Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.

For those of you who don’t follow college men’s soccer that closely, the Mountain State is home to two great programs led by two great coaches with a shared coaching tree in West Virginia.

Chris Grassie at the University of Charleston.

The Marshall Thundering Herd Head Coach is Chris Grassie, who played his college ball at Alderson-Broaddus before going on to Northwich Victoria F.C. in the English Midland League.

The West Virginia Mountaineers’ Head Coach is Dan Stratford, who played for WVU before D.C. United and a variety of international clubs.

Both coaches came to their current positions from the Division II powerhouse the University of Charleston in Charleston, WV.

Chris Grassie was the head man at UC from 2011-2016 with Dan Stratford as his assistant from 2013-2016. In 2017, Stratford took over the UC squad before moving to Morgantown in 2020.

In his five seasons on the MU sideline, Coach Grassie has amassed a record of 67-32-18 with one conference championship, one national title, and a record of 2-1-1 in the Mountain State Derby. Under his leadership, the Thundering Herd has been ranked in the top 25 nationally since October 17, 2019.

Dan Stratford at the University of Charleston.

Dan Stratford is beginning his third season at WVU with an overall record of 18-6-7, an NCAA quarterfinal appearance, and a record of 0-1-1 in the Mountain State Derby. Stratford has never beaten Grassie in a head-to-head matchup, but he did win two national titles at the University of Charleston; compared to Grassie, who managed three Final Four appearances and two runners-up efforts—but no championships.

Marshall enters the 2023 season ranked #11 while WVU is ranked #28. The annual Mountain State Derby will be played on October 18 in Morgantown. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.

According to friends and family close to things, the two coaches are still great friends and go out for beers the night before the Mountain State Derby every year. Hosting coach buys the beer.

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