June 19, 2006
Randy Waldrum – whose first seven University of Notre Dame teams combined to win nearly 85 percent of their games and make three trips to the NCAA College Cup semifinals, including the 2004 national championship season and a runner-up finish in 1999 – has signed a multi-year contract to continue as coach of the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, University athletics director Kevin White announced today.
“Randy has accomplished what we hope to see from every one of our athletic programs – and that is to consistently rank among the elite teams in the country,” said White.
“Whether you talk about on-the-field accomplishments, recruiting the blue-chip high school athlete, or putting his players in position to contend for All-America or Academic All-America honors, Randy has clearly positioned Notre Dame’s program among the very best in America. We’re excited that he is committed to continuing that sort of achievement with women’s soccer at Notre Dame.”
Randy Waldrum (center) coached four All-America performers during the 2004 season (from left): Katie Thorlakson, Kerri Hanks, Jen Buczkowski and Candace Chapman (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Waldrum’s wide-reaching success has spanned a 24-year career that includes coaching both men’s and women’s teams at various levels. His past 10 women’s teams, three at Baylor and seven at Notre Dame, have combined to win more than 82 percent of their games (187-37-8 record) while his career record as a college head coach stands at 324-128-24 (.706), including 248-73-17 (.759) in 16 seasons as a women’s head coach. Waldrum’s combined record as the women’s coach at Tulsa, Baylor and Notre Dame represents the seventh-best career winning percentage of any active Division I women’s soccer coach.
His Notre Dame teams consistently have played an attractive, attacking brand of soccer while combining for a 141-23-5 record (.849) from 1999-2005 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament every season, with six BIG EAST Conference regular-season titles and four conference tournament crowns.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Father Jenkins and Kevin White for their unwavering belief in what we are doing with our women’s soccer program,” said Waldrum. “It’s an honor to continue on as the head coach of an amazing group of young women who commit so much of themselves to this program and institution.”
“To work for the University of Notre Dame is such a privilege, and I am absolutely elated to be afforded the opportunity to move forward in developing the best women’s soccer program in the country for years to come. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the Notre Dame family and all that it embodies.”
From his first coaching job at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, to leading Baylor to the NCAAs in just its third year as a varsity program and then building the Irish into a national championship team, Waldrum has been recognized by U.S. Soccer as one of the top soccer minds at any level. He has held a position on the U.S. national team coaching staff since 1992 and currently serves as the third vice-president for the 18,000-member National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
The only four-time recipient of the BIG EAST women’s soccer coach-of-the-year award, Waldrum also was the only coach to earn regional coach-of-the-year honors from the NSCAA for both the 2003 and ’04 seasons. He has totaled six NSCAA regional coach-of-the-year awards during nearly 25 seasons of coaching on the collegiate level.
Randy Waldrum’s past three Notre Dame teams have combined for a dominating 67-7-2 record (photo by Pete LaFleur).
Notre Dame has emerged as one of the nation’s most dominant programs during the past three seasons, compiling the second-most wins (67-7-2; .895) during that span while posting 48 shutouts and allowing just one goal in 19 other games during that 76-game stretch (67 games with 0-1 goals allowed).
Waldrum’s Notre Dame teams have won nearly 80 percent of their games when facing a top-25 or postseason opponent (58-16-3; .773). His players have combined for 15 All-America honors – led by 2000 national player of the year Anne Makinen and 2004 standout Katie Thorlakson (who also received player-of-the-year honors) – and 11 Academic All-America citations, including 2001 defender Monica Gonzalez, who completed the rare double of All-America and Academic All-America honors in the same season. His 2003 squad became the first in Division I women’s soccer history to produce three Academic All-Americans, with defender Vanessa Pruzinsky named the Academic All- American of the Year.
Rising sophomore mdfielder Brittany Bock – who will join classmate Carrie Dew on the U.S. team that will compete in Russia at the 2006 Under-20 World Championship – is one of several highly-rated players to join the Notre Dame program during the Randy Waldrum era (photo by Matt Cashore).
