The Bears’ Women’s Soccer program enters its third decade of existence, and it’s never been in better hands than the man who begins his 2nd decade at the helm: Chris Sagar. Sagar has become the longest-tenured coach in the program’s history by accomplishing what very few coaches can do: taking a program whose success is growing, and bring it even higher without a hiccup. Sagar has celebrated six double-digit win seasons in his 9 previous seasons, and eight of his nine teams have been playoff-bound. He’s also led the team to the only Region I Finals appearance in their history.
Sagar is a study of using his experience-in the sport, in the conference, and in the Bears’ Women’s Soccer Program-to bring forth a consistently better product every year. As a player, Sagar spent his youth excelling at the highest levels, representing his native Trinidad and Tobago at the 1988 Junior World Cup Qualifying Tournament, and then the CONCACAF qualifying rounds for the ’92 Olympics (as a member of the country’s U-19 and U-23 teams, respectively). His time at CONCACAF was sandwiched between two historic seasons between the pipes as the goalkeeper for the legendary Yavapai College Men’s Soccer team in Prescott. Sagar was the NJCAA National Tournament’s Most Valuable Goalkeeper both of his years at YC, and led the Roughriders to a national championship as a sophomore in 1992 before finishing his playing career leading the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. That experience at YC helped Sagar return to the Grand Canyon State, where his coaching career immediately took off. Sagar spent a pair of seasons back in Prescott, leading the Prescott High School varsity boys’ soccer team to back-to-back Desert Sky Region titles and a berth in the Arizona State Semifinals, earning DSR Coach of the Year honors in the process. His first taste of coaching women’s soccer-and of being a resident of Phoenix-came at Arizona State University, where he helped lead the 2000 Sun Devils’ squad to a record-breaking 14-win season and a spot in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.
That success got the interest of then-Bears’ Women’s Head Soccer Coach Morgan Lee, who brought Sagar on as his lead assistant, and for the next five years, the Bears went from a 2-win team to a consistent playoff contender. When Lee left in ’07, Sagar was the obvious successor, and promptly led PC to extend their streak of consecutive playoff appearances to eight. 2009 was one of Sagar’s finest hours as he led the Bears to a record-setting 13-win campaign, and their first Region I Finals appearance. Since then, it’s been nothing but success, since the Bears have been playoff-bound each of the last four years, and in 2015, shattered the program’s single-season win mark with a 15-4-2 record and a 3rd-place finish in the ACCAC.
His playing accomplishments will never be forgotten, since he was inducted into the UW-Parkside Athletic Hall of Fame, still holds the NCAA Division II record for lowest career goals-against average (.32/match), and was Honorable Mention on the NJCAA’s All-Century Team in ’99. His academic achievements won’t be forgotten, either, since as a collegian himself, he earned the Arthur Ashe Award for Excellence in Academics and Sport while at UW-Parkside, and as a coach at PC has led six of his nine Bears’ squads to earn a spot on the NJCAA Academic Teams of the Year list while producing seven individual NJCAA Academic All-Americans. Sagar’s influence on the club level is also very prominent, since he’s spent 15 years as a coach there, is the former Director of Goalkeeping for the State of Arizona’s Olympic Development Program, and is currently Staff Coach & Goalkeeping Director for the Phoenix Rush. Sagar earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Marketing at UW-Parkside, and his Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Northern Arizona University. Sagar is also a devoted family man, and he and his wife of 11 years, Cara, dote on their 3-year-old son Brayden, and their one-year-old son Avery.