Husband. Father. Coach.
Jeremy Fishbein has worn a lot of hats in lifetime. And while he will likely continue doing so, the cherry Lobo lid that he wore so prominently on game day and media day as the University of New Mexico men's soccer coach probably won't be one of them.
His tenure came to an end without much fanfare. No apparent press release from the university or its athletic department thanking him or recognizing the program for its accomplishments on the way out.
It's almost like the program, one of the more successful ones in UNM history, never existed — already removed from the Golobos.com website, along with the other sports that were officially cut on July 1.
But Fishbein didn't seem to hold a grudge, saying he understands the difficulty that comes with being a leader at UNM and the challenges that come along with it. He still disagrees with the decision, but said he is moving forward and trying to focus his energy in the most positive fashion possible.
"The worst emotion anyone can have is anger — (it's unhealthy)," the former UNM coach said. "I can be disappointed, but I can't allow myself to be angry.
He said cutting men's soccer may have helped address short-term concerns with the athletic department's budget, but was not in the best interest of the state and, in his opinion, the aftermath of the decision could prove quite costly.
He said it had been "one hell of a year" in terms of coping with that decision, but has moved on. He said it will be up to the students and the people of New Mexico to fight to reinstate soccer at UNM. Saving Lobo soccer is no longer his fight — and now he is just a fan and part of the history of it.
Fishbein said he was thankful for his 18+ years at UNM. He said the university met any obligations it had to him with dignity and class and he considers himself lucky to have had the opportunity to do something he has loved for so long.
When asked whether or not he could see a scenario in which Lobo soccer might return, he offered a simple "I hope so" — pointing out that it is the most popular sport worldwide.
"Whoever the athletic director is when they bring soccer back — I hope he hires a great coach that is going to work under him," he said. "It'll be a great moment, you know?"
Fishbein was that coach when he elected to come to UNM over 18 years ago. He said he remembered being at Incarnate Word and seizing the opportunity to become a Lobo and joint the staff as an associate head coach.
The team achieved success much earlier than he anticipated as the pieces came together and UNM made the NCAA Championship game in 2005. That success was something that Fishbein was able to sustain pretty much throughout his UNM coaching career, though he seemed to place far more importance on what players were able to accomplish away from the soccer field.
He said one of the fun aspects of coaching is seeing players growth. That is often part of the college experience in general, especially for student-athletes, but he said the reward for coaches usually comes later when they become husbands, fathers and impactful members in their community.
Fishbein mentioned several players who make contributions to New Mexico, despite being recruited from outside of the state. He said James Urbany is from South Bend, Indiana and is now a social worker for Albuquerque Public Schools — Micah Newman came from Oregon and stayed to become a teacher and soccer coach at Atrisco Heritage — William Thiebaut works as an assistant principal at Volcano Vista.
He said the job for him has always been about developing successful men. And there are a bevy of others, local players and otherwise, that have helped him fulfill that goal.
Fishbein acknowledged that coaching can be a selfish profession and dedicating oneself to it sometimes comes at a cost. It often puts important peopl.
And while he said his wife and two daughters have always been supportive, he was able to make more time to watch his children play matches and run meets.
Fishbein and his family will always have a connection to the University of New Mexico. He said his wife, Alicia played tennis and earned two Master's Degrees at UNM and his children grew up around Lobo Athletics.
His younger daughter, Gabriela is entering her junior year of high school, and plays tennis as well. While his oldest, Alisa, runs track and cross country. He said she was recruited by UNM, but made the decision to head to Boulder in the fall and attend Colorado — the defending National Champion in cross country.
He said the support from his family has always been there, unquestionably. But the next chapter of his life will likely begin soon — perhaps in the next few months.
"My biggest thing right now is that whatever decision is made, is made with a clear head," he said. "You don't want to just immediately react, you know."
Fishbein said he is a competitor and will pursue something that is challenging, but will also allow him to continue making an impact in the community.
He said that component is really important to him and part of why he felt Lobo soccer has always belonged to the university and the state — it was never something he felt was his.
Fishbein said a coach's legacy is defined by the guys that he has been able to work with — which includes the men that student-athletes ultimately become and make a difference in someone's life.
From that perspective, he acknowledged that his legacy is strong — one that he hopes is validated by the program's return one day.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler