After a 35-year coaching journey, Webster University men’s soccer coach Marty Todt was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame on Oct. 13 at the Millennium Hotel in downtown St. Louis.
Todt’s Hall of Fame credentials include the most wins by any soccer coach in the history of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, five-time SLIAC Coach of the Year and four conference titles in his 23-plus years as Webster’s coach.
As a player, he played for 21 years as a midfielder/forward and was the only amateur on the Budweiser over-30 team, which won a national championship in 1988.
“My dad would take me up to Fairgrounds Park on Sundays to watch soccer,” Todt said. “It was kind of like going to a Cardinals baseball game or a Rams football game. There was future Hall of Famers — Pat McBride, Bobby Kehoe and Pete Traina — that would play. These were guys I wanted to emulate.”
Todt was reluctant to fill out the necessary paperwork to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. With the prodding of family and friends, he finally sent in the forms and was voted in on Feb. 8, 2011.
“Getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is kind of surreal,” Todt said. “The culmination of everything will come together that night.”
Although he has achieved a great deal of success in his coaching career, Todt has always remained humble. He is the first Webster coach or player to be elected into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame.
“Marty is embarrassed by all the fame he is getting,” said Shea Vogt, a senior midfielder on Todt’s current team. “He would rather keep his head down and keep working. He doesn’t like the limelight.”
After Todt’s standout playing career at St. Louis Community College-Meramec ended in 1975, he stayed with the program as an assistant coach. When Meramec’s head coach at the time, Jack Ryder, left to coach Cornell University, Pat McBride was brought in to become Meramec’s new coach.
“It took me about 30 seconds after talking to Marty that I knew I wanted him for the assistant coach’s job,” McBride said. “He is a count to 10 to 20 kind of guy. A lot of coaches speak before they think, but not Marty.”
During their first year of coaching together, success came fast, as Meramec won the national championship in 1976.
The following season, Meramec made it to the national finals before losing. Todt stayed at Meramec for six years under McBride, and his workload increased as the years went by. Todt said McBride is not only a great friend but the reason he has enjoyed so much success as a coach.
“I was watching, working and learning as much as I could from Pat,” Todt said. “He was without a doubt my mentor.”
McBride was busy traveling and playing with the St. Louis Steamers professional soccer team and Meramec began to rely on Todt more.
“When we went to the national tournament in 1980, it was Marty’s team,” McBride said. “We kind of reversed roles, and Marty did a great job.”
In 1988, Todt was hired as the head coach at Webster. Now in his 24th season, Todt owns a 224-178-47 overall record and a 115-62-19 record in the SLIAC.
“Since I was hired at Webster, it’s been a way of life,” Todt said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Even when prodded about the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Todt would rather talk about what Webster has meant to him and his family.
“At my mom’s funeral, the whole team showed up: Tom Hart, his staff and so many others,” Todt said. “It was something special that really meant a lot to me. I’ll never forget it.”
Todt also said that when he and his daughter graduated from Webster together in 1990, it was one of the highlights of his life; as was his son playing for him for two years at Webster.
“Soccer is a sport that has been good to me and my family,” Todt said. “It’s been a wonderful ride.”
Alex Cupp, a senior goalie, said Todt always thinks of others first.
“I have known him a long time, and he is always a caring individual. He is the first person to come up to me if I had a bad game to comfort me.”
Michael Siener, a current assistant coach and a former player for Todt, said Todt would rather talk about his players and St. Louis soccer than himself.
“We shared a room on a road trip this year, and we are lying in bed at 2 a.m. He is giving me a history lesson on St. Louis soccer and telling me what we should do to make our players better,” Siener said. “He is so focused on practice and the current season.”
Todt said the community of St. Louis soccer is the best in the nation.
“People nationally hear about how we network socially and there is a kind of envy because everybody in the St. Louis soccer community has an attachment somewhere,” Todt said. “You play against each other and beat each other up; you kid each other and go through the years. All of the sudden, your biggest opponents are your best friends.”
McBride said one of things that go unnoticed is that Todt was a very good player. His experience as a player has helped make him an outstanding coach.
“Marty always looked to keep up with the game and that allowed him to grow as a coach,” McBride said. “The game and players have changed over the years, and he has done everything he could to stay up with the game.”
Todt said he was very much so looking forward to the night when he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In typical Todt fashion, however, he would rather focus on the business at hand of coaching his soccer team.
“It’s still very exciting to me because our team is so young and talented,” Todt said. “I think we only lose four guys this year, so that means we have 22 coming back for next year.”
Todt was inducted in front of his peers and there’s no doubt it was an emotional night for him and his family.
“Soccer is clearly his life,” Cupp said. “He watched last year when great players he knew went in and now he is about to join them. He is most deserving.”