Aragon Takes Fifth National Coach of the Year Award
Pepe Aragon, the men's soccer coach at Herkimer County Community College, earned his fifth NSCAA/Mondo National Coach of the Year award with the presentation of the honors Friday evening, Jan. 13, at the annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America Awards Banquet, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Aragon led his team to a 17-0 record and the NJCAA Division III championship game this season. His fifth award is second only to legendary Indiana University men's coach Jerry Yeagley, who won the award six times.
Ray Wells (Lindsey Wilson College/NAIA men) picks up his fourth award after leading his team to an undefeated season and the program's ninth NAIA national championship. Four other coaches earned the award for the third time: Paul Ratcliffe (Stanford University/NCAA Division I women), Dr. Jay Martin (Ohio Wesleyan Unviersity/NCAA Division III men), Scott Frey (Messiah College/NCAA Division III women) and Matt Yelton (Lee University/NAIA women).
The awards were presented for both genders of play at the NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA and junior college collegiate levels, as well as three different divisions of interscholastic play. A Youth National Coach of the Year also was announced, as were Assistant Coaches of the Year at the senior college, junior college and high school levels. A complete list of winners, with brief biographies, follows.
Senior College National Coaches of the Year
NCAA Division I Men – Jeremy Gunn, Charlotte
Gunn led Charlotte’s 49ers to their first championship game in school history, falling to North Carolina in the NCAA title match. His team concluded the season with a 16-5-4 record, boosting his career mark to 64-26-14 in five seasons at Charlotte and 187-61-31 in 13 seasons as a head coach. This is Gunn’s second National Coach of the Year award, having earned the honor in 2005 after leading Fort Lewis College to the Division II national title.
NCAA Division I Women – Paul Ratcliffe, Stanford
Ratcliffe becomes the first Division I coach to win the national award three times in a four-year span after leading the Cardinal to its first NCAA title. During that span, Stanford has posted a record of 95-4-4, made four College Cup appearances and reached the national championship game each of the last three years. Ratcliffe received his prior awards in 2008 and 2009.
NCAA Division II Men – Oige Kennedy, Fort Lewis College
Kennedy receives his first national award after leading his team to its second national championship in his three-year tenure. His team suffered only one loss in 25 games while outscoring its opponents by a 61-11 margin. As an interim coach in 2009 he became the first to win an NCAA men’s soccer title in his first year as a collegiate coach. He is 58-6-4 in three seasons at Fort Lewis.
NCAA Division II Women – Laurie Darling Gutheil, College of Saint Rose
Gutheil claims her second National Coach of the Year award in the past three seasons, having won the honor in 2009. In 2011 she led the Golden Knights to the NCAA championship with a record of 24-1-1. She now has a career record of 237-79-18 in 16 seasons at Saint Rose.
NCAA Division III Men – Dr. Jay Martin, Ohio Wesleyan University
Martin’s third National Coach of the Year award caps a fairy-tale ending to the 2011 season. Not only did his Bishops win their second NCAA national title, but with the victory in the championship game gave Martin his 608th career win. That broke the record for career wins by an NCAA men’s coach, previously held by Joe Bean of Wheaton College. Martin is now 608-115-49 in 35 seasons, all as coach at Ohio Wesleyan.
NCAA Division III Women – Scott Frey, Messiah College
Frey receives his third National Coach of the Year award after being recognized in 2005 and 2009. This year his team claimed its fourth NCAA championship in the last six years, including three of the last four. Messiah had a 23-0-1 record and this year’s senior class suffered only one loss in the past four seasons, in the 2010 NCAA championship game. Frey has a career record of 252-13-12 in 12 seasons at Messiah.
NAIA Men – Ray Wells, Lindsey Wilson College
In 2011 Wells and his Blue Raiders were undefeated in 23 games and claimed their ninth NAIA national championship. This is the fourth time Wells has earned NSCAA National Coach of the Year honors, a record for NAIA men’s play. He started the Lindsey Wilson program in 1990 and has a career coaching record of 496-103-32 in 28 seasons, including a 435-79-25 record in 23 years of coaching at a four-year institution.
NAIA Women – Matt Yelton, Lee University
Yelton led his Lady Flames to an unprecedented fourth consecutive NAIA women’s national championship. He receives his third NSCAA National Coach of the Year award in four years, ranking him behind the four awards won by Westmont’s Mike Giuliano. In the past four seasons, Yelton’s teams have posted a record of 90-7-3. He has a record of 202-33-6 in 11 seasons at Lee and 256-73-11 overall.
NCCAA Division I Men – Ryan A. Jorden, California Baptist University
In their inaugural season in the PacWest Conference and the NCCAA, Jorden’s Lancers won their first championships in both organizations. Their 17-5-1 record was the best ever by the program, improving Jorden’s career record to 44-25-8 in four seasons at the helm. Three of his players were named NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Americas.
NCCAA Division I Women – Kristen St. Clair, California Baptist University
St. Clair led her Lancers to a record of 18-2-1, the best season in the program’s history, and its first NCCAA national championship. They also won the PacWest championship in their first season in the conference, and three players earned NSCAA/Continental Tire All-America honors. St. Clair has a record of 79-23-7 in five seasons at the helm of the Lancers program.
