September 24, 2010

Rochester women's coach to step aside

Terry Gurnett constructed a legacy for the women's soccer program at Rochester. Now, he intends to do the same for the other 22 varsity sports.

Gurnett will step down as head women's soccer coach after the 2010 season to devote more energy to his role as Associate Director of Athletics for Advancement. He enters the 2010 campaign as the winningest coach among NCAA Division III women's soccer coaches and third in victories among women's soccer coaches in all divisions. His career record stands at 410 wins, 131 losses, and 62 ties in 33 years.

"I am indeed fortunate to have been able to coach at a place like Rochester," Gurnett said. "I have been blessed with being able to do what I love to do, at an institution that I love, with people that I love for the past 33 years."

"I have always hoped that I would recognize when that 'time' comes and be able to step away at the time and place of my choosing. I feel that time is now. My children are grown and happy. Mary (his spouse) and I are still young, and now I will have the chance to focus on building and strengthening all of our programs at Rochester."

Thomas "Sike" Dardaganis, who has served as the assistant women's soccer coach for the past 14 years, will become the new head coach after the 2010 season.

The Yellowjackets finished 13-4-3 in 2009 and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Rochester shared the University Athletic Association championship with a 5-1-1 record. Rochester has an all-time record of 109 wins, 30 losses, and 15 ties in 23 years of UAA play.

Rochester opens its 2010 season with three straight home games: Wednesday, Sept. 1 vs. Brockport (7 pm), Saturday, Sept. 4 vs. Oneonta in the Flower City Tournament (1:30 pm) and Sunday, Sept. 5 vs. Medaille or Rutgers-Newark in the second round of the Flower City Tournament (third place game at 11 am, championship game at 1:30 pm).

"As a member of my senior administrative team, Terry has played an important role in our department," said Athletics Director George VanderZwaag. "The tremendous growth of the Friends of Rochester Athletics over the past 10 years has allowed us to develop facilities and programs that effectively serve our campus community and compete on a national scale."

Rochester won the first two NCAA Division III national championships in women's soccer (1986 and 1987). The Yellowjackets have appeared in the NCAA playoffs 19 times and have been selected for post-season play for the last 25 years (six in the ECAC playoffs).

With Gurnett walking the sidelines, Rochester has won 12 team championships in the University Athletic Association in 23 years. The Yellowjackets have 10 outright titles -- more than twice that of any other UAA school -- and shared two others.

"For 33 years Terry has been a stalwart of our athletic program. He has been a great coach and, more than that, a great inspiration to our students and alumni," said University President Joel Seligman. "Congratulations to Terry on a magnificent career as women's soccer coach. I am delighted that he will continue to serve as Associate Director of Athletics for Advancement."

Twenty-seven of his players have received 33 All-America honors through the 2009 season. His student-athletes achieve excellence in academic settings as well. Three Rochester players have been selected to the ESPN Academic All-America Team (as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America). Seven others have been named to the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete Team as chosen by members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. As a team, Rochester has earned the NSCAA's prestigious Team Academic Award every year since 1999. Two Rochester players have earned Fulbright Scholarships in the past four years.

Gurnett will have an expanded role in athletic development as the University embarks on a major fund-raising campaign. "It is very exciting that athletics will be an integral part of the upcoming campaign and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to devote my energies to make it a success," Gurnett said. "We will be renovating our outdoor athletic complex, building our athletic endowments, and making our athletic annual fund even stronger."

"I am grateful that Terry wants to dedicate all of his time and energies to the continued growth of the Friends," said VanderZwaag. "His enormous contributions to our department through his coaching role with women's soccer can only be replaced by his continued efforts to make our overall program as strong as it possibly can be."

The University administration fully supports the change. "Terry Gurnett is peerless as a coach, having consistently nurtured his teams and kept women's soccer at the top for an astonishing 33 years," said Peter Lennie, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. "While doing this, he has been instrumental in establishing Friends of Rochester Athletics as a powerful force for strengthening all our programs. I'm delighted that Terry's immense talents will now be fully deployed in preparation for our campaign."

Gurnett and his coaching staff have been named the UAA's Coaching Staff of the Year five times. He was selected as the NSCAA Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2005 and the New York State Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

In 1991, the NCAA declared Gurnett as the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Coach of the Decade for the 1980s. The NCAA selected a coach in every division for every women's sport that season to celebrate the 10th anniversary of women's sports. Women's soccer was only five years old, but Gurnett was chosen based on his level of success. In 2010, Gurnett received a Letter of Commendation from the NSCAA at its annual convention in Philadelphia. It was awarded based on his longtime service to soccer, both on and off the field.

Gurnett is the National Chair of the NSCAA All-America Committee, a member of the Division III Ranking Committee, and a member of the ECAC Women's Soccer Tournament Selection Committee.

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