Lichina appointed head coach

Allegheny College Men’s Soccer has a new head coach. John Lichina, ’14, was officially promoted to head coach in January 2023.

Former Head Coach Angelo Panzetta was promoted to Director of Athletic Equipment and Facilities in summer 2022, leaving a vacancy that needed to be filled, as the coming fall marked Allegheny’s return to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

“There were many variables at play that we needed to experience before making a decision regarding the next head coach,” Bill Ross, director of athletics and recreation, said. “Our administration team used this time period to evaluate all aspects of the men’s soccer program before determining the best course of action moving forward.”

The position didn’t remain vacant for long as Lichina was given the interim head coach title in summer 2022. Prior, he had served as an assistant coach.

“The title is assigned to someone at the beginning of the competitive season, essentially allowing that person the opportunity to run the program as they see fit with the possibility of being hired permanently in that role,” Ross said.

It is standard protocol for an internal hire to go through an interim period. Having successfully passed his trial period, Lichina was ready to take on the role full time.

“I had to prove that I could do the job up to standards of the athletic department and that has been my focus since last summer,” Lichina said.

Lichina was a four-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference goalkeeper during his career at Allegheny. Serving as an assistant coach from 2019-2021, Lichina has an integral connection to Allegheny Athletics.

“My college coaching experience in total has been at institutions similar to Allegheny,” Lichina said. “The experiences I’ve gained in my past positions really helped me fill the duties of a head coach. Obviously Allegheny is a very familiar place at this point for me which has helped for a smoother transition to head coach.”

Players saw the fall season in a different light, as Forward Winger Cliff Weaver, ’25, said he even forgot coach Lichina had not fully been offered the position.

“At first we thought it was going to be a trial period for the head coach job, but somewhere in the season, we pretty much forgot he was in the interim phase,” Weaver said. “He has always just been a coach.”

During the Interim period, the men’s Soccer program had one of its better seasons, having a record of 5-8-4 and placing 4th in the conference before playoffs. Multiple players have remarked that head coach Lichina had a direct and confident approach to coaching.

“Coach Lichina isn’t afraid to take risks, encouraging us to play as one would in the Europa Cup or the Premier League, never afraid to switch key players out when needed,” Weaver said. “Overall, I’ll say he is very knowledgeable about soccer and knows how to talk to players in a way that we understand his coaching and the reasons behind it. Allegheny men’s soccer is looking like we’re going to have a good season ahead.”

Following the return of Allegheny to the PAC, the soccer program hosted their playoff game at the Robertson Athletic complex. Having an attendance of over 400 people, Robertson Athletic complex was in full use.

“Making playoffs, hosting the playoff games, it was a big deal for the team,” Weaver said. “The support that we received from our community was welcome and I predict that we will make the playoffs again for the next season. Our goal of course being championships. Returning to the League for the first time in 38 years, making the playoffs was a good start, but only the beginning.”

Allegheny college has not been a host for the playoffs since 2004, and hasn’t had a postseason game since 2011, marking a break in the trend with a new coach.

“We want to make hosting playoff games a staple in our fall seasons going forward,” Lichina said. “To have that experience back at Allegheny soccer was thrilling and well-supported.”

During the fall season, Head Coach Lichina has shown good results comparing the teams performance to that of past years.

“Coach Lichina is a proud alumnus of Allegheny that had a very successful playing career for us as a goalkeeper in the North Coast Athletic Conference,” Ross said. “No one wants to see Allegheny men’s soccer ascend to the top of the league standings more than he does. He has proven himself in the areas that we look for in a head coach and is more than deserving of this opportunity.”