COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS ANNUALLY RECOGNIZEs ASSISTANT COACHES ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO ARE EXCELLING AT THEIR WORK. THE 2023 HONOREES INCLUDE SEVERAL COACHES WHO HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED IN THE PAST AND SEVERAL NEW FACES. IN MAKING THESE SELECTIONS, WE ACKNOwLEDGE UP-FRONT THAT SOME VERY DESERVING ASSISTANT COACHES WILL NOT BE INCLUDED AS IS ALWAYS THE CASE WHEN INDIVIDUALS ARE SINGLED OUt FOR RECOGNITION.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT The SELECTIONS TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION TEAM SUCCESS ON THE FIELD OF PLAY DURING THE 2023 SEASON WITH ADDITIONAL WEIGHT GIVEN TO CONSISTENT SUCCESS OVER SEVERAL SEASONS.
THERE ARE MANY EXCELLENT ASSISTANT COACHES IN THE COLLEGIATE RANKS WHO HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON COLLEGE SOCCER AND PLAYER DEVELOPMENT. THE VERY BEST ARE EFFECTIVE TEACHERS, COMMUNICATORS, MOTIVATORS, RECRUITERS, AND AMBASSADORS FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE PROGRAMS. MANY, BUT NOT NECESSARILY ALL, ASSISTANT COACHES ASPIRE TO BECOME A HEAD COACH AT SOME POINT. ALL SEEK TO MAKE A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIOIN IN THEIR CURRENT ROLE.
Assistant coaches recognized in past years by College Soccer News who are now head coaches include Kevin Grimes formerly at California, Cameron Rast at Santa Clara, Bill Irwin formerly at Portland, Robert McCourt at Monmouth, Bobby Muuss at Wake Forest, Mike Jacobs formerly formerly at Evansville, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, Jesse Cormier at FGCU, Kelly Findley at Liberty, 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 Polston formerly at Wofford, Scott Calabrese at UCF, Brad Ruzzo at Mercer, Andy Fleming formerly 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, Jason O’Keefe formerly at Robert Morris, Mario Sanchez formerly at SIUE, Nick Carlin-Voight at Portland, John Murphy formerly at Georgia Southern, Brian Maisonneuve at Ohio State, Brian Rowland formerly at Temple, Yossi Raz at UC Irvine, Brian Gill at Penn, Zack Samol at American, Johnny Torres at Creighton, Stephen Gorton at Purdue-Fort Wayne, Leonard Griffin at Grand Canyon, Scott Buete at Salisbury University, Ryan Hopkins at San Diego State, Tommy McMenemy at Delaware, Steve Bode at Loyola Chicago, B.J. Craig at UNLV, Chase Wileman at Brown, Rich Weinrebe at New Hampshire, Rich Costanzo at George Mason, Kris Bertsch at Lindenwood, Oige Kennedy at Cal Poly, Greg Dalby at Oregon State and Anthony Adams at UMBC.
Phil Jones – Clemson – Jones has been a member of the highly successful coaching staff at Clemson under head coach Mike Noonan for fourteen seasons serving as the associate head coach since 2021. During that time he has worked along side Noonan to create a winning culture that most recently produced National Championship teams in 2021 and 2023. Jones serves as the program’s primary recruiting coordinator. HIs responsibilities also include developing daily training sessions, preparing tactical game plans, and developing plans designed to enhance the success and personal growth of each student-athlete. Jones began his coaching career in 2004 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Dayton Beach, Florida and served as an assistant coach under Noonan at Brown during the 2009 season before joining the staff at Clemson. He played collegiate soccer for Embry Riddle from 1999 to 2022 where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication and a Masters Degree. Jones is a member of Embry Riddle’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jeff Rowland – Notre Dame – Rowland has coached at the Division I level for fifteen years. He joined the staff at Notre Dame under Chad Riley in 2021. He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard for one season, was an assistant coach at Creighton for one season, and Washington for ten seasons under head coach Jamie Clark including three seasons as the associate head coach prior to coming to South Bend. During Rowland’s tenure at Washington the Huskies advanced to the Elite Eight four times. Notre Dame has advanced to the College Cup during two (2021 and 2023) of the three seasons seasons that Rowland has been a member of Riley’s staff. Rowland played collegiate soccer for four seasons at New Mexico where he was a two-time First Team All-American and the runner-up for the Herman Trophy as a senior in 2005. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico.
