Doug Mello, most recently the head coach at Hendrix College, has 37 years of collegiate head coaching experience and will add to that wealth of experience – this time in Helena – as he has agreed to become Carroll College’s first men’s soccer head coach, Carroll College Director of Athletics Bruce Parker announced Monday.
“We are so pleased to have Doug Mello join the Fighting Saints to head up our men’s soccer program. Doug brings unparalleled experience as a head coach and has built programs from the ground up numerous times, which was very attractive to us,” Parker said.
Mello, who first became a head coach at the age of 20, has coached a national collegiate record 1,154 soccer matches (men’s and women’s combined) and has won over 700 games (712-384-58 overall).
“What an honor it is to be the first men’s soccer coach at Carroll College! For the leadership from President Evans to Mr. Parker and committee chair David Thorvilson [Carroll College women’s soccer head coach] to have faith in me to be entrusted with this team and to build a competitive program is something I take seriously and can’t wait to begin,” Mello said.
Carroll College, which announced this February that it would be adding men’s soccer to its athletic program, will become the fifth program Mello has been the principal architect of after starting both the men’s and women’s programs at Siena Heights University (Mich.) and Luther College (Iowa).
“It’s not often that you’re lucky enough to put your thumbprint on a program, being my fifth go-around and having done it successfully in the past, I’m looking forward to getting not only this team started, but a competitive team going right away,” Mello said.
At Siena Heights, Mello’s women’s team was among the top 10 in the NAIA in their first season, and the men’s team at Luther College had immediate success against Division III competition.
Mello and his family were drawn to Montana as they have developed a love for the state after purchasing a home in Eureka six years ago.
“We just love it in Montana. The friendly people, the mountains and outdoor activities are terrific, my family felt that this was a place we wanted to make our home eventually; when this opportunity came I was and am so thrilled to be making Helena home,” Mello said.
Despite Mello’s vast and relatable experiences, Carroll’s new head coach is challenged with putting together a roster from scratch and competing this coming fall.
“I’m fortunate to have done this before and I learned early that you have to really jump in fully right away and get on the phone, hit the pavement and make it to all the tournaments and I’m doing that right now,” Mello said.
Mello has nearly 60 former players coaching in the collegiate ranks in some capacity and expects those connections to greatly help in recruiting and helping to expedite the process.
“We had a tremendous group of candidates for this position. Coach Thorvilson went through over 160 applications and did an exceptional job in bringing exceptional candidates to campus and we feel Doug is well equipped to lead this program and bring success to Carroll College,” Parker said.
Mello believes that an inside-out approach of recruiting talented local recruits from the state first. After mining the Big Sky State, he will look into his previous recruiting areas/connections as well as exploring locations such as Spokane, Boise and Portland that have been fruitful for Carroll in other sports. Finally, he expects to sprinkle in some international and junior college student-athletes.
“Location aside, well-rounded student-athletes that fit the culture here and are the best and brightest academically will be the recipe for a successful soccer program at Carroll,” he said.
In addition to Mello’s coaching resume, he holds a masters degree in counseling from Siena Heights University (Adrian, Mich.)
“In my experience, my biggest job is to develop my players and grow them both as players and into adults. I have so many life-long friendships with great people over the years and I look forward to continuing that here,” Mello said.
Vijay Dias, comes to Carroll College as an assistant for first-year head coach Doug Mello.
Dias, born in Helena, MT, attended Capital High and excelled on the soccer pitch, helping the Bruins win the a state AA championship during his sophomore year (1997).
Dias transferred to Louisville's Ballard High School where he finished his prep career and helped lead Ballard to a high school championship (1999).
Following his successful high school career, Dias attended Indiana University where he played from 2000-03 and helped the Hoosiers win the 2003 NCAA National Title.
After completing his playing career, Dias helped out legendary head coach Jerry Yeagley as a member of his staff in the role of student assistant coach. The Hoosiers again won the National Title in 2004, their seventh in program history.
Following his days at Indiana, Dias played professionaly, worked for the Indianapolis Colts and most recently spent three years as a volunteer assistant for the University of Montana Women's Soccer Team.
"It's great to be back in Helena, the community in which I grew up in. To be part of forging a foundation in a first-year program here at Carroll, a very special place for me and my family, is a great opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to me," Dias said.
"I really look forward to working with coach Mello and the enormous amount of experience he brings. We have a good mix of Montana kids, local Helena kids and some international kids, all who will be fun to work with and who will hopefully compete right from the start," Dias added.