The Knights had not qualified for the Class S state tournament since 2009.
Westbrook qualified in McConville’s second season as head coach.
“Six wins for a program doesn’t sound like a lot, but coming from one, it is,” said McConville, who is a real estate agent for William Pitt Sotheby’s Realty. Westbrook had one victory in 2014. “We then graduated nine starters from the team that went to the playoffs (2017). That third year, there were seven starting freshmen, so we had to start over. I left the program in a lot better (shape) than I found it, which was the goal all along.”
McConville starred as a center-midfielder and a center back for the Tigers boys’ program, helping the team win a Class L co-state championship in 1997 and return to the L final in 1999.
McConville got the job in early March and was scheduled to meet with the players right before the COVID-19 pandemic closed down the Madison schools. He still is awaiting the opportunity to meet with them.
“I wanted to let (distance learning) work itself out. Hopefully in the next phase (of re-opening the state), we will then be able to have small gatherings and then will be able to meet with them,” McConville said. “It’s a chance for me to just continue the things I learned here as a player. We will use the soccer field as an extension of the classroom.
“This is why I moved back to town after college, to raise a family here. I love working in this town. I consider this a big responsibility. I’ll put a lot of hard work into it. I’m excited.”