Jan. 22, 2018
Theresa Romagnolo (pronounced tuh-RAY-suh roh-muh-KNOW-loh), who led the University of Notre Dame women’s soccer program to the NCAA Championship in each of her four seasons, has announced her resignation as Irish women’s soccer head coach in order to spend more time with her family.
“It is with my deepest gratitude that I want to thank (University president) Father (John) Jenkins, (athletics director) Jack Swarbrick, and (senior associate athletics director and women’s soccer sport administrator) Mike Harrity for the opportunity to work at Notre Dame,” Romagnolo said. “Notre Dame is an incredible university filled with wonderful people and I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to represent this program and work alongside amazing people.
“This has been a difficult decision for me and my family, but my personal goals are taking me down a different path at this time. With two young children it’s best for me to step down as the head coach and find something that will keep me more present with the people I care most about.”
Notre Dame will immediately launch a national search for a replacement.
Said Notre Dame vice president and James E. Rohr director of athletics Jack Swarbrick, “We have been very fortunate to have Theresa as the head coach of our women’s soccer team for the past four years. She has been a great teacher, mentor and role model for our students. And while we would have preferred that she continue to lead our program, we understand and respect her decision and wish her nothing but the best.”
Romagnolo’s four seasons at Notre Dame produced a combined 51-21-13 record (.676), while her seven seasons overall as a head coach (including three at Dartmouth) featured a 76-43-16 mark (.622). Her 2017 Irish squad eliminated sixth-ranked Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Championship before falling to 23rd-rated Baylor in overtime in the Sweet 16 round.
Highlights of her Notre Dame years included the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title, four NCAA Championship appearances, NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 2014 and 2017, 2014 and 2016 ACC Championship semifinalist berths, three National Women’s Soccer League College Draft picks and 18 All-ACC selections.
Among the top individuals she tutored at Notre Dame were Sandra Yu, a 2017 United Soccer Coaches third-team All-American, 2015 third-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American Cari Roccaro, along with CoSIDA Academic All-Americans Roccaro and Katie Naughton. Yu, Roccaro and Naughton all were selected in the first two rounds of the NWSL College Draft. The United Soccer Coaches named Yu a 2017 Scholar All-American.
Romagnolo, who took the reins of the Irish women’s soccer program March 19, 2014, was just the fourth head coach in the history of Notre Dame women’s soccer. She took over for Randy Waldrum, who stepped down following 15 seasons with the Irish to become head coach of the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
In her first season with the Irish, Romagnolo led the Irish to its first appearance in the then-four-team ACC Championship. The Irish also extended their NCAA Championship appearance streak to 25 with berths in each of her four seasons, keeping the nation’s second-longest active streak (1993-2017) alive (North Carolina is first, 1982-2017). The Irish went 33-10-2 (.755) at home during Romagnolo’s time in South Bend, including an 11-1-0 mark in 2015.
Romagnolo came to Notre Dame following a superb three-year run at Dartmouth that saw her guide the Hanover, New Hampshire, school to 25 wins, including a 13-4 record in 2012–posting the most victories by a Big Green squad since 2000, as well as the second-best winning percentage (.765) and third-most wins in one season in program history. In addition, she led Dartmouth to a pair of upper-division Ivy League finishes in her three seasons, including a 6-1 record and second-place showing in 2012, with the team’s six league wins matching the best by any Big Green squad in the previous two decades. Romagnolo also coached 16 All-Ivy selections, as well as four NSCAA all-region choices.
Prior to her arrival at Dartmouth, Romagnolo spent three years (2008-10) as an assistant coach at Stanford under head coach Paul Ratcliffe. While in Palo Alto, Romagnolo (who also served as a volunteer assistant in 2002) helped the Cardinal to two NCAA national title games, three NCAA College cup appearances and two Pac-10 Conference championships.
Romagnolo worked closely with Stanford’s recruiting efforts, helping to bring numerous award-winning standouts to Palo Alto and coaching several other notable All-Americans, including three consecutive Hermann Trophy recipients in current U.S. Women’s National Team players Kelley O’Hara (2009) and Christen Press (2010), and current Mexico National Team member Teresa Noyola (2011, won Hermann Trophy season after Romagnolo departed).
Romagnolo came to Stanford after a five-year stint (2003-07) as the top assistant coach at San Diego, where she helped the Toreros to three NCAA Championship appearances, including a 15-3-3 record and number-nine national ranking during her final season (2007).
Before embarking on her coaching career, Romagnolo was a standout soccer midfielder at the University of Washington from 1997-2000. Under her maiden name of Theresa Wagner, she was a four-time all-Pac-10 selection and was instrumental in the program’s first Pac-10 title and first number-one ranking in 2000. Washington also made three NCAA Championship appearances in her four seasons during Romagnolo’s career. Romagnolo remains among the top five on numerous Huskie career statistical charts, including points (80, second), goals (27, tied for third) and assists (26, third), while her four-goal/nine-point match at Oregon and four-assist outing against Eastern Washington (both in her senior season in 2000) remain tops in Husky women’s soccer history.
Romagnolo graduated from the University of Washington in 2001 with her bachelor’s degree in business. She went on to enjoy a three-year career with the San Jose CyberRays of the Women’s United Soccer Association (the first of two leagues that preceded the NWSL), helping the Bay Area franchise to the WUSA title in 2001.
A native of Edmonds, Washington, Romagnolo and her husband, Alex (director of annual giving at the University of Notre Dame), are parents of two daughters, Sierra and Giovanna.