Written by Seattle University Athletics
October 1, 2018
Image credit: JDMSCreations
Hotel rooms and trophies. These two things seemingly have little in common, but for Coach Pete Fewing and Seattle University men’s soccer, they go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Fewing began his head-coaching career at SU in 1988. Since then, he has taken Seattle U to a pair of national championships and five Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships. Fewing has also overseen countless hotel room cleanups around the country.
“Anytime the team traveled, Pete would make sure we all picked up our rooms when we checked out,” said Potter. “That means picking up trash, throwing out used soap, putting our sheets in a pile, and opening windows to air out rooms when we could. It was all to help the hotel staff. Who wants to handle used soap?”
In 2018, Fewing will coach his 25th season at Seattle U. On Sept. 9, he coached his 500th career game. And with three more wins, Fewing will claim his 300th career victory. Midway through the schedule, the Redhawks are well on their way to extending their string of 11-win seasons to six consecutive years.
“It’s important what we do on the field. It’s more important what we do off the field. And it’s most important what we do after the field.” That phrase has become a mantra for Fewing’s program. The Redhawks have been successful on the field, as Fewing and his staff work tirelessly to recruit and develop elite players. Off the field, the team excels in the classroom, works with local youth programs and hosts summer camps. After the field, though, is where Fewing is most proud of his program.
“It’s all interwined,” said Fewing. “We have an alumni network that covers many forms of employment. Medical, law, education, business-we have people all over.”
Fewing has created a culture within his alumni that spans decades.
“It’s my nature to help create relationships,” said Fewing. “I love the game and what it provides. I would say that I talk with a former player of mine seven days a week. Sometimes it’s just to check in, other times it’s to try to help with bigger decisions.”
“He’s made it a priority to make this a tight-knit group,” said Matt Potter, a 1997 graduate. “It starts with soccer, but it’s the principles he’s teaching that stay with you and make you want to keep in touch with the program.”
“He’s really a father figure to a lot of people,” said Bobby McAlister, a 2005 graduate and a member of SU’s 2004 NCAA Division II Championship team . “Pete’s great at getting people together and making alumni feel comfortable. I think he gets joy from making those connections.”
McAlister and Hamza Haddadi, a 2016 graduate and a key player in SU’s run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2015, had similar experiences playing for Fewing.
“After you’re done playing, you look at what he does differently,” said McAlister. “When you’re playing, it seems like he’s really harping on you, but after you finish, it makes more sense. He’s trying instill values that will help you in life.”
“It’s kind of a trick that he pulls,” said Haddadi. “He tries to teach you all these little things off the field-making sure the details are right, focusing on helping people-and in the end, they help you on the field. The things he is teaching end up making you a better player and better person.”
Joe Zavaglia began the men’s soccer program at Seattle U in 1967. From the beginning, the team played because it loved the sport, but it was also aware of the opportunities made available by interacting with others.
“The program has a legacy of building character and being other-centric,” said Zavaglia. “It’s important to win soccer games, but it’s more about making a difference in the world.”
Seattle U is set for another stellar season in 2018, and perhaps more hardware will come Fewing’s way this fall. But one thing is certain-the hotels in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Houston, and the other cities SU visits this season will be happy to see the Redhawks in town.
“He’s all about helping other people,” said Potter. “Soccer is the catalyst for everything, but he’s teaching his players about life. Everything he focuses on is about remembering how you impact other people. He tries to help others out in little and big ways.”
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