Joe Cleary moves into his third season (2019-20) as Head Women's Soccer Coach (fifth overall) at Wayne State College. He was promoted to head coach of the Wildcat women's soccer program on March 7, 2017, becoming the ninth head coach in program history. In two seasons as Wildcat leader, Cleary has coached WSC to records of 8-20-7 overall and 7-17-6 in NSIC contests.
In 2018, Wayne State was 4-12-1 overall and 12th place in the NSIC with a 4-10-1 league mark. The team posted its first ever win in 18 career meetings vs. Minnesota Duluth (2-0) and won for the first time ever at Upper Iowa (1-0). Wayne State's 6-0 win over Minnesota Crookston were the most goals scored by the Wildcat team since 2010. Senior forward Christina Stasi made school history by becoming the first ever Academic All American, earning Google Cloud Third Team honors with a 4.00 grade point average.
In his first season as head coach, Cleary guided the Wildcats to records of 4-8-6 overall and 3-7-5 in the NSIC. WSC improved its shots on goal average from 11.8 to 13.8 and saw 12 different players score goals during the season. Academically the team excelled receiving the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award for a fourth straight year with a cumulative grade point average of 3.57.
Cleary spent two years as an assistant coach with the Wildcats before taking the head coaching position. In his two years as an assistant, he helped WSC make a six-win improvement and the schools' second winning season in the last 11 years.
In 2016, Cleary helped coach the Wildcats to a 9-6-3 overall record and 6-6-3 mark in the NSIC. The nine overall wins were the most at WSC since 2006 and the six conference wins were the most since the 2005 campaign.
In his first season with the Wildcat program, Wayne State was 4-11-3 and 4-10-1 in the NSIC. The team allowed 10 fewer goals and the team's goals against average dropped from 2.39 to 1.83 in one season under Cleary.
Prior to arriving at Wayne State, Cleary spent the 2014 season as a graduate assistant coach with the University of Mary women's program helping the Marauders to a 6-8-4 record overall and 5-7-3 mark in the NSIC.
Cleary worked the 2013 season as an assistant coach for the Concordia (Minn.) College men's program, was a volunteer assistant coach in 2012 for the University of Wyoming women and worked as an assistant with the University of Mary men in the 2011 season.
Serving as a high school coach since 2008, Cleary was an assistant for the West Fargo High boys in 2008, Bismarck High School boys (2009-11), Bismarck High School girls (2010), Century High girls (2013) and head coach for two seasons (2014-15) for the St. Mary's Central High School girls team. His 2015 team at St. Mary's Central recorded a fourth place finish at the North Dakota State Tournament.
Cleary has also served as a club coach since 2007 with the Dakota United Soccer Club and worked as the Select Program Director for the Tri-City Storm Soccer Club in Fargo, North Dakota. He has also been involved with the Dakota and Wyoming Soccer Olympic Development Programs and has served on several soccer camp staffs, including Regis University, University of Denver, University of Wyoming, University of Colorado, North Dakota State University, Rushmore Soccer and Steamboat Soccer Academy.
Cleary obtained his bachelor degree in athletic training from the University of Mary in 2012 and earned a master's degree in human performance in 2018. Joe is a certified athletic trainer and earned his USSF "C" license in 2013. Cleary resides in Wayne.