Challenges are nothing new to Marty Buckley. Rising to each of these challenges is as customary as the positive, enthusiastic attitude he brings to the field each day. As the only coach in the history of Falcon women's soccer, Buckley's passion for success has grown in each of his 15 seasons.
After six years as an assistant men's coach at the Academy, Buckley jumped at the chance to guide the women's soccer program in its first season as an intercollegiate sport in 1992. In four seasons, Buckley built the program into one of the nation's strongest Division II teams. Just as his team was knocking on the door of an NCAA tournament bid, the Falcon women's teams made the jump to Division I and joined the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. In its first season, Air Force silenced many doubters who said they could not compete at the elite level. The Falcons qualified for the WAC Tournament in their first season. In 1999, Buckley again led the Falcons into unchartered territory as Air Force left the WAC to join the newly formed Mountain West Conference. The change was taken in stride as the Falcons posted their best season ever at Division I and won a game at the conference tournament in 1999.
Now entering his 16th season, Buckley has a career and Air Force record of 108-167-17.
Buckley passed his first test with the fledgling Falcons with flying colors in 1992. He led the first-year program to a 5-13-1 overall record and a 3-4-1 mark in the Colorado Athletic Conference. For his efforts, which included several close losses to established Division I programs, Buckley was named the Colorado Athletic Conference and Far West Region Coach of the Year. The Falcons progressively improved in each of the next four seasons. AFA won eight games in 1993 and then posted its first-ever winning record with a 10-9 mark in 1994. That season, the Falcons cracked the nation's top 20, rising as high as 13th in the national polls.
In 1995, the Falcons' final season at Division II, the team posted a 14-3-2 record and finished 11th in the nation. Air Force posted seven consecutive shutouts and rose to seventh in the nation. The Falcons also claimed their first ever All-American in women's soccer. Tracy Healy became the most decorated Falcon ever and six Falcons earned all-conference honors.
After leaving his indelible mark at the Division II level, Buckley proved the jump to Division I was no mistake. The 1996 Falcons finished 8-10-2 overall and qualified for the WAC Tournament, a feat accomplished by few AFA women's teams in their first season. However, late season collapses during the next two seasons narrowly kept the Falcons from the post-season tournament. In 1999, Buckley led the Falcons to their first winning season at the Division I level, an 11-10 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the MWC. The Falcons also claimed three all-conference selections.
In each of the last four seasons, the Falcons have battled through rollercoaster seasons. In 2003, the Falcons went 7-11-1 with Cookie Day earning all-conference honors. In 2004, the team went 4-13-2 overall, with Elaine Tatarek earning all-conference and all-tournament honors. The 2004 squad excelled in the classroom with a record 12 conference all-academic selections, including the fourth-consecutive selection of Jennifer Ford. The 2005 squad was decimated by injuries and stumbled to a 4-16-1 record. The team also continued its stellar track record in the classroom, placing 11 all-academic selections including a fourth-consecutive selection by Amanda Cleland. In 2006, the Falcons went 3-12-4 with sophomore Rachael Emory earning all-conference honors. Five Falcons earned academic all-conference honors, including Katherine Plichta, who earned her fourth academic all-conference honors.
A 1978 graduate of Cal State-Chico, Buckley earned a bachelor's degree in physical education. He earned his master's degree in sports administration from St. Mary's College (Calif.) in 1989. He started his coaching career in 1979 at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif. From there, Buckley was the head women's club coach at his alma mater in 1981-82 and the head men's coach at Napa Valley Junior College in 1983-85. He came to the Academy in the fall of 1986 to be the assistant men's coach to Luis Sagastume.
Born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area, Buckley also coached area youth teams, under-19 boys' Northern California District Select and boys' under-19 District Select in Napa, Calif. Buckley has been a Western regional under-16 1/2 boys' Olympic Development Program coach for the past 12 years. He is also a women's under-17 Western region coach.
During the past five years, Buckley was a state clinic coach for the National Soccer Coaches Association. In January 1996, Buckley was elected to the board of directors for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for the central region. From 1992-95, he was the NCAA Division II regional representative from the NCAA Championship Committee.
As a player, Buckley was an all-league selection at De Anza Junior College in 1973. Following one season at the junior college level, he played for Sagastume at Cal State-Chico. Buckley was a three-year starter at fullback. After graduating from Chico, Buckley played for numerous semi-pro and amateur clubs in California and Colorado.
Buckley holds a current United States Soccer Federation "A" license. He is a member of the Academy's physical education department and is the course director of unarmed combat. Buckley was named the athletic department's civilian instructor of the year for 1999-2000.
He is married to the former Cindy Webster and they reside in Black Forest, Colo.