By: Bennett Friel – Staff Writer
UD has recently acquired three new assistant coaches for three fall sports teams: Michael Tanke with the men’s soccer team, Stefani Workman with the women’s soccer team and Austin King, the new offensive line coach for the football team.
Tanke grew up in northwestern Indiana. Like most kids, he started soccer at a very young age, and he fell in love with the game immediately. He never followed professional soccer that much. Instead, because he lived relatively close, he grew up watching Notre Dame. To him, Notre Dame was the big leagues. Michael knew from a young age that he wanted to go as far as possible with soccer and eventually become a coach.
“I probably knew by [age] 15 that I wanted to be a coach” he said.
Tanke pursued soccer in every way he could and was able to attend the University of Rhode Island and play soccer there. At URI, he played under head coach John O’Connor, who would later open the door for Tanke with his first coaching position.
After he finished his undergrad work at URI, he played three years for the Rochester Rhinos in the United Soccer League, a third-tier American professional soccer league.
Following his playing career, Tanke went on to study for his master’s in education at Castleton University in Vermont. He followed his college coach, O’Connor, to Castleton and served as a graduate assistant for two years.
He said he is looking forward to a promising season. He hopes to help the team in any way he can to make the NCAA tournament this year.
“It’s a big year with our senior class,” he added.
Workman was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Soccer was always in her life, as she played for her high school team, a few club teams and the youth Olympic Development Program. Due to her hard work, she was recruited to play collegiately at Morehead State in Kentucky. She played goalkeeper there all four years. On top of this, Workman started coaching for local club teams and even the Kentucky ODP.
After graduating from Morehead State, she went on to coach at the University of Cincinnati. She spent three years as an assistant coach at Cincinnati before deciding to focus on her master’s degree. West Virginia University was the school of choice for her master’s program and during her two years there, Workman was able to continue coaching.
Upon graduating from WVU, Workman was offered a D2 head coaching position at Concord University in West Virginia. Four years passed at Concord and Workman was given the opportunity to be an assistant coach at the University of Georgia. She was leaving a head coaching position but was drawn in by moving into a more prominent conference like the SEC. Not long after she made her way back to Ohio, accepting an assistant coach position here at UD in February.
Workman has been good friends with former UD women’s soccer assistant coach, Sergio Gonzalez, and through him knew current head coach Mike Tucker as well. When the position opened up, Tucker gave Workman a call, and she took the offer. Her specific role here at UD is to coach the goalkeepers. Her goal is to help them develop in all aspects and help them in “being more defensive minded, pushing to produce more shutouts for the program.”
King grew up in the Cincinnati area so he is very familiar with Dayton. Football has always been his thing. He started his career at Purcell High school, playing all four years. Purcell is a Marianist school just like UD so he is “very familiar with the traditions” and is excited to be a part of a Marianist community once again.
After showcasing his talents in high school he was recruited to continue his football career at Northwestern University. Once he graduated, he had the honor of playing in the NFL. King played four years in the NFL as a center. His first year was spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his last three seasons were with the Atlanta Falcons.
After leaving the Falcons, he decided to take up coaching. He spent two years coaching at the University of Toledo and spent last year coaching at Syracuse University. At both schools, he primarily worked with the offensive line, just as he will be doing here at UD.
King has the mentality of taking things one step at a time. He plans to work week after week with the team pushing them to build their work ethic in every aspect of life.
“I’m big on making it hard on the guys in order to give them a mental skill set,” King said.
Ultimately, as a team he is aiming for the PFL championship. As for his personal goal, he hopes to one day make it back to the NFL as an offensive line coach.