A transition of sorts and learning curve often accompanies a change in leadership.
California – Leonard Griffin replaces Kevin Grimes who retired after 22 seasons as the program’s all-time winningest coach with a 211-152-49 overall record. Grimes was a five-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year who directed the Golden Bears to Pac-12 titles in 2006, 2007 and 2010 and 13 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Griffin takes over the reins of the program after serving as the head coach at Grand Canyon in 2021 when Hall of Fame coach Schellas Hyndman who put Grand Canyon on the map retired.
Under Griffin GCU had a 15-4-1 overall record and 9-2-0 mark in WAC play in 2021. The Lopes received an at-large berth in the 2021 NCAA Tournament but were eliminated in the first round by Denver 1-0. Prior to that Griffin served as the head coach at San Francisco for two seasons. Griffins’ well-traveled resume includes stints as an assistant coach at Cal state San Bernardino, St Mary’s, at California under Grimes, at his alma mater UCLA, and at Portland.
Griffin was an All-America defender at UCLA where he played from 2000-2003 and was part of the Bruins 2002 national championship team.
Griffin inherits a California program that netted a total of 15 goals while allowing 29 in 2021 with a 3-9-3 overall record and 1-6-1 last place finish in Pac-12 play. Look for Griffin to implement a possession oriented approach with movement designed to create opportunities that can be exploited.
Connecticut – UConn kept the head coaching job within the family when they hired Chris Gbandi to replace legendary head coach Ray Reid who retired after 33 seasons as a head coach including 25 years as the head coach at Connecticut and 8 as the head coach at Southern Connecticut State University. Under Reid, Connecticut secured 13 Big East Championships, 18 NCAA Tournament berths, and won the National Championship in 2000.
Gbandi returns to his alma mater as the head coach after serving as the head coach at Northeastern for six seasons. Prior to that he was the associate head coach at Dartmouth from 2014 through 2016 and served as an assistant under Reid at Connecticut in 2011 and 2012.
Gbandi was a highly decorated four-year letterman at UConn from 1998 through 2001. He was a key ingredient in UConn’s 2000 National Championship team, a three-time Big East Defender of the Year, four-time Big East First Team selection, and multi-year All-American who was the Hermann trophy recipient in 2000.
After playing in the American Athletic Conference from 2013 through 2019, UConn rejoined the Big East Conference in 2020. Gbandi faces the challenge of getting the Huskies back on track in the highly competitive Big East Conference and returning to the NCAA Tournament field after being absent since 2018. The Huskies were 1-6-1 in Big East play during the 2020 season which was played during the spring of 2021 and were 2-6-2 during the fall 2021 campaign.
Xavier – John Higgins assumed the head coaching job at Xavier after Andy Fleming and Xavier mutually agreed to part ways. Fleming put Xavier on the college soccer map turning the program around during a 12-year tenure during which Xavier earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament four times and moved into the national rankings with 118 total wins.
Higgins becomes the Musketeers mentor after 12 seasons as the head coach at Division II University of Indianapolis where his teams were 150-56-29 during which time the Greyhounds won six conference championships, appeared in the NCAA Tournament five times, and earned Midwest Region titles in 2019 and 2021 with back-to-back appearances in the national semifinals.
Higgins will seek to secure the success that other former Division II head coaches like Chris Grassie at Marshall and Dan Stratford at West Virginia have had at Division I programs. Higgins comes to his new job very highly recommended with a proven track record of building a winning culture.
Higgins will seek to build on Xavier’s 9-6-1 overall record and 3-6-1 mark in Big East play. His task of reloading was made a little more challenging due to the decision of forward Karsen Henderlong who was a 2021 All-Big East First Team selection and defender Jansen Miller who was a two-year starter to transfer.
Wisconsin – Neil Jones was named the head coach at Wisconsin taking over the reins of the program from John Trask who was the Badgers head coach from 2010 through 2021.
Trask had an 87-97-37 record during 12 seasons that included banner seasons in 2013 and 2017. In 2013 Wisconsin returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995 and in 2017 the Badgers were the outright Big Ten Tournament Champions for the first time in school history and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen finishing the season ranked as the number ten team in the country in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
Jones comes to Wisconsin after spending the past nine seasons as the head coach at Loyola University Chicago where he had an 81-54-24 record that included two Missouri Valley Conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in 2016 and 2019. Before coming to Loyola Chicago, Jones served as an assistant coach at his alma mater UC Santa Barbara under Tim Vom Steeg and at Northwestern under head coach Tim Lenahan.
