Iconic, inspiring, unpredictable - through the years, our Falcon athletes have kept us coming back to witness the thrill of competition again and again. Our series "Great moments in Falcon sports history" relives the moments that have helped shape the Peddie athletics legacy. November 2006 held one of those moments, with a gratifying finale to soccer coach Ray Cabot's career.
When the final whistle blew in Peddie's 2-0 win in Blairstown in November 2006, it signaled the end of not just the game, but also an era for veteran coach Ray Cabot. Cabot announced that he was stepping down after 16 seasons at the helm of one of the most respected soccer programs in the nation.
During his storied career as Falcon head coach, Cabot compiled a mark of 207-62-14 for an extraordinary winning percentage of .756. During that span, his teams captured nine state championships and seven consecutive Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) titles (1998-2004). In 2002, his 17-1-1 squad was ranked 10th in the nation by USA TODAY.
"I look back with pride on the level of competition against which we challenged ourselves," Cabot said. "My philosophy was always to try to compete against the most difficult opponents and I am very proud of how well we did just that."
Under Cabot's years coaching in the (MAPL), Peddie never lost to Hill, Hun, Blair or Mercersburg, while getting their share of wins against perennial powers like East Brunswick, Germantown Academy, Pennington and Morris Catholic.
"Ray Cabot has brought distinction to Peddie and our athletic department through his team's standard of success," Athletic Director Geoff Harlan said. "His technical expertise in the sport is unparalleled and his impact on the growth of girls' soccer in the private school ranks is undeniable. But, what will be remembered most about Ray as a soccer coach will be his strong relationships with his peers and his mentorship and care for his student-athletes."
Named Prep Coach of the Year seven times by the local media, Cabot's 1994 squad was rated as the Team of the Decade by the Trenton Times. His 2001 undefeated team (19-0) earned a No. 1 ranking from Student Sports magazine. In one of the most prodigious feats in Peddie athletic history, many of the girls on that team contributed to a 40-game unbeaten streak from October 2000 through the mid-season of 2002. Remarkably, eight girls from the 2001 squad played with distinction at top-level collegiate programs. A customized brick in the Walk of Fame at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y., commemorates that perfect season.
"I told the kids after my 200th win why I knew I would not be able to keep coaching for too much longer, none of which had anything to do with the team," Cabot said. "I wish I could stay connected to these kids for the rest of my days. I can't begin to express how difficult it is to think about not being out there with the Peddie girls' team next fall."
Part of Cabot's decision to step down was prompted by his heightened commitment as Director of Admissions.
"The job is too large to spend so many hours out of the office during soccer season," Cabot said. "It's hard to do the job well with all the demands of soccer - recruiting, college placement, dealing with the press, parents and other aspects of being a head coach that are almost unseen but very time-consuming. The program deserves a coach who can make a more significant commitment to all aspects of the job. In addition, my son Tyler will be heading into his junior year next fall and I feel as though I have hardly seen him play for Peddie, except when I can look through the back of our goal with one eye to see what is happening on the varsity field."
What is Cabot’s lasting legacy on the soccer pitch? Wins and losses are only a small part of the equation for Cabot. The friendships and lessons-learned along the 16-year journey are of paramount importance.
"What I will take with me is the remarkable relationships with some exceptional kids," Cabot said.
Notes: On Nov. 29, 2012 at the Fall Sports Banquet, Alexandra Valentin '13 received the first Raymond H. Cabot Girls' Soccer Award given to the soccer player whose special contributions to the team derive from her passion for the game, commitment to her teammates, and ability to have fun.
Cabot is currently the Assistant Head of School for Strategic Planning.