Charlie Hubbard – James Madison – Hubbard has been a member of the coaching staff at JMU for four seasons under head coach Paul Zazenski serving as an assistant coach in 2020 and 2021 and as the associate head coach in 2022 and 2023. Before that he was the associate head coach at VMI for three seasons and the head coach in 2019. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Thomas More College in Kentucky in 2013 and was an assistant coach at Dallas Baptist University in 2014 and 2015. Hubbard was a four-year letterwinner at Division II Palm Beach Atlantic University where he earned a bachelors degree in biblical studies and a master’s degree in sport management. JMU was 10-5-5 in 2023 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2018.
Grant Porter – North Carolina – The 2023 season was Porter’s 14th as a member of the the coaching staff at his alma mater North Carolina under the guidance of head coach Carlos Somoano. Porter is involved in all aspects of the program and has played a key role in annually attracting top notch talent to Chapel Hill. Before joining the staff in 2011 he was the head coach at Charlotte Country Day School and was the Director of Soccer for the Charlotte United Futboll Club. His resume also includes two seasons as the head assistant coach at Georgia State University and as an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara in 2005. Porter can speak from experience when on the recruiting trail having been a four-year starter as a collegiate player for the Tar Heels from 2000-2003 and team captain as a senior. He also works with US Soccer as a regional scout for you national teams. Porter has a bachelor’s degree from UNC in economics and a master’s degree in sport administration from Georgia State.
Paul Dorah – Oakland – Dorah has been a member of head coach Eric Pogue’s staff at Oakland since 2016 and has served as the Associate Head Coach since 2020. Pogue speaks highly of Dorah and credits him with playing a key role in the success the program has had including a very productive 2023 season during which the Golden Grizzlies secured the 2023 Horizon League Regular Season title and advanced to the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament. Dorah also serves as the head coach of the USL2 Flint City Bucks and has been actively involved in youth soccer over the years. Before coming to Oakland he was an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State. Dorah was a stellar four-year starter as a collegiate player at Oakland, team captain, and an All-American defender as a senior in 1996. He also played professional soccer for several years after his collegiate career. Dorah has a Bachelor’s Degree from Oakland and a Juris Doctor Degree from the Thomas Cooley Law School.
Kevin Robson – Indiana – Robson completed his 10th season as a member of head coach Todd Yeagley’s coaching staff in 2023. He jointed the staff as a volunteer assistant coach in 2013 and became an assistant coach in 2014. Robson became the IU recruiting coordinator in 2017 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2021. The Hoosiers are 146-35-41 overall during the ten seasons that Robson has been a member of the coaching staff and have advanced to the College Cup four times with the most recent being the 2022 season. Robson played collegiate soccer for IU from 2003 through 2006 and was a member of the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Championship squads. The Hoosiers were 15-4-5 during the 2023 season. They won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the Elite Eight for an NCAA leading 29th time.
Ben Stoddard – SMU – Stoddard has served as the Associate Head Coach at SMU under Mustang head coach Kevin Hudson for six seasons. SMU is 65-26-11 during than span of time and has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament four times including the 2023 season in which they were 14-3-2 overall, won the AAC regular season title and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Stoddard was a member of the coaching staff at Oregon State before coming to SMU serving as the associate head coach from 2016 through 2018. He began his coaching career at his alma mater Indiana Wesleyan where he was a Graduate Assistant in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Stoddard played collegiate soccer for Gardner-Webb University before transferring to Indiana Wesleyan where he was an All-Conference selection. He has a Master’s Degree in Management from Indiana Wesleyan and currently serves as a U.S. Soccer Coach scout.
Andy Wright – West Virginia – Wright has been a member of the West Virginia coaching for eight seasons. He completed his fourth season as the associate head coach at West Virginia in 2023 under head coach Dan Stratford. During that four year span the Mountaineers have been 42-16-15 advancing to the Elite Eight in 2021 for the first time since 1981 and to the College Cup in 2023 for the first time in program history. West Virginia was ranked as the number three team in the country in both the United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News 2023 season ending polls. Wright also served as an assistant coach at West Virginia for four seasons (2016-2019) under then head coach Marlon LeBlanc. Wright, who was a teammate of Stratford as a collegiate player at West Virginia, was a three-time All-American as a midfielder and a three-time All-Big East Conference selection from 2005 through 2007. He played professional soccer in England from 2008 through 2015.
