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Colby announced that it has raised $1 million to designate the College’s soccer field the Mark R. Serdjenian 1973 Field in recognition of a coach who had an exceptional impact on the campus community over a 40-year career. The naming is the result of an inspirational lead gift from Trustee Marieke Rothschild P’16 and Jeff Rothschild P’16, as well as support from dozens of former players, coaches, and friends.
“Coach Mark Serdjenian left a lasting impression on his players and the College,” said Marieke Rothschild. “He was behind so many memorable seasons and moments for his players, who were continuously shaped by his mentorship. As someone who is important to Colby and its incredible students, he is important to us. We’re proud to join with the many people whose lives he touched by coming together to honor his legacy.”
At the time of his retirement from Colby in 2016, Serdjenian was the longest-serving head coach in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). He was named head coach of Colby men’s soccer in 1976, and over the course of his career compiled a 261-230-46 record, including two Eastern College Athletic Conference New England Division III titles in 1978 and 1993. Serdjenian was also honored as the New England Division III Coach of the Year in 1990 and Maine Coach of the Year in both 1990 and 1993.
“Mark Serdjenian’s contributions to Colby are remarkable,” said Mike Wisecup, vice president and Harold Alfond Director of Athletics at Colby College. “From his leadership of the men’s soccer team to his work as an associate dean, Mark had a profound influence on generations of students. Not only coaching them through many winning seasons but also building deep relationships and teaching skills that have endured beyond graduation. That truly speaks to the significant impact Mark had on the Colby community.”
As a student who came to Mayflower Hill in 1969 from a high school in Rhode Island with no soccer team, his career proves that a Colby student-athlete experience can be transformational. When Serdjenian arrived at Colby, soccer was not a mainstream sport in America. He joined the College’s soccer team after playing baseball and wrestling in high school and as the starting goalie and co-captain, he was good at his job—keeping the ball out of the net and directing Colby’s defense.
“Mark is known for his ability to say the right thing at just the right time. One of his famous phrases was, ‘You just know when it’s right,’” recalls former Colby soccer player David S. LaLiberty ’79. “Well, Mark was just the right person at the right time for Colby soccer.”
In addition to coaching men’s soccer, Serdjenian was an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Colby from 2008 to 2016, served as interim head coach of women’s soccer for a year, and was an assistant coach for the women’s team for an additional year. For 23 of his coaching years, Serdjenian also held positions in the Dean of Students Office, retiring from that role as associate dean of students. He also started Colby’s summer co-ed soccer camp in 1979, working with an estimated 14,000 campers over the course of 36 years.
“Coach is responsible for some of my fondest memories at Colby. He made us laugh, worked us hard, and certainly made us all better,” reflects former Colby lacrosse player Claire Dickson ’15, who highlights Serdjenian’s unmatched strengths as a mentor.
Serdjenian lives in Waterville with his wife, Christine “Tina” Serdjenian ’72, and since retiring from Colby has been head coach of the varsity girls’ soccer team at Waterville Senior High School. This fall marks his fifth season in that role, where his record is 60-16-2. He also serves on the board of directors for the Waterville Youth Soccer Association.
A Growing and Dynamic Athletic Complex
The Mark R. Serdjenian 1973 Field is among three new fields that are part of Colby’s outdoor competition center that includes an athletics green and a tailgating space—all of which offer one of the finest competition and spectator experiences in the NESCAC. The soccer field facilities have dedicated team shelters and a state-of-the-art 16-foot wireless LED scoreboard.
The soccer field is strategically situated to complement the adjacent Bill Alfond Field, baseball and softball complex, neighboring Harold Alfond Stadium, and the new Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, which is the most advanced and comprehensive D-III facility in the country and another example of the College’s ongoing commitment to excellence. The dynamic new facility provides all students with the opportunity to lead healthy and active lifestyles, which is a critical component of the Colby experience, and is one in a series of major investments by the College to create and support best-in-class programs and initiatives.