March 8, 2007

Head Coaching Position Advertised for W. Soccer

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Following this year’s three-win season, the athletic department has decided to advertise the women’s soccer head coaching vacancy on the NCAA job opening site. After serving as the women’s soccer team’s interim head coach last year — and assistant coach the previous four years — former interim coach Gretchen Zigante is still in the running to be the team’s long term coacg.

“I always knew whether we had a championship or losing season, we were still going through with the official application process,” Zigante said.

The head coaching position as well as the assistant head coach position, have been advertised on the site as Emily Wyffels ’05 has left the team to work with Americore, helping with Hurricane Katrina relief.

“Obviously it’s hard to lose her [Wyffels],” said freshman forward Eva Dixon.

Zigante, a goaltender for the 2006 NCAA tournament-winning North Carolina Tar Heels hopes to bring the same type of success if chosen to return as head coach.

“I hope to be coming back [as head coach],” Zigante said. “I have applied for the job but it is going through the administration right now.”

Despite the void of an official head coach, Zigante has led the team through their post-season workouts alongside her husband Nenad Zigante — also an assistant for the men’s soccer team.

“I think the workouts are going well, we are bonding.” Dixon said. “Obviously, not having a head coach will have an effect, but we have to take it in stride, whichever way things turn out.”

Fortunately for the Red, the void has not hurt the recruitment of next year’s class.

“I had the handful of recruits sign pretty much by the ending of early decision in mid-January,” Zigante said.

Nonetheless, not having a head coach has led to a lot of questions from inside and outside the team.

“It always has an effect though, the question always comes up if I am going to stay, but we are going through this application process right now.”

With the team’s recent struggles — falling from a (7-7-1 1-5-1 Ivy) record in 2005 to (3-13-1 1-6-0 Ivy) record in 2006 — it is important that the Red make the right decision and not the quick one.

“It is [the head coaching job] very challenging … given the lack of scholarships and location,” Zigante said. “But, I think the caliber of player that you can work with is very compelling and wonderful to work with.”

With the team’s recent shortcomings, the Red are hopeful that things will turn around once a head coach is named and the 2007 season commences.

“From mine and the players perspectives, we are very positive.” Zigante said. “They have been playing very well and they just feel as if they didn’t get rewarded.”

The first step to getting those rewards will be getting an official head coach.