Steve Armas – Wake Forest – Armas has been a member of the Wake Forest coaching staff under head coach Bobby Muuss for nine seasons. He served as an assistant coach from 2015 through 2017 and as an associate head coach since 2018. The Demon Deacons have won a total of 140 games during that nine year period and have consistently been a force in the highly competitive ACC and on the national scene advancing to the Elite Eight five times and to the College Cup two times. Armas’ resume also includes two season as an assistant coach for both Greensboro College and the Carolina Dynamo and nine seasons at Campbell University including four as an assistant coach and five as the Fighting Camels head coach from 2010 through 2014. He played college soccer for the University of Maryland from 1995 through 1998 where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature. He then played professional soccer for the Columbus Crew and Tampa Bay Mutiny of the MLS and in the USL First division for the Atlanta Silverbacks, Minnesota Thunder and Cincinnati Riverhawks.
Tony McManus – Memphis – McManus has been a member of head coach Richard Mulrooney’s staff at Memphis since 2014 when he joined the program as an assistant coach. He currently serves as the associate head coach. McManus was on the staff at Oglethorpe University in 2012 and served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Stetson University in 2013 before coming to Memphis. He was a four-year letterwinner as a collegiate player at UAB where he was a team captain and NSCAA and College Soccer News All-American as a senior. McManus received a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in Health Education from UAB. He spent nine seasons as a player in the MLS, USL and the North American Soccer League before entering the coaching ranks. Memphis has momentum. The Tigers have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons for the first time in program history and are coming off an historic 2023 season in which they secured the program’s first ever win in NCAA Tournament play.
Michael Brady – Duke University – Brady joined head coach John Kerr’s staff at Duke in 2008 as an assistant coach and was promoted to associate head coach in 2010. He assists Kerr is all aspects of the program. Prior to that he was the women’s soccer head coach at American University for eight seasons. He played collegiate soccer at American University were he was named the 1985 NCAA Men’s Player of the Year by Soccer America and a three-time NCAA All-American. He was a member of the U.S. National team from 1984 through 1986 and played professional soccer for the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League. During his tenure at Duke Brady has helped develop the skills of numerous All-ACC and All-American players and played a key role in the success that the Blue Devils have had on the field of play. Duke has earned a seed in the NCAA Tournament for the past five seasons.
Mike Gracyk – Notre Dame – Gracyk has been a part of head coach Chad Riley’s staff as an assistant coach since 2020. He has played a key role in the development of the Irish defense and netminders including most recently All-American Brian Dowd and has played a role in bringing on board top talent. Gracyk’s coaching resume also includes five seasons as an associate head coach at New Mexico, three seasons at Stanford, and a single season at Harvard. He also served as the top assistant coach for New Mexico United (USL). Graczyk played collegiate soccer for New Mexico from 2003 to 2007 recording 30 career shutouts. He was selected by the Colorado Rapids in the MLS draft and spent time with the Rapids, FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Notre Dame has advanced to the College Cup during two (2021 and 2023) of the four seasons that Gracyk has been a member of Chad Riley’s staff.
Matt Chulis – Virginia – Chulis just completed his 18th season and 12th as an associate head coach at his alma mater Virginia under head coach George Gelnovatch. Chulis was a three-time NSCAA All-American and All-ACC First Team selection as a defender at Virginia from 1995-1998. He was named the NSCAA National Defender of the Year and was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in 1998. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Virginia. After college he spent time in Major League Soccer playing for the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire. The Cavaliers are coming off a 2023 season in which they were 10-3-4 overall and secured the program’s 43rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Dane Brenner – Wake Forest – The 2023 season was Brenner’s 13th as a member of the coaching staff at Wake Forest and his ninth season under head coach Bobby Muuss. He has served as an Associate Head Coach since the 2018 season. Brenner works primarily with the Demon Deacon defense and goalkeepers and serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator. During the last nine seasons Wake Forest has advanced to the Elite Eight five times and to the College Cup two times. Before coming to Wake Forest he was an assistant coach at Connecticut for four years. Brenner played college soccer at South Florida were he was a four-year starter in goal and a three-time team captain. He has a degree in Sociology from South Florida and a Master’s in Kinesiology-Sport Management for Connecticut. Wake Forest made their 13th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2023.