When Marc Zagara coached his inaugural season of men’s soccer at Georgia Perimeter College 18 years ago, could he have dreamed of the success he would achieve over the next two decades?
As his team rested for a first-round national tournament match, Zagara was inducted Wednesday to the National Junior College Athletic Association Soccer Hall of Fame.
The ceremony took place at the site of the NJCAA national tournament, Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, N.J., near Trenton. Zagara was recognized, at the annual NJCAA banquet on the Mercer County Campus, for his outstanding lifetime record (372-148-19) and especially for his phenomenal 18 years at Georgia Perimeter.
He has built a regional and national dynasty at Georgia Perimeter, known as DeKalb College during his early years at the school. He boasts a stellar 297-73-13 record at GPC. The lifetime record includes seven years as head coach at Finger Lakes Community College in New York.
In three of the past five national NJCAA tournaments, Georgia Perimeter has played in the championship game, winning the national championship in 2005 with a 20-2-1 record.
The Jaguars took the runner-up title in 2004 and 2007, finished in fifth place in 2006 and tied for fifth last year. Regularly ranked in the top 10 nationally, the Jaguars have made the elite eight in nine of the past 14 years.
Zagara’s teams have won the NJCAA Region 17 championship in 13 of his 18 seasons at GPC. He has coached 29 All-Americans, and 12 players have gone on to play professional soccer.
The Jaguars enter this year’s elite eight national tournament ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA poll with a 20-1 record. They play Essex County (N.J.) College in a first round match Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
An associate professor, Zagara teaches economics at GPC’s Dunwoody campus, where the men’s soccer stadium is located.
Joining him in the Hall of Fame induction was Steve Clements of Tyler Junior College, which enters the national tournament undefeated (20-0) and ranked No. 1. The duo also will be inducted later this month in a ceremony at a separate NJCAA banquet in Herkimer, N.Y.