Jones played collegiate soccer at UC Santa Barbara where he was a four-year starter, two-year captain, two-time All-Big West selection, and Academic All-American.
Jones takes over a Wisconsin team that was 7-7-3 overall with a 3-4-1 mark and sixth place finish in the nine member Big Ten Conference. He faces the daunting challenge of making the Badgers a consistent winner in the very competitive Big Ten Conference where the margin for error is very slim.
Jones’ staff will include former Wisconsin All-American Aaron Hohlbein who has served as an assistant coach at Wisconsin since 2015 and Andrew Bordelon who joins the program after five seasons as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois.
Brown – Chase Wileman assumes the head coaching job at Brown replacing Patrick Laughlin who served as the head coach from 2010 through 2021 with a 93-71-31 overall record that included a 31-28-16 mark in Ivy League play. Under Laughlin, Brown was the Ivy League Co-Champion in 2011 and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Wileman comes to picturesque Providence, Rhode Island, the home of eight institutions of higher education, from the University of Kentucky where he has served as an assistant coach under John Cedergren since 2014 and as the associate head coach since 2018. During his eight-year tenure in Lexington the Wildcats were 100-36-22 overall and appeared in the NCAA Tournament seven times.
Wileman is no stranger to Ivy League play having served as an assistant coach and lead recruiter at Dartmouth under Chad Riley for three seasons.
He played collegiate soccer from 2003 through 2006 at SMU where he was a team captain and Conference USA First Team selection in 2006.
Wileman will no doubt utilize the team-oriented concepts that were successful at Dartmouth and Kentucky to build a winning culture at Brown.
Missouri State – Michael Seabolt becomes the head coach at Missouri State in 2022 replacing head coach Jon Leamy who retired at the conclusion of his 30th season at the helm of the program with a 309-189-66 overall record.
During Leamy’s storied career he was honored as the Missouri Valley Coach of the Year eight times, secured ten regular season MVC titles, three MVC tournament championships, and appeared in the NCAA Tournament six times including the last three seasons.
The transition to Seabolt who was named Head Coach Designate in June 2021 and has been an assistant under Leamy since 2007 should be fairly seamless. Seabolt takes over the reins of a Missouri State program that was 17-2-0 in 2021 but will be without the services of a very large and successful 2021 senior class including All-Americans forward Josh Dolling and defender Kyle Hiebert as well as goalkeeper Michael Creek who was a four-year standout in goal.
Loyola Marymount – Kyle Schmid becomes the head coach at LMU in 2022 in place of veteran head coach Paul Krumpe who will remain on board as an assistant coach for the 2022 season, his 25th year with the program.
Schmid joined Krumpe’s staff as an assistant coach in 2018 and was named Associate Head Coach in 2019. Schmid’s resume includes serving as an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, and Cal State Northridge.
He played college soccer for UC Irvine where he was named an All-Big West Second Team member in 2008.
LMU enters the 2022 season off a 12-4-2 overall record in 2021 and 2019 and 2020 seasons during which they earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola Chicago – Steve Bode returns to Loyola Chicago where he served as an assistant coach in 2019 under head coach Neil Jones who left to take the head coach job at Wisconsin after nine seasons at Loyola Chicago. Bode was part of the 2019 team that won the Missouri Valley Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
He served as an assistant coach of the women’s program at Marquette in 2020 and 2021. Prior to that he also served as an assistant coach with the men’s soccer program at Marquette and at Brown University and was the head coach for Chicago FC United in the United Soccer Leagues. College Soccer News recognized Bode as among the top assistant coaches in the country while a member of the staff at Marquette.
Bode played college soccer for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he was a team captain for three years and a multi-year All-Horizon League selection.
Bode takes over the reins of a Loyola Chicago team that will include forward Billy Hency, the 2021 MVC Conference Player of the Year, who will utilize his fifth year of eligibility to return in 2022.
Drake University – Drake becomes the third program in the Missouri Valley Conference that will begin the 2022 season with a new head coach.
Pat Flinn takes over the head coaching job from Gareth Smith who resigned at the end of the 2021 season after serving as the head coach from 2015 through 2021 with a 51-56-11 overall record. During Smith’s tenure the Bulldogs won the MVC Championship in 2015 and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
Flinn comes to Drake after serving as the head coach at Division III University of Chicago for three seasons including a banner 2021 campaign during which the Maroons were 16-6-1 and advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals. Prior to that Flinn honed his coaching skills as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Loyola Chicago in 2017 and 2018 under Neil Jones. Before that he served as an assistant coach at the University of Chicago from 2014 through 2016.