Notre Dame teams have held the nation’s number-one ranking in three of the past six seasons (2000, ’04 and ’05) while leading the nation in shutouts during the 2004 (16) and ’05 (17) seasons. Waldrum’s teams at Notre Dame have won every game when claiming a 2-0 lead, have lost just once in 20 overtime games (14-1-5) and have posted 20-plus wins in five of his seven seasons (25 in ’04, 23 in 2000 and ’05, 21 in ’99 and 20 in ’03). The players who will comprise the 2006 senior class have yet to be outshot during their college careers (spanning 76 games) while the Irish trailed for 45-plus minutes in just two of the previous 54 games.
Waldrum has helped bring some of the nation’s top talent to Notre Dame during recent years, as the team’s 2003 incoming class was rated fifth in the nation, the 2004 freshmen were ranked as high as second, the 2005 freshmen were rated eighth (despite having just four signees in the class) and the incoming class of five signees has been ranked 10th.
The Waldrum era also has featured tremendous academic achievement by the members of the women’s soccer program. Three different Irish players posted 4.0 semester grade-point averages during the 2004-05 academic year, with 23 posting a GPA of 3.0-plus in the 2005 spring semester (including 11 with a 3.4-plus). Eight of his former players have moved on to graduate or law school, with four serving as teachers in their postgraduate years.
Nine Notre Dame players during the Waldrum era have played for their full national teams while five players on the 2005 team – goalkeeper Erika Bohn, midfielders Jen Buczkowski and Brittany Bock, forward Kerri Hanks and defender Carrie Dew – recently have played for United States youth national teams on the under-21 or under-20 levels.
Vanessa Pruzinsky – the 2003 Academic All-American of the Year for Division I women’s soccer – is part of a Notre Dame women’s soccer tradition that had produced 11 Academic All-America honors during the Waldrum era (photo by Matt Cashore).
Waldrum’s most recent team ranks as one of the most dominant in the history of college soccer, after outscoring its opponents 110-15 – despite the month-long injury absence of three defensive starters – and leading the nation with 4.4 goals per game in 2005. That 22-3-0 season included an NCAA quarterfinal loss to eventual NCAA champion Portland, halting a 13-game win streak in which the Irish outscored their opponents 68-3. Four All-Americans led the way for the 2005 team that scored five-plus goals in eight games, set a Notre Dame record by scoring three-plus goals in 11 straight and fashioned a 571-minute shutout streak during the second half of the season.
Four Notre Dame players – Thorlakson, Hanks, Buczkowski and defender Candace Chapman – were among the final 15 candidates for the prestigious Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy national player-of-the-year award in 2005. Thorlakson and Hanks both finished the season with 71 points (one shy of the Notre Dame record), becoming just the second set of Division I teammates ever to reach 70 points in the same season. Thorlakson’s 35 assists in 2005 rank as the second-most in Division I history while Hanks (28) totaled the fourth-most goals every by a Division I freshman.
Waldrum’s clever use of personnel played a key role in the 2004 team’s sustained success and postseason push to the national title. He guided that team to the best winning percentage in the program’s history (.944, 25-1-1), with only three previous Division I teams winning more games in a season.
National players of the year Anne Makinen (pictured; in 2000) and Katie Thorlakson (’04) have headlined a parade of 15 All-America seasons turned in by Irish players in the Waldrum era (photo by Matt Cashore).
The 2004 Irish squad finished fourth in the nation with a 0.51 season goals-against average while trailing for just 102 minutes all season. On the way to the title, Notre Dame beat three top-25 teams twice (Santa Clara, Boston College and Connecticut) while adding other noteworthy wins over Portland, Stanford, West Virginia, Villanova, Michigan and Arizona State.
Waldrum’s 2003 team earlier had returned Notre Dame atop the national scene, owning the No. 2 national ranking for most of the season (plus several weeks at number one) while holding the distinction as one of the nation’s most balanced teams on both sides of the ball – led by a pair of All-Americans in forward Amy Warner and defender Melissa Tancredi.
Under the clever guidance of Waldrum, the Irish overcame the loss of two starters for parts of the 2000 season and were ranked number one for most of the season – led by a stingy defense that owned the nation’s best goals-against average (0.39) as Notre Dame trailed for just 35 minutes in all of the 2000 season During Notre Dame’s 1999 NCAA runner-up campaign, Waldrum became the only first-year coach in the first 24 years of the NCAA women’s soccer championship to lead a team to the championship game.