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Top Assistant Coaches 2017

June 11, 2018 - The 2017 college soccer season is now history but there is one important last look back on the 2017 season before the focus totally shifts to the upcoming 2018 campaign. College Soccer News annually seeks to recognize assistant coaches across the country who are excelling at their work. The 2017 honorees include a few familiar as well as a several new faces. In making these selections, we acknowledge up-front that some very deserving assistant coaches will be left out as is always the case when individuals are singled out for recognition.

It should be noted that our current selections consider team success on the field of play in 2017 with additional weight given to consist success over multiple seasons.  

There are many excellent assistant coaches in the collegiate ranks across the nation who have a very positive impact on college soccer. The very best are effective teachers, communicators, motivators, and recruiters. The most effective assistant coaches relate well to the players they coach while maintaining their respect.  Some, but not necessarily all, aspire to become a head coach at some point.  All seek to make a positive contribution in their current role.    

Successful head coaches are first to emphasize the valuable role that their assistants play in the level of success a program achieves. The very best assistance coaches are soccer and people savvy mentors who understand their role and are totally aligned with the direction of the head coach. 

Assistant coaches recognized in past years by College Soccer News who are now head coaches include Kevin Grimes at California, Cameron Rast at Santa Clara, Bill Irwin formerly at Portland, Robert McCourt at Monmouth, Bobby Muus at Denver and Wake Forest, Mike Jacobs formerly at Evansville, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, Jesse Comier at Vermont and FGCU, Kelly Findley formerly at North Carolina State, Erik Ronning at Colgate, Brian Wiese at Georgetown, Darren Powell formerly at Elon, Damon Rensing at Michigan State, Jamie Clark at Washington, Kevin Anderson at Columbia, Sean Phillips at UIC, Eric Pogue at Oakland, Ralph Polson at Wofford, Scott Calabrese at FIU and UCF, Brad Ruzzo at Mercer, Andy Fleming at Xavier, Carlos Somoano at North Carolina, Ryan Anatol at Stony Brook, Johan Cedergren at Kentucky, Jared Embick at Akron, Chris Volk formerly at UC Irvine, Kylie Stannard at Yale, Mario Sanchez at SIUE, Nick Carlin-Voigt at Portland, John Murphy at Georgia Southern, Brian Maisonneuve at Ohio State and Brian Rowland at Temple. 

 

Oige Kennedy

Stanford

Kennedy's focus at Stanford has been on the play between the pipes.  The Cardinal have been rock solid on the defensive side of the ball not allowing a goal in the past two NCAA Tournaments.  Stanford goal keepers Nico Corti (2017) and Andrew Epstein (2016) have been outstanding.  Kenedy's resume includes seven seasons as the head coach at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and two NCAA Division II national championship prior to joining the Stanford staff under head coach Jeremy Gunn.  

Jeff Negalha

N.C. State

Negalha's resume includes very successful stops at South Florida, Boston College, and North Carolina before joining the staff at N.C. State as the Associate Head Coach under head coach George Kiefer last year.  The Wolfpack returned to the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since the 2009 season.  Negalha's experience and his eye for talent are outstanding qualities.   

Michael Brady

Duke 

Brady enters his eleventh season on the coaching staff at Duke under head coach John Kerr. He has served in the capacity of Associate Head Coach since 2010. He works to hone the skills of the Blue Devil players on both sides of the ball.  Before Duke, Brady served for two season as the head women's soccer coach at American University.  In 2017 Duke had a banner thirteen win season during which they were awarded the number six seed in the NCAA Tournament.  

Ben Pirmann 

Michigan State

The former Michigan State midfielder who was a three-year starter will enter his  eighth season as a Spartan assistant coach under head coach Damon Rensing. Prior to returning to the sidelines at East Lansing in 2011, Pirmann gained seasoning as an assistant coach at Western Michigan. Michigan State earned the number seven seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight for the thrid time in the past five years.  

