Micky Blythe's five-year plan for Medaille men's soccer was far ahead of schedule, but it never reached completion.
Medaille Athletics officials confirmed Wednesday that the fourth-year head coach, who took the Mavericks to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, had been dismissed.
"This is a personnel decision and Medaille does not comment on employee departures," the Mavs' director of athletics Amy DeKay wrote in an email. "I do wish Micky well in his future endeavors."
Blythe declined official comment on the reasons for his removal, but the England native did reflect briefly on his tenure. "I am extremely proud of everything the program achieved in my time there," he said in a message. "The 2017 NCAA trip was a highlight."
Mavs junior midfielder Mitchell Ali, an all-conference selection in all three of his years on campus, spoke more at length about the team's response to the news.
"Myself and the boys are devastated, we feel extremely let down,"Ali said. "We were building towards something special and were ready to give our senior year a huge shot. I think the decision had nothing to do with the athletics program and [Blythe's] successes.
"I’d like to thank [Blythe] for everything he has done for us and for the team," the midfielder continued. "Without him we wouldn’t be where we are today. Holding onto players will be extremely tough for the school now, but I doubt the people at the top care as it clearly wasn’t about soccer."
A source close to the team, speaking under the condition of anonymity, felt strongly that the current Medaille men's soccer players would refuse to play if DeKay were to continue as athletics director.
Medaille has posted the job opening on its website, here.
Upon his hiring in 2015, Blythe was committed to returning the Mavs to prior glory: the goal was to win the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference annually in order to represent the league in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
[Read more about Medaille men's soccer from 2018]
Blythe finishes his Medaille career with an overall mark of 49-23-7, and an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference record of 26-6-4. He won conference coach of the year honors in 2016.
The Mavs advanced to three AMCC title games in his reign, all against rival Penn State Behrend; Medaille won one and lost two, including a 3-1 loss in 2018. In the lone trip to the national tourney, Medaille fell to Otterbein in the first round.
Prior to the 2018 season, Blythe guided both the men's and women's soccer programs at Medaille, before Angela Nicholas-Tolsma was hired for the women's job last year.
The vacancy comes at an interesting time in Medaille soccer's history, as the Mavs will move from sharing Dobson Field with D'Youville College to their own facility, the Medaille Sports Complex, at 423 Elk St. in Buffalo. The new turf field at Buffalo Color Park will be christened by the Medaille lacrosse teams before men's and women's soccer joins the fray in 2019.
Should the Mavs return their entire roster under the new coach - unlikely but possible - the new regime will inherit several senior starters in midfielders Mitchell Ali and Matt Burke, forward Anthony Marafioti, fullback Levi Bojang and goalkeeper Jonny Pitts.
Blythe, who now lives in Erie, Pa., has not disclosed his next move.