He played college soccer for Duquesne University from 2004 through 2007 and was team captain his senior season.
Finn is a player’s coach whose recruiting skills and experience as a head coach at UChicago should pay dividends in his new role. Flinn faces the challenge of instilling a winning culture at a program that lost its last five contests in 2021 to conclude the season with a 6-9-0 overall record and 3-7-0 mark in MVC play.
Delaware – Tommy McMenemy replaces Ian Hennessy who served as the head coach at Delaware for 16 seasons during which time they earned invites to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, 2013 and 2016 and won the CAA Tournament in 2011 and 2016 and the CAA regular season title in 2014.
McMenemy comes to Delaware after serving as an assistant coach for six seasons and as the associate head coach for four seasons at the University of Michigan under head coach Chaka Daley. McMenemy also served as the recruiting coordinator for the Wolverines. Prior to that McMenemy was an assistant coach at his alma mater Columbia University under Kevin Anderson for six seasons.
As a player at Columbia, McMenemy was an All-American as a senior in 2003, a team captain, and a First-Team All-Ivy selection in 2002 and 2003.
McMenemy was recognized by College Soccer News in 2019 and 2018 as one of the top assistant coaches in the country. He inherits a Delaware program that has the potential to be competitive but that is coming off a 2-12-1 overall record and 0-8-0 mark in CAA play in 2021.
Northern Kentucky – Tom Poitras becomes the head coach at Northern Kentucky replacing Stu Riddle who announced that he was stepping down as the NKU head coach at the conclusion of the 2021 season after five seasons at the helm of the program.
The Norse was 37-36-5 overall under Riddle including a banner 2020 season during which they won the Horizon League Regular-Season title and Riddle was named the 2020 Horizon League Coach of the Year.
Poitras comes to Northern Kentucky with 28 years of head coaching experience and a 269-186-71 overall record. Poitras was the head coach at Hartford from 2011 through 2021. Prior to that he was the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay from 2004 through 2010, Southern New Hampshire from 1998 through 2003 and the University of New Haven from 1994 through 1997.
He played college soccer at Southern Connecticut State from 1987 through 1991 where he was a four-year starter.
Poitras takes over a NKU team that was 6-11-0 in 2021 with a 4-6-0 mark in Horizon League play which was good for a number eight finish in regular season play in the eleven member Horizon League. Redshirt sophomore Jesse Randall (10g, 5a) who was the 2021 Horizon League Freshman of the Year and an All-League First Team selection looks to be among returning players who Poitras will count on for offensive productivity in 2022.
IUPUI – Sid van Druenen was named the seventh head coach in the history of the IUPUI men’s soccer program replacing Brian Barnett who was the head coach from 2016 through 2021. During Barnett’s six-year tenure the Jaguars were 14-68-11 overall including a 3-12-1 record with a 2-8-0 mark in Horizon League play in 2021.
van Druenen comes to IUPUI after serving as the top assistant coach at fellow Horizon League member Wright State University from 2008 through 2021. In 2007 he was the Director of Operations at WSU.
His familiarity with the Horizon League should help facilitate a smooth transition to his new role at IUPUI. van Druenen also has the benefit of the experience gained at the professional level having served as the general manager and PDL head coach for the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC and as the manager of the Dayton Dutch Lions W-League women’s team. van Druenen played for EW in the Netherlands and CD Boliqueime in Portugal.
He faces the very real challenge of jump starting a program that only scored a total of 7 goals last year in 16 contests while allowing 25.
Northeastern – Rich Weinrebe takes over the reins of the program from Chris Gbandi who was named the new head coach at his alma mater the University of Connecticut.
Northeastern was 23-52-10 overall during the six seasons that Gbandi was the head coach including a promising 2021 season during which the Huskies appeared to turn the corner with a 11-6-2 record and second place finish in regular season CAA play. Northeastern has momentum that Weinrebe will seek to build on.
Weinrebe served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at New Hampshire for eight seasons under head coach Marc Hubbard. He has been a part of a New Hampshire coaching staff that was named the America East Staff of the Year in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Weinrebe was a defender as a player at UNH for four-seasons during which he was a two-year captain. He comes to Northeastern with a record of success as a player and a coach and a good understanding of what it takes to build a winning culture.
Bucknell – Dave Brandt becomes the head coach at Bucknell in 2022 with the benefit of 23 seasons as a college head coach under his belt with an overall record of 354-86-40.
