MONSON — After 30 years coaching girls soccer for Monson Public Schools, Eric Degnan was honored as a 2023 Coach of the Year recipient by the United Soccer Coaches on Jan. 12 in Anaheim, California.

The event was held at Anaheim Marriott Hotel across two events; a breakfast for the Regional Staff of the Year, then a ceremony at night for Coach of the Year recipients. The Monson School Committee donated $1,000 and the Monson Athletic Boosters Association gave $250 to help reduce the cost for Degnan to attend the event, he said.

Degnan first became a coach for girls junior varsity soccer during his second year of teaching physical education at Monson High School. Eleven years later, he moved to coaching varsity level where he has coached for 19 years.

During his time as coach, Degnan led his teams to win “14 league championships, eight Western Mass. championships and two state championships,” Select Board Clerk Peter Warren stated during the Dec. 12, 2023 meeting where the board honored Degnan and his team’s recent win at the 2023 Division 5 State Championship.

In addition to gifting $1,000 to use toward jackets for the team, the Select Board also proclaimed Dec. 12, 2023. as “Coach Eric Degnan Day” to further honor his years of coaching.

When asked about his approach to coaching, Degnan said he encouraged his players to “work hard and have fun. The rest will take care of themselves.”

“I feel so fortunate to spend as many years in a town that means so much to me as Monson,” Degnan said, explaining that he has worked with “so many quality kids” and will “cherish [his coaching experience] forever.”

He stated that, prior to the beginning of this season, Degnan had decided that 2023-24 would be his last year coaching. Yet, he emphasized that he feels “so blessed” to have coached for Monson. Degnan will continue to teach at the high school.

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