Coach Bob Gould standing outside on the MVCC running track

For over four decades, Associate Professor and Coach Bob Gould served as a knowledgeable teacher, coach, and mentor to his students, athletes, and colleagues at MVCC, and no matter which role he was in at any given moment, there was a common message he strived to instill: Hard work pays off.

As an instructor, Bob infused this message into every course he taught for MVCC’s physical education curriculum, especially Fitness Center (PE154). “The class itself is easy, but it may be the hardest class you’ll ever take because physical fitness never ends,” he says. “If you’re healthy you’re more prepared for the stresses of your occupation, the stresses of life.”

Coach Gould instructing students in the Fitness Center

As a coach, Bob also expected hard work. Team practices were organized and demanding, and no matter what the sport, Bob understood how to bring out the best in his athletes. “They had to be fit to support their teammates. That was part of the hard work.”

During his time at MVCC, Bob was head coach for Baseball, Men’s Tennis, and of course, Men’s Soccer, which he coached for 38 years. “That was probably my premier sport, and certainly the sport that I enjoyed the most.”

With Bob at the helm, the Men’s Soccer Team consistently advanced to the top four of the NJCAA Region III, one of the most competitive regions for men’s soccer in the nation. He led his team to the Region III Tournament numerous times and amassed 368 victories.

“With a lot of successes, one person gets recognized, but there are so many people involved,” he says. “When you have a team — and I think of the College as a team — you need shoulders to stand on. There are some phenomenal people at Mohawk Valley, and I was fortunate to have their support throughout my career.”

Coach and players on soccer field

Memorable moments and matches

Bob has fond memories of many of his players, their victories, and their losses.  

Two specific games stand out in his memory — one was a regional match against Jamestown. The Hawks were the favorite, but the first half didn’t go as planned. Jamestown scored a goal, then confusion over an offsides play led to another goal by Jamestown, and the Hawks were behind before the first half. “It was a critical moment in the game,” Bob says. “I lost my cool a little bit and told the linesman he would never officiate on my field again. And they red-carded me. I had to leave the field and couldn’t have any association with the players for the rest of the game.”

As he headed off the field, Bob told his players to rally in the second half. Assistant Coach Dan Ianno stepped in to coach, reiterating Bob’s message to the team. The Hawks ultimately defeated Jamestown 5-2. “It was like a storybook game that could have gone the other way.”

Bob also recalls a match that pitted MVCC against rival Herkimer in the Regional Finals, with the winner advancing to the Nationals. The Hawks, wrapping up an 18-2 season, played a strong game, but in a critical moment, the ball hit the post, leading to a heartbreaking loss for MVCC. “I really felt for those guys,” he says. “For me, there would be more games. I got to coach for another 20 years. But those guys — that game would stay with them.”

But there are lessons in defeat, and Bob believes they’ve helped his players flourish on the field and beyond. “You get knocked down in life, but you have to get back up. Athletes do this every day; they learn how to handle defeat — they know the importance of sacrifice and practice.”

Bob talks with pride about his student-athletes — many of whom he is still in contact with today. “Every team has something special. There are so many great stories.”

One year, Bob had a soccer player who was majoring in Nursing, a demanding program with clinical hours outside of class. While his schedule made it difficult to make every practice and game, he did his best — driving himself to away games and taking extra measures to be ready to hit the field when the Hawks played at home. “He would wear his soccer uniform under his nursing garb,” Bob says. “When he got back to the school after his clinicals, he’d be running to the field, taking off his nursing garb as he ran. That was his warmup.”

'He brings out the best in his athletes'

Coach smiling, talking to soccer playerThroughout his coaching career, Bob earned numerous accolades, including NJCAA Region III Division III Coach of the Year (1998), Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year (multiple years), and Region III and Conference Co-Coach of the Year (2007). In 2019, he was named to the NJCAA Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

But for Bob, the greatest reward is hearing from his athletes. “Certainly, you get inspired by the game-winning goals, but to have athletes come back and tell you that you were the guy who turned their life around is really heartwarming.”

For many MVCC Soccer alumni, Bob continues to be an inspiration years after their last match playing for the Hawks.

“Coach Gould was like a father to me,” says Mateus Luis Guerreiro, an MVCC soccer star and 2003 Business Management program graduate who is now director at M.L. Guerreiro Sports Marketing in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “He brings out the best in his athletes and is one of the best examples of a man I have ever seen. He taught me so much — how to focus and how to be a better person. He pushed me hard, seeing that I could be the best I could be, and I was an NJCAA All-American because of him. I am so thankful for everything he did for me.”

Barrett Hawes ’07, a physical education teacher and head boys’ soccer coach at Mount Markham, says Bob was an important mentor. “Coach Gould was always passionate and energetic in developing the best person I could be on the pitch and in the field of teaching. One of my favorite things about him is that he’s a family man. He’d bring his youngest son, David, around at times, and would ask about my family when I’d see him after graduating from MVCC. Even though he may be done teaching at MVCC, his legacy continues in the lives he has touched.”

Bob served not only as a role model and knowledgeable resource for students, but also for his colleagues. Always generous with his time and expertise, he has volunteered for numerous College committees, initiatives, and charitable events, most notably as the pace cyclist for the annual Ted Moore Run/Walk.

“I think I live and bleed Mohawk Valley Hawk green, and I’ve been rewarded, being able to stay here for 43 years. It’s been a great run.”

Group photo of soccer alumni