Storied soccer coach returns to De La Salle

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published February 2, 2018

 Thaier Mukhtar, pictured here with Fraser High boys soccer players, will return to the sidelines at Warren De La Salle. In 29 years with the Pilots, Mukhtar won five state  championships.

Thaier Mukhtar, pictured here with Fraser High boys soccer players, will return to the sidelines at Warren De La Salle. In 29 years with the Pilots, Mukhtar won five state championships.

Photo by Sean Work

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WARREN — After six seasons away, former Warren De La Salle soccer coach Thaier Mukhtar has returned to guide the program he led for nearly 30 years.

De La Salle announced Mukhtar’s return Jan. 19. Mukhtar — who has the second-most wins in state soccer history — coached solely at Fraser High for the past six seasons with the boys and girls programs. He led the Ramblers girls from 2003 to 2017.

“I bleed purple and gold,” said Mukhtar, who is a social studies teacher at De La Salle. “I love being a teacher at De La Salle, and I love the relationships I have with former and current students and their families.

“Our motto is ‘Builders of Boys; Makers of Men.’ I’ve never focused on winning more than I’ve focused on helping our young men be the best people they can possibly be,” he continued. “I always say that this is my vocation from God.”

His focus may have never been on winning, but Mukhtar is synonymous with success.

In 29 seasons leading the Pilots, Mukhtar notched 499 wins and had an .801 win percentage. He led De La Salle to five state championships — 1990, 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2005 — and one runner-up finish in 1994. The Pilots reached the state semis 10 times in his tenure.

His teams also amassed 26 district championships and won 18 Catholic High School League titles.

De La Salle Athletic Director Mike Watson said talks about a return to the sidelines for Mukhtar became serious once the job became open. The two would speak in the school hallways prior to that, Watson said, but never about soccer.

“I think, in general, students who have (Mukhtar as a teacher) see on a daily basis how much he cares about their success,” Watson said. “He’s an intense teacher and an intense coach. They’ll play hard for him; they played hard for (former coach Reid Friedrichs) too. Mukhtar comes with instant credibility. It’s a great thing for our families to see he had that success (at De La Salle).”

Along with team and program accolades, Mukhtar with De La Salle earned 10 Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association Coach of the Year awards and 18 CHSL Coach of the Year honors.

In his 35 years of coaching, he’s 774-195-144.

He’s a Hall of Fame member in the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association, the CHSL, Macomb County and De La Salle.

In 2008, Mukhtar was named National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

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