BELLINGHAM, WA –– (WWU release) The Western Washington University women’s soccer coaching staff, led by head coach Travis Connell, has been named the Division II Women’s National Staff of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
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The award, which replaces the NSCAA Coach of the Year Award, will be presented on Jan. 13 at the NSCAA’s annual convention in Los Angeles. The National Staff of the Year award recognizes one coaching staff from both men’s and women’s soccer in each NCAA division.
The Vikings won the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championship, beating three-time defending champion Grand Valley State 3-2 on December 3 in Kansas City, MO. WWU finished the year with a school-record 24 wins, going 24-0-1 and winning the program’s fifth consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title.
Connell and his staff of assistants Jamie Arthurs, Claire Morgan and Joana Houplin, along with athletic trainer Lonnie Lyon, were also recognized as the NSCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Staff of the Year.
Assistants Jamie Arthurs and Claire Morgan, and head coach Travis Connell.
“What this means is that I am blessed to coach some really tremendous student-athletes that had a historic season,” said Connell, who just completed his 14th season at the helm of the women’s program and his 18th overall at WWU. “We have elevated our program to a level where we feel we can compete for a national championship each season and there are so many that have had a part in that – coaches, staff members, players, parents, the community – and we are humbled to be honored with this award.”
Connell has led the Vikings to a 202-64-26 (.736) record since taking over the women’s program in 2003. He has led WWU to the NCAA tournament five consecutive seasons, making three Final Four appearances during that stretch. In 2016 the Vikings earned their first-ever national No. 1 ranking midway through the season and carried it to the end of the season where they brought home WWU’s 10th team national title.
Over the last five seasons (2012-16), Western has combined for a 100-9-7 (.892) record, the second-best mark in NCAA Division II behind Grand Valley State (112-7-8/.913). Connell was named the 2016 GNAC Coach of the Year, the sixth time he has earned the award overall and the fourth consecutive season.