Brandt was the head coach at Division III Hope College from 2018 through 2021 during which time his teams were 44-14-6 overall. Prior to that he was the head coach at Navy from 2009 through 2015 with a 64-42-20 overall record. He was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League in 2016 and 2017 and at his alma mater Messiah from 1997 through 2008 where his teams were 246-25-14 and won six national titles. Brandt was named the National Coach of the Year four times while at Messiah.
He replaces Matt Brown who served as the interim head coach at Bucknell in 2021 and Brendan Nash who stepped down from the head coaching job at Bucknell prior to the 2021 season after a successful 22-year tenure that included 187 career wins and Patriot League championships in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2014.
Brandt brings a winning mentality and a ton of experience to a Bucknell team that was 4-10-3 overall in 2021 with a 2-5-2 mark in Patriot League play.
Canisius – Michael Tanke will enter the 2022 season as the 15th head coach in the history of the Canisius men’s soccer program replacing Dermot McGrane who had been the head coach for 11 seasons.
McGrane had several noteworthy seasons during his tenure at Canisius but the wins were few and far between from 2018 through 2021 including a 1-14-2 season in 2021.
Tanke comes to Canisius after spending five seasons with the Empire United MLS Next development program in Rochester serving as the director of talent identification and recruitment. As a coach Tanke helped lead the Empire United U19 team to the 2019 Winter DA Cup Group championship and the first national quarterfinals appearance in program history. Tanke’s resume also includes serving as an Open Territory Scout for the Philadelphia Union Your Academy for the past two seasons. His collegiate experience includes seven seasons in both assistant coach and operations roles at IUPUI. He also spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Castleton University in Vermont and three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Dayton.
Tanke was a four-year letterman and two-year starter as a player at the University of Rhode Island.
Take’s recruiting experience and eye for talent, work ethic and enthusiasm should prove to be a plus as he takes on the very challenging task of creating and sustaining a winning culture at a program that has a total of 7 wins over the past four seasons.
UNLV – BJ Craig will bring a wealth of Division I experience to the role of head coach at UNLV.
Craig replaces Rich Ryerson who was the head coach at UNLV from 2010 through 2021. During Ryerson’s 12 seasons at the helm of the program the Rebels were 96-108-16 and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2016.
Craig served as an associate head coach at Oregon State for four seasons. Prior to that he was an associate head coach at Notre Dame from 2008 through 1018 and as an assistant coach at Louisville in 2007. He served as the head coach at Saint Francis University (Pa.) for four seasons. He has been recognized on multiple occasions by College Soccer News as among the top assistant coaches in the country and was named the Glenn “Mooch” Myernick National Assistant Coach of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches in 2014.
Craig played college soccer for the University of Massachusetts and Gordon College. He takes over the reins of a program that was 7-11-0 last year with a 3-8-0 mark in WAC play.
One of Craig’s challenges will be strengthening a Rebel defense that allowed an average of 2.06 goals per game last year.
East Tennessee State University – David Lilly returns to ETSU where he served as an assistant coach from 2010 through 2017 during which time the Bucs were 81-49-27, won the 2010 and 2013 Atlantic Sun Tournaments and appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times.
Lilly takes over the reins of the program from interim head coach Josh Scott who was named the interim head coach at ETSU when head coach David Casper departed with four games remaining in the 2021 season.
Lilly comes to ETSU after serving as the head coach at Milligan from 2018 through 2021 during which time the Buffs were 42-26-3 with a 28-14-3 mark in conference play and earned back-to-back invites to the NAIA National Tournament. He was named the AAC Coach of the Year in 2020 during a season in which he led Milligan to the NAIA Tournament for the first time since 2006 and their first conference championship since 2012. Lily also was an assistant coach for three seasons at Milligan before coming to ETSU as an assistant coach in 2010.
He played college soccer for Milligan where he was the Appalachian Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
Lilly assumes the reins of a program that was 4-8-3 overall in 2021 with a 1-3-2 mark in Southern Conference play.
UMass Lowell – Kyle Zenoni becomes the 10th head coach of the men’s soccer program at UMass Lowell replacing Christian Figueroa who served in that capacity for 11 seasons with a 93-85-13 overall record including a 4-11-1 overall record with 3-5-0 mark in America East Conference play in 2021.
Zenoni assumes the head coaching job after spending the last seven seasons as the associate head coach at his alma mater the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to that he served as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for a season. He has been the director of the Bavarians Academy since 2014.
Zenoni was a four-year letterwinner and senior captain as a player at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
He is a player’s coach with a work ethic and passion for the game that should bode well for him as a head coach.