Mike Miller

Connecticut

Miller enters his third season on head coach Ray Reid's staff at Connecticut.  Reid speaks highly of Miller's work ethic and his energy and effectiveness in attracting top talent on the recruiting trail.  Miller has an impressive resume that includes serving as an assistant coach at Duke for two years, at Syracuse for four seasons, and at Evansville for four years. He has served as a mentor for numberous goalkeepers and played a key role in recruiting several top ranked recruiting classes.  

Grant Porter

North Carolina 

The former UNC player and team captain will enter his eighth season as a member of the Tar Heel coaching staff under head coach Carlos Somoano. He assists in all aspects of the program and has had a hand in bringing on board several highly regarding recrutiing classes. North Carolina has had one of the highest winning percentages in the country during the time Porter has been associated as a player or member of the coaching staff.  He served as an assitant coach at Georgia State University before returning to Chapel Hill as an assistant coach. 

Dane Brenner

Wake Forest 

The High Point, North Carolina native, who was a four-year starter and team captain in goal as a player at  South Florida, will begin his eighth season as an assistant coach for the Demon Deacons under the guidance of Bobby Muuss who will enter his fourth season as the Wake Forest head coach in 2018. Brenner works primarily with the defensive unit and goalkeepers while also serving as the team's recruiting coordinator.  Before coming to Wake Forest, Brenner served as an assitant coach at Connecticut for four seasons.  Wake Forest had another banner nineteen win season in 2017.  

Keith Tiemeyer

Wisconsin

Tiemeyer, who serves as the Associate Head Coach at Wisconsin on the staff of head coach John Trask, has been a member of the Badger coaching staff since the 2009 campaign. He serves as Wisconsin's director of recruiting and works alongside Trask and assistants Aaron Hohlbein and Tim Boruff in developing the on the field talents of the Badger players and creating the desired team oriented culture. Wisconsin had a stellar 2017 season during which they were the outright Big Ten Tournament champions for the first time in program history in 2017 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  

Adam Bruh

Butler 

Bruh will began his eighth season as an assistant coach at Butler as a member of head coach Paul Snape's staff. He assists in all aspects of the program, with a focus on recruiting.  Bruh has been a part of a revitalized Bulldog program that has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the past two seasons. Butler won the Big East Championship in 2016 and the Big East regular season title in 2017 with an 8-1-0 mark against conference opponents.  In 2017 the Bulldogs advanced to the third round in NCAA Tournament play.  Bruh was a four-year letterwinner ( 2002-2005) at Michigan.  

Jeff Rowland

Washington

Rowland will enter his eighth season as an Assistant Coach at Washington under head coach Jamie Clark.  The Huskies have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament during five of the seven seasons that he has been a member of the coaching staff.  Prior to that Rowland served as an assistant coach at Creighton and as a voluteer assistant coach at Harvard.  Rowland  played collegiate soccer as a forward for New Mexico where he was an All-America selection in 2004 and 2005.  

Gavin Wyse 

Fordham

Wyse serves as the Associate Head Coach at Fordham under the direction of veteran head coach Jim McElderry.  Wyse joined the Ram coaching staff in 2008. He has played a key role on the recruiting trail and has contributed to the on the field success that Fordham has enjoyed which includes a berth in the NCAA Tournament in three of the past four seasons.  In 2017 the Rams had a program record fourteen win season during which they advanced to the Elite Eight.

Philip Jones

Clemson

Jones, a repeat selection by College Soccer News, will enter his ninth season as a member of the Clemson coaching staff in 2018 under head coach Mike Noonan.  He has served in the capacity of Associate Head Coach at Clemson since 2012.  Prior to that Jones was an assistant coach at his alma mater Embry-Riddle and at Brown. Jones has worked with Noonan to bring the Clemson program back into prominence in the ACC and on the national scene.  The Tigers earned their fifth consecutive invite to the NCAA Tournament last year and were awarded the number seven seed.  

Dustin Norman

SMU

Norman enters his fourth season as a member of head coach Kevin Hudson's staff at SMU.  His duties as associate head coach include recruiting and player development with a focus on attacking players. SMU won the American  Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2017 and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament  for the second time in the last three years.  Norman's resume includes three seasons as an assistant coach at Oregon State, five seasons at Houston Baptist, and three seasons at Mercer.  He was a three-time all-conference selection as a player at Maryville College.