The 2021 Fall season will mark Pepe Aragon's 24th year as head coach for Herkimer's men's soccer program. Aragon led the Generals to 20 consecutive Region III championships between 1998 and 2017 and won seven National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championships. In total, Aragon has five second-place national finishes, seven third-place national finishes, one fourth place and one seventh place finish at the National Tournament. In 2019, Herkimer advanced to the National Championship game for the 12th time in Coach Aragon's career and he won his 400th game with a 7-0 win over # 7 Emory Oxford (GA) in a National Quarterfinal game on November 14th. In the Spring 2021 season, Aragon led the Generals to a 6-1-2 record in winning his 22nd Region III Championship and finishing 3rd at the NJCAA Division III National Championships.
During his tenure at Herkimer, he has amassed an overall record of 407-40-19 and has been named Adidas/National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Coach of the Year five times (1999, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011), which is second only to legendary NCAA Division I Indiana University men's coach Jerry Yeagley, who was a six-time National Coach of the Year winner. Aragon has been named Region III Coach of the Year (2000, 2005, 2011, 2013) and Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year (2004, 2005, 2011 and 2013) four times. He has coached over 55 NSCAA and NJCAA All-Americans and seven NSCAA National Players of the Year. Aragon currently serves as president of the NJCAA Men's Soccer Association and is president of the Region III Men's Soccer Coaches Association . He also serves as an area chairman for the NJCAA and NSCAA National Rankings Committee as well as an area chairman for the NSCAA Junior College Division III All-American Committee.
In 2000, Aragon was named to the NJCAA All-Century Team along with current U.S. National Team coach Bruce Arena and MLS goal keeper Zach Thorton. In 2002, he captained the Central Empire State Open men's soccer team to a gold medal at SUNY Cortland. In 2007, he was recognized by the Blind Men and Criers, an organization of referees and coaches in Syracuse, NY, with the Lew Andreas Award for outstanding contributions and service to his community. In 2008, Aragon received the prestigious SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. In 2008, Coach Aragon was inducted as a player into the NJCAA National Soccer Hall of Fame. He received the award in Dallas, Texas at the NJCAA Division III National Final Four Banquet.
A native of Binghamton, NY, Aragon was a high school NSCAA All-American at Binghamton High School in 1989. He then attended Herkimer where he was an NSCAA and NJCAA All-American as a freshman and sophomore and led the Generals to a national third-place finish his sophomore year. Aragon received an athletic scholarship to NCAA Division I Bowling Green State University (Ohio) where he was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference selection and helped lead the Falcons to their first NCAA tournament appearance in over 20 years.
After graduating from college, Aragon signed a professional contract with the Canton Invaders of the National Professional Soccer League, where he played one season. He then signed a contract the following year with the Cleveland Caps of the United States Inter-Regional Soccer League (U.S.I.S.L.) before accepting the head coaching position at Herkimer in 1998. Aragon currently holds an NSCAA national coaching license.
Coach Aragon teaches full-time at Herkimer as an Associate Professor of the Health and Physical Education department. He holds an A.S. in Physical Education from Herkimer College, a B.S. in Physical Education from Bowling Green State University and a M.S. in Health Education from SUNY Cortland. Coach Aragon resides in New Hartford with his wife Anastacia, daughter Natalia and son Pepe.