The Swansboro Pirates men’s soccer teams have dominated their competition for the past twenty-five years and the great players who have contributed to the excellence of the program have come and gone. Coach Bob Vroom has been the constant – the man who has led the dominance through a full generation of players. The championships speak for themselves; twenty-one men’s conference championships, twenty-two NCHSAA State Tournament appearances, fourteen appearances in the NCHSAA A/AA State Finals, and seven NCHSAA State Championships (’90, ’95, ’96, ’98, 99, ’00, ’02).
Bob Vroom’s outstanding contributions as the soccer coach at Swansboro High School have earned him the distinction of being selected as a member of the eighth class of inductees of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame on this, the twelfth day of February, 2005.
Coach Vroom’s twenty-five varsity men’s soccer teams at Swansboro High School have won more than 85% of the games played to date, amassing a record of 490 wins, 73 losses, and 25 ties. The Pirates have played in the NCHSAA State Championship game in nine of the past ten seasons, winning six of those, five of them within a six-year period, including a state record three consecutive championships (1998, 1999, 2000). Vroom also led the Pirates women’s teams for six years, from 1994 through 1999, recording a record of 90-33-16 and propelling them to four conference championships and six NCHSAA state tournament appearances including a spot in the 1999 NCHSAA State Finals. From 1988 until 1993, he coached the boys’ soccer team at Swansboro Middle School to a 33-4-2 record over six spring seasons. He started all three of those programs in Swansboro and is the only person to have coached the high school varsity men’s team since its inception in 1980.
Coach Vroom’s excellent leadership has not gone unnoticed by his peers. At the local level, he has earned his conference Coach-of-the-Year honors 15 times. He is a seven time recipient of a North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association (NCSCA) Regional Coach-of-the-Year award and a three time NCSCA State Coach-of-the-Year. In 2001 he was named National Coach-of-the-Year for small public high school men’s teams by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). In 1994 he was appointed to coach the men’s team from the East in the North Carolina Coaches Association East/West All-Star game in Greensboro. In 2002 he earned a prestigious appointment from the NSCAA as head coach of the West team in the inaugural McDonald’s All-American East/West High School Soccer All-Star Game held in Charleston, South Carolina.
Coach Vroom’s impact on the Swansboro community goes beyond what can be measured by wins and losses. He is so revered that he was named Grand Marshall of the famous Swansboro Mullet Festival in 2002. He is presently a nominee for the East Carolina University (Class of ’74) Sports Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as an intercollegiate wrestler and a high school soccer coach.
Coach Vroom credits the success of Swansboro High School soccer to others. He cites the opportunities given to young players by the Swansboro Soccer Club, an affiliate of the East Carolina Soccer Association. He credits the continuing education he has received over his coaching career and the value that comes from sharing ideas with other coaches. He appreciates his relationship with Joe Beasley, the principal of Swansboro High School, who hired him and who has been a supporter and mentor ever since he started the soccer program. And he found tremendous support from the presence of his parents, Hank and Jan Vroom, who have witnessed hundreds of Pirate games through Bob’s career. Jan’s death last June leaves a void that will be impossible to fill. The people of the town of Swansboro will rise to another occasion and help an adopted son as he has helped so many of them. And the legacy of Swansboro Pirate soccer will continue to prosper.