At the team’s match against Notre Dame on Friday night, the NC State men’s soccer team honored the memory of long-time head coach George Tarantini who passed away on Sept. 23.
“Yeah, it's a tough question,” men’s soccer head coach George Kiefer said. “But since I got to campus, my staff and I, it's been about showing George some respect, but also the players and when he had it really rolling in the early 90s. You know, his passing has hit us all very hard. But, what I would say is I feel good, we were honoring him since day one, and then to be fair, I consider him a good friend, we got really close and had a lot of good laughs together.”
Tarantini retired from the program in November of 2010 as the winningest coach in its history with an all-time record of 234-197-43. The legendary coach spent 29 years in total with the program, 25 of which were as its head coach.
Leading the Pack to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, Tarantini’s best season saw the Wolfpack win its first ACC Championship in 1990 and reach the NCAA Tournament Final Four where it lost to eventual champions UCLA on penalty kicks.
Tarantini also oversaw the development of a number of the Wolfpack’s most successful alumni, including six who all played for the United States Men’s National Team during their careers: Tab Ramos, Roy Lassiter, Dario Brose, Scott Schweitzer, Pablo Mastroeni and Henry Guttierez.
Among the numerous honors he accumulated over his long career, Tarantini was named ACC Coach of the Year twice, 1992 and 1994, and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year once, 1994.
The impact that Tarantini had on the program lives on among players of the team today, players such as sophomore forward Kuda Muskwe.
“One thing that since I've come in coach has made a big deal of us remembering what people have done before us,” Muskwe said. “So we're always looking, we're looking back at what they've done and trying to recreate that as we move forward in everything that we do. So his presence is still very much felt and it's nice to have that.”
The impact Tarantini had on the campus went far beyond the soccer field however as he impacted the lives of people all over campus.
“I do know, when he spoke to our team it took like three years just to get him to come back on campus,” Kiefer said. “So for him to come and speak to the team and WB and then see all the people that he impacted, the business office, Sports Medicine. Everybody was like the president and walked in. Everybody was coming out to say hi to George. But I know he understands how much the program respected his body of work here. So I feel good about that.”