One of the most successful coaches in not only Division II men's soccer coaching history, but in NCAA men's soccer history, Tony Martone concluded his 34th season at Merrimack College in the fall of 2015.
Martone and the Warriors lived up to high expectations in 2015, winning 15 games for the second straight year as well as advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Warriors finished second in the Northeast-10 Conference, winning nine of 13 conference games. The Navy and Gold won at least one NCAA Tournament game for the third time in the last four years.
Martone's record now stands at 348-262-51 (.588), one that ranks him seventh in wins among active Division II coaches and 19th all-time in Division II.
Martone coached six players to all-conference selections, including three players who made various all-region squads. Julio Leon Garcia was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American, the fifth player to receive All-American designation in program history. Augusto Silva scored the second most goals (12) by a Warrior over the last 18 years, and graduated among the top-15 scores in program history (66 points).
Powered by a balance offense and a defensive unit that allowed less than one goal per game for the third straight season, the Warriors captured their 11th consecutive winning season in 2014 in what was arguably the best year in program history. Martone and the Warriors finished the season with 15 victories, tied for the second most in program history. Merrimack qualified for its second ever NCAA Tournament, advancing to the East Region Final for the first time in program history. The Warriors defeated Philadelphia University and then upset second-seeded Souther Connecticut en route to the regional final.
Highlighted by a defensive unit that ranked among the nation's best, Martone helped guide the Warriors to their 10th straight winning season in 2013 as well as returned to the Northeast-10 Conference Championships for the 10th year in a row. Martone’s Warriors wrapped up the year with a 13-4-2 overall record while defensively, the Warriors established a new season record for fewest goals allowed (10) and goals-against average (0.51).
2012 was another historic year for Martone, as the Warriors posted a 15-4-2 overall record, claiming the program's fourth Northeast-10 Conference regular season title in the process while also qualifying for the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in program history.
Merrimack also enjoyed a historic 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1) during the 2012 campaign, as the Warriors won the NE-10 regular season title on the final day of the season by means a 4-0 thrashing of Saint Rose. Merrimack would finish as the runner-up in the Northeast-10 Championships but would make up for it with the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 1-0 win over Franklin Pierce before falling to Southern New Hampshire in the Second Round.
The fall of 2012 was also highlighted by Martone eclipsing the 300-win plateau.
For his efforts, Martone was named the Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year, as well as the NSCAA East Regional Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the NCAA National Coach of the Year Award, as well.
Martone also coached several players to outstanding individual campaigns that fall, as goalkeeper Jose Silva and forward Franklin Lemus Pena were named NSCAA All-Americans, as well as Goalkeeper and Player of the Year, respectively. Several others earned spots on the Daktronics All-Regional Team and All-Conference NE-10 Teams, as well.
On Oct. 1, 2011, Merrimack College renamed its turf field Martone-Mejail Field to recognize Tony Martone and Gabe Mejail, the Merrimack women's soccer head coach, for their dedication and service to the Merrimack soccer programs.
In 2011, the Warriors went 9-7-3 on the year and 7-6-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference, marking the 20th winning season under Martone. Merrimack made its eighth consecutive Northeast-10 Conference Tournament appearance in 2011, earning the No. 5 seed.
Robbie Sabadoz was selected to the Northeast-10 All-Conference first team, NSCAA All-Region team, Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District and All-America first teams. Sabadoz became just the third player in program history to amass 100 career points in 2011.
Martone's Warriors posted a 9-8-1 overall record and 5-7-1 mark in the Northeast-10 in 2010. Merrimack began the year with six straight victories and finished the first month of the season with a 7-1 mark after knocking off then-No. 2 Southern N.H., 1-0, in a memorable match. The Warriors concluded the campaign by making their seventh consecutive Northeast-10 Conference playoff appearance. In 2010, Merrimack climbed to as high as No. 14 in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com National Poll.
In 2009, the Warriors posted an 11-7-1 record, earning a top five finish in the Northeast-10 Conference for the sixth straight season. Before falling in the Northeast-10 Quarterfinals to Southern Connecticut, 2-1, Martone led his team to 10 or more wins for the sixth consecutive year. One of Martone's top recruits, sophomore Robbie Sabadoz, tied the program record with 19 goals in a season while being named the NE-10 Player of the Year--the first since Steve MacAuliffe in 1997. Sabadoz also became just the second player to be named an all-American in Martone's tenure since MacAuliffe.
