Published Sat, Dec 22, 2012 1:48 pm Dateline
Ohio Women’s Soccer Announced Saturday that Aaron Rodgers will be the third head coach in program history.
“We went through a comprehensive national search and had a tremendous pool of candidates, and Aaron emerged due to many factors,” said Ohio Athletic Director Jim Schauss. “He is extremely enthusiastic and infectious. The people we talked to talked about his characteristics as hard-working, creative, innovative.”
Rodgers replaces former Ohio Soccer head coach Stacy Strauss, who compiled a 108-122-22 record in 13 seasons.
“I am extremely excited to be at such a wonderful university with a great history and tradition, and also a wonderful athletic department that has had such great success over the years,” said Rodgers in his introductory press conference. “Being in four bowl games over the last four years is a wonderful accomplishment. Being in the Sweet 16 of the basketball tournament for the men last year was fantastic, so I hope that I’m able to bring that same wonderful experience here to the women’s soccer program.”
Rodgers accepted the position after serving four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky. While a member of the Wildcats’ staff, Rodgers led Kentucky to a 42-31-9 record. In Rodgers’ last two seasons at Kentucky, the Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament.
“At Kentucky Jon Lipsitz is a fantastic mentor to have as a head coach because he allows his assistants to take part in every bit of running a program,” said Rodgers.
Prior to Kentucky, Rodgers served as a volunteer goalkeeper coach at the University of Florida in 2008. During that season, the Gators won the SEC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a 19-4-1 record.
Rodgers brings over 15 years of coaching experience and a specialization in goalkeeper play to Ohio. The goalkeeper position is arguably the strongest position for the Bobcats as three-year starter Mattie Liston returns for her senior season. Liston became Ohio’s all-time saves leader (296) last season in the Bobcats’ MAC Quarterfinal loss to Miami.
“Obviously in a sport like soccer where the scoring is usually minimal, we want to keep clean sheets,” said Rodgers. “And I know that there is a very strong returning goalkeeper that will help us to keep clean sheets.”
Rodgers insisted that one of his primary goals is to bring the best athletes in Ohio to play soccer at Ohio University. Through his marriage, he has ties to Ohio, as his wife, Mandi, grew up in the state and went to college at the University of Cincinnati.
“In collegiate athletics recruiting is a massive part of the game,” said Rodgers. “So getting out on the road and really grinding it out and working hard to get the right young ladies to come and play at Ohio is going to be the most important thing. I could be the best coach in the world, but if we don't get the right athletes we won't be successful, so recuiting is number one.”
Rodgers earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Texas in 1996. He and his wife have a son, Luke, and a daughter, Reese.