For Nick Archer, it all started when he found out he was missing a piece of paper from his application for a part-time East Lansing High School position more than 40 years ago.
Archer quickly delivered the missing document — and by the time he left the office he had the job as a health instructor.
“I was the only guy with a water safety instructor license,” Archer said.
It turned out to be a pretty good hire.
Archer quickly became embedded in the East Lansing community and Saturday — after 875 combined soccer victories and countless young lives influenced — the two varsity soccer stadiums at the East Lansing Soccer Complex will be formally named in his honor.
Archer Stadium will be dedicated in a ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“I’m a lucky guy,” said Archer, 66.
The St. Louis, Mo., native came to Michigan State University to play soccer and won two national titles in 1967 and 1968 alongside longtime MSU coach Joe Baum. Archer, who retired from teaching two years ago, has been coaching soccer for East Lansing since 1973 and has been involved with several community groups, including Boy Scouts of America.
“If you live here, be here,” Archer said.
Tim McCaffrey, director for the Park and Recreation department for East Lansing, said the idea of the stadium dedication came from people in the community.
“He’s really an inspiration for the community members,” McCaffrey said. “He is as much about the community as he is about soccer.”
Archer has a combined soccer record of 875-259-123 and was the first head coach for the East Lansing girls team. He has also has won three boys state titles.
And he hasn’t really slowed down.
Grant Brogan, a senior, who plays outside back for the Trojans, said Archer can still do more push-ups than anyone on the team and is notorious for calling his players “ding-dongs.”
“The man is a legend,” Grant said. “He is the face of East Lansing soccer.”
Archer, who was inducted into the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame in February, said it seemed everyone knew about the stadium dedication but him.
“There were some rumblings of that before, but I didn’t know it was coming down the pipe like it did.”
Archer said he found out about the dedication when a neighbor of his asked him about it at Meijer.
“I was really tickled that something like this would happen; honored people thought enough of the program and me to put that up,” Archer said.
Archer said he owes a lot to the nearly 40 assistant coaches he’s had over the years and to his wife, Lin, for all her support and encouragement.
“She keeps me balanced,’ Archer said.
As for his speech on Saturday, Archer said he has nothing really prepared but “a lot of thank yous to a lot of good people.”