By: Meaghan McNichol – Staff Writer
After a successful 25 year run with the University of Dayton Women’s Soccer, head coach Mike Tucker has hung up the cleats.
During Tucker’s time with the team, the Flyers brought home 11 regular season titles and nine Atlantic 10 Tournament championships.
Although those aren’t easy shoes to fills, the University has deemed Eric Golz, former assistant coach, the man for the job.
Returning to Dayton has brought nothing but a smile to Golz’s face.
“UD is a special university,” Golz said in a recent interview with Flyer News. “I think it has a great compliment of student experience in terms of academics it provides, the sense of community here on campus is pretty unique, and I think that you can attract a very elite level of student athlete to the institution.”
Golz’s experience with the University dates back to 2011 where he worked as an assistant coach and the team’s recruiting coordinator. During Golz’s time with UD the Flyers were ranked No. 14 by National Soccer Coaches Association of America during the season and won the A-10 Tournament.
He continued his coaching career as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons at the University of Maryland. Under his reign as recruiting coordinator, the Terrapins put together three straight top 25 recruiting classes.
Next, Golz took his talents to Illinois State University where he worked as the head coach for three seasons. There, he lead his team to the longest unbeaten streak in program and Missouri Valley Conference history, winning 15 games in a row.
In 2016, Illinois State finished as both MVC regular season champions and MVC Tournament champions. Golz and his coaching staff were also named the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year.
Golz attributes his return to Dayton to his previous experience on the UD coaching staff as well as the success he had coaching elsewhere.
“Being someone who is familiar with the history and the tradition that this program has and who genuinely wanted to be here on a long term basis were things that were in my favor,” Golz said.
Junior midfielder and defender, Kaitlynn Kiehl, agrees that Golz success with other universities will reflect positively on Dayton’s program.
“We have a strong group of girls and a lot of talent on this team,” Kiehl said. “I know we can keep the success going. And if you look at Coach Golz’s track records at previous schools he’s turned the programs around and been successful so it will be a good combination of talent and a good coach.”
Although Kiehl was not personally involved, about six or seven of her teammates were actively involved in the decision process for a new coach and are confident that Golz is the perfect fit.
Golz’s main goal for the program is to build on the success that Tucker worked so hard to achieve.
“Coach Tucker and all of the assistants that he’s had over the years and all of the student athletes who have come through this program, they built an incredible program,” Golz said. “We want to be able to appreciate and respect that success while building on it. And that’s something Coach Tucker would want. He wants us to take over the program that he’s helped created and laid a really strong foundation for and continue to make it stronger.”
Although she has an immense amount of respect for Tucker, Kiehl think a fresh perspective will be beneficial for the team.
“As great as coach Tucker is, I think it’s going to be a good change for us because I think someone who is new and someone who’s excited to be here is going to make everyone else excited to do new things and continue the success that Tucker had,” Kiehl said.
Although they won’t be in season until the fall, Golz has already begun to map out a gameplan to a successful season and there is no doubt he will thrive.
At the end of the day, both the women’s soccer program and Golz are happy with the decision.
“We have a storied program and Eric has the passion and knowledge to elevate it to new levels,” said director of athletics Neil Sullivan. “He demonstrates strong coaching abilities and embodies the values we aim to develop in our students.”
“I met my wife at the University of Dayton,” Golz said. “And it sort of feels like we’re coming home.”
Photo Courtesy of Dayton Athletics