NCCAA Division II Men – Joe Harding, Moody Bible Institute
Harding guided his team to a record of 17-2-1 and the NCCAA Division II national championship this season. He now has a career record of 280-220-30 in 29 seasons at three different schools. The award is his fifth NCCAA national honor, adding to his collection of 18 NCCAA or NAIA district or national honors.
NCCAA Division II Women – Ken Craul, Lancaster Bible College
Craul’s team rewrote the school record book, outscoring their opponents 73-16 and posting an 18-2-1 record. They claimed the North Eastern Athletic Conference championship and won the NCCAA East Region title for the first time, and also qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament. Craul has a record of 35-24-3 in three seasons at Lancaster Bible.
Junior College National Coaches of the Year
Men’s Division I – Marcus DiBernardo, Monroe College
DiBernardo led his team to the NJCAA championship game and a No. 1 ranking in the final NSCAA/Continental Tire national poll. The Mustangs posted a 14-2-1 record while allowing only 10 goals all season, four of which came in the national championship game, while scoring 60 goals of their own. In the past two seasons, DiBernardo has fashioned a record of 33-4-1.
Men’s Division III – Pepe Aragon, Herkimer County Community College
Aragon collects his fifth NSCAA National Coach of the Year award, which ranks second only to legendary Indiana University coach Jerry Yeagley among collegiate coaches. This fall his team had a record of 17-1, avenging its lone regular-season loss against Genesee in the NJCAA championship game to claim the school’s fifth national title. Aragon’s career record at Herkimer now stands at 260-24-13 in 14 seasons.
Women’s Division I – Corey Rose, Tyler Junior College
Rose guided his team to a 24-0 record and its second NJCAA national championship in three years. In the four years of his program’s existence, the Apaches have a record of 72-4-2, three appearances in the NJCAA championship game and two undefeated seasons. The award is Rose’s second in three years after receiving the honor in 2009.
Women’s Division III – Kelly Wakeman, Montgomery College-Rockville
Wakeman’s Knights posted a record of 17-3 on the way to the NJCAA Division III national championship. Along the way they scored 65 goals while allowing only 16. In five seasons at the helm, Wakeman has a career record of 69-22-1 and was either the Region XX champion or runner-up each of her first four years.
High School National Coaches of the Year
Boys Division I – Bobby Bribiesca, Wichita Northwest High School (Kan.)
Bribiesca guided his team to an unblemished 21-0 record, relying on a defense that allowed only seven goals all season. Ranked fifth in the final NSCAA national poll, Northwest outscored its opponents 23-3 in the state playoffs, giving the school its second Kansas state title and its first since 1995. It became only the third school outside the Kansas City metro area to win a boys state title, regardless of class.
Boys Division II – Jedd Zaring, Jefferson Forest High School (Va.)
Zaring’s squad captured its first Virginia AA state championship in 2011 with a record of 24-0. It was the team’s sixth appearance in the title game, and they were ranked No. 1 in the final NSCAA spring national ranking. Under his direction Jefferson Forest has won 19 consecutive district titles. He now has a career record of 312-49-14.
Boys Private-Parochial – Steven J. Lawrence, Marquette University High School (Wis.)
Lawrence and his Hilltoppers successfully defended their Wisconsin Division I state title with a record of 24-0-1. In addition to dominating their in-state opponents, Marquette successfully navigated a schedule that featured some of the top teams from California, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois, earning a ranking of No. 4 in the final NSCAA national poll.
Girls Division I – Frank Dixon, Carmel High School (Ind.)
Dixon won a record ninth Indiana girls state championship as his team closed the season with a 22-0-1 record and a share of the No. 1 ranking in the final NSCAA poll. After winning eight of the first 11 girls state titles, including five in a row, in 2011 Carmel returned to the state final for the first time in seven years to reclaim the crown. This is Dixon’s second national award, having received the honor in 2002.
Girls Division II – Kevin Fraser, Exeter-West Greenwich High School (R.I.)
Fraser led his team to a record of 21-0 and a successful defense of their Division II championship. They did it on the strength of a defense that allowed only nine goals all season. They also were productive on the offensive end, finding the net 107 times, an average of five goals per game.
Girls Private-Parochial – Ben Timson, Springfield Catholic High School (Mo.)
Timson’s team posted a 23-4 record on the way to its second consecutive Missouri Class 1 state championship. In the past two seasons the team has a combined record of 44-9-1 and has reached the state semifinals each of the past three years.
Youth National Coach of the Year
James Obleda, Fullerton (Calif.) Rangers
In 2011, Obleda’s 1996 Rangers Boys team captured the championship at the prestigious Dallas Cup, the Region IV title and the USYS National Championship last summer. Two of his players were presented the Golden Ball and Golden Gloves awards. A coach and director of player development for the Fullerton Rangers Youth Soccer Club since 2003, his players have earned positions on the USYS