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2018-19 Stories of the Year (No. 5): Saleska passes the torch

Photo by Jordan Vredeveld
Photo by Jordan Vredeveld

MEQUON, Wis. – The 2018-19 athletic year was another successful one for the Concordia Wisconsin Athletic Department. The Falcons won and contended for conference championships in many sports and put together an impressive list of great achievements. As in years past, the Department of Athletic Communications tries to sort through all the great moments and give you, the fans, top stories from the past year.

The list of stories was compiled by the Department of Athletic Communications and, like all lists, is subject to debate. The top stories will be revealed over the next three weeks, with a story being released on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The top story will be released on June 20.

No. 5 Story

Coach Saleska passes the torch

After 26 years; which included 324 victories, nine conference titles and two trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament, Tom Saleska has announced he is stepping down as the head coach of the Concordia Wisconsin men's soccer program.

Saleska began his tenure as head coach in 1993 and led the team in the Lake Michigan Conference and Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. In a span from 1996 to 2004, he guided the program to six LMC regular season titles, three LMC Tournament Championships and two bids to the NCAA Division III Championship. In addition, they won two of the last four NACC regular season titles.

The Falcons had a great deal of success under Saleska; with 119 players earning all-conference honors, 46 named all-region and two earning All-America status. As well, five student-athletes were named Scholar All-America and the team twice earned a team academic award from the national soccer coaches organization.

During his 26 years at the helm of the men's soccer program, they won double-digit games in 24 of those seasons, including a program record 18 wins during the 1996 season. His teams compiled a 324-156-6 overall record and a 185-55-17 record during conference play.

He has also been named conference Coach of the Year five times, three of those coming in the LMC. Concordia Wisconsin's soccer program also has an excellent reputation around the central part of the country, demonstrated by its regional ranking in the coaches' poll in eight of the past 16 seasons.

Saleska will continue as a full-time professor teaching in the science department at Concordia Wisconsin.

Concordia University Wisconsin Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Barnhill then announced the hiring of John Saleska as head coach for the men's soccer program.

Saleska is the fifth head coach in program history and has served as the assistant coach since 2015.

Saleska was hired as the full-time Director of Soccer Operations for both the men's and women's soccer programs in March 2012 before transitioning to being an assistant with just the men's program in 2015. He previously served as the graduate assistant coach and played four years for the Falcons, three as the starting right back. His playing resume includes three-consecutive conference championships and back-to-back second-round appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Before his time at CUW, he was a three-year varsity defender at West Bend East High School and part of that school's first-ever Little 10 championship squad.

2018-19 CUW Athletics Stories of the Year

HM: Acrobatics and Tumbling continues to shine

No. 5: Coach Saleska passes the torch

No. 4: June 11

No. 3: June 13

No. 2: June 18

No. 1: June 20