Second Soccer Coach to Earn Doctorate

Roger Mast, Soccer Coach of EMU

Roger E. Mast, men’s soccer coach and professor of physical education at Eastern Mennonite University, is now “Dr. Mast.”

He is one of two collegiate soccer coaches in Virginia to hold a doctorate, both of whom live in Harrisonburg, Va.

The other is Tom Martin, men’s soccer coach at James Madison University.

Mast began pursuing his doctorate in “educational leadership in higher education” in the fall of 2000 with Argosy University, an institution in Sarasota, Fla. Argosy specializes in distance and online education.

‘Earned his doctorate the hard way’

Mast earned his doctorate the hard way – studying during summers, late evenings, early mornings, and vacations, while teaching and coaching full time.

Mast did take one half-year sabbatical from EMU, during which he was a residential student at Argosy. About half of his courses were completed in residence, the remainder done online.

“I studied after the kids were in bed, often beginning at 10 p.m. and sometimes not ending until 4 a.m.,” he says of his six years of doctoral study.

Mast is married to Cheryl Yoder Mast, director of finance for the Rockingham County Public School public school system. They are parents of 10-year-old Grayson, and Mark, 14.

Educational Leadership

Mast’s grasp of educational leadership is “equally applicable in sports or in academia,” he says. Mast believes that good relationships are the foundation for sound organizations, noting: “If relationships are good, problems are less likely to surface, and when they do, they can be more readily addressed.”

Mast also thinks sports are “great testing grounds” for young people, enabling them to strengthen their work ethic and self-discipline, while living up to their Christian values under pressure.

“Doing sports is better than some other social activities that young people sometimes use to occupy themselves,” Mast says with a smile.