In 2008, the Warriors posted a 10-4-4 record, losing in the Northeast-10 Quarterfinals in penalty kicks to Le Moyne. Merrimack started the season 8-1-2, earning a No. 1 regional ranking and a No. 8 national ranking, led by all-conference first-team selection Tiago Dalboni and first-year sensation Robbie Sabadoz.
The Warriors posted a 13-6-3 mark in 2007, falling just short of their first NCAA Tournament berth. Merrimack reached the conference championship before falling to Southern Connecticut State. The Warriors were the only conference team to defeat the eventual national champion Franklin Pierce that fall.
Martone, who holds a United States Soccer Federation ‘A License,’ has earned the distinction of consistently fielding competitive teams. During his tenure, his teams have won four Northeast-10 regular season championships as well as three tournament championships. When the Warriors participated in the ECAC tournament, his teams were selected for postseason play for a record six straight years and won the overall ECAC championship in 1997.
Martone's emphasis on academics has also paid off in the classroom as many of his players have earned conference, regional and national academic team honors. In 2008, 2009, 2012, the Warriors were named to the NSCAA Academic All-American team. He holds the distinction of having graduated every four-year student-athlete that has participated in his program. In addition, two of his former players - Steve McAuliffe (1997) and Matt Johnson (1999) - were the recipients of the ‘ECAC Scholar Athlete of the Year’ award. This prestigious award is given to the top student-athlete in the ECAC from a pool of over 7,000 eligible athletes from all male sports. They are the only two athletes in Merrimack history to have earned this honor.
Martone began his coaching career in 1981 as an assistant coach at Curry College. In 1982, he became the youngest head coach in the country when he was hired by Merrimack at the age of 24. His abilities, commitment and passion for the sport of soccer have earned him numerous coaching honors over the years. The list includes: N.E.I.S.L. Coach of the Year in 1994, 2004; E.M.S.C.A. ‘College Coach of the Year’ in 1995 and 2004; and Northeast-10 ‘Coach of the Year’ in 1987, 1994, 2002, and 2004. In 1994, Martone was recognized by Soccer New England as ‘The person who did the most for soccer in 1994’ and was inducted into the Massachusetts Senior Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.
For his dedication and professional accomplishments in the coaching world, Martone was named the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Region I Coach of the Year, and the runner-up National Coach of the Year following the 2006-07 season.
Along with coaching the Warriors, Martone has been involved with many other soccer programs across the New England Region, ranging from youth to the professional level. Professionally, he has coached with the Boston Bolts of the ASL and the Cape Cod Crusaders of the USISL – both of which qualified for post-season play in each of his seasons behind the bench - and has also worked with the coaching staff and management of the Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution, primarily as a scout.
Additionally, some of his youth teams went on to win state and regional championships. Several of Martone’s players have moved on to play at various levels of the US National Teams, including the Men’s National team and the Olympic team, as well as overseas. Further, over 40 of his former protégés have gone on to join the coaching ranks at the college and/or professional levels. From 2000 through 2004, Martone coached the Massachusetts Men's State Team. During this time, his team was ranked in the top 10 state associations in the country.
Martone has been and continues to be an ambassador for the sport in different capacities. In 1983, he helped to establish the South Shore Sports Center, one of the very first full-fledged indoor soccer facilities in the country. The facility has been the blueprint for the hundreds of similar facilities in existence across the country. In the summer of 2009, Martone sold the business after 27 years of serving Boston's South Shore.
One of the most rewarding experiences for Martone came in 1994, when he was selected as the Competition Manager for the Boston/Foxboro venue for the 1994 World Cup. In his capacity, he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of competition, including the management of all the World Cup games played in Boston. For his efforts, he was recognized by US Soccer and World Cup USA 1994 as ‘The best competition manager in the country.’
Martone is a 1981 graduate of Boston College, where he earned three varsity letters. The highlight of his playing career came in 1980, when he was invited to train with U.S. Avellino of the Italian First Division. His efforts and abilities earned him a contract offer which would have loaned him to a third division team. While his dream of playing professionally came to an abrupt end due to a serious injury, Martone has remained an active player for many top semi-professional and amateur teams throughout New England. He currently still completes in an over-40 division.
Martone resides in Saugus, Mass., with his wife, Patricia, and his two daughters - Rosalba and Antonella.