Men’s soccer assistant coach David Barrett has ascended to the next rung of the coaching ladder.

Barrett has been hired as the new men’s and women’s soccer head coach at Division III Illinois Wesleyan University, their athletic director, Dennie Bridges, announced last Wednesday. Barrett, Yale’s assistant since 1997, will replace outgoing Titan head coach Steve Berry, who resigned after only one year at the helm, Bridges said.

“This is obviously something that I have been working for,” said Barrett, who is excited at the prospect of his first head-coaching job at the collegiate level. “My [experience at Yale] serves me well in preparing me to become a head coach.”

Bridges said there were over 50 applicants for the job, and two of them received on-campus interviews.

“In his campus interview, [Barrett] really impressed everybody with his poise and with his sincerity and with his desire to have a team of his own,” Bridges said.

Yale head coach Brian Tompkins said that Barrett was deserving of the new opportunity.

“You can’t separate his strengths as a coach from his strengths as a person,” Tompkins said. “He is bright, insightful, a man with a lot of integrity.”

Tompkins said informal discussions have begun with candidates interested in replacing Barrett. He hopes to officially post the opening within the next week so that formal discussions can begin. As of yet, no one with ties to Yale soccer have inquired about the job, but that is liable to change, Tompkins said.

A number of factors attracted Barrett to the Bloomington, Ill., school. He listed the school’s main selling points as its commitment to improving its facilities, the professional people involved with the program, and, most importantly, the school’s highly regarded academic reputation.

“I enjoy working with good students and motivated students,” Barrett said. “I am going to find that there.”

Barrett, a star goalkeeper for Wesleyan University of Middletown, Conn., where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1993, is well-acquainted with the atmosphere Illinois Wesleyan provides.

“It would be a good fit for me, coming from a Division III environment [in Wesleyan],” Barrett said.

Bridges agreed. “He has a knowledge of how far [a program] can go and a knowledge of what the limitations are in Division III. Armed with that knowledge, he can avoid frustration,” Bridges said.

Barrett admits coaching both the men’s and women’s teams will be a challenge, but not a unique one, since it is a normal scenario in Division III.

The goal for both teams will be to win their conference title and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament, Barrett said.

The women’s team appears closer to that goal, having registered a 5-2 record in conference (16-4 overall), good enough for third place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. The men’s team was less impressive last season, going 9-9-1 and 3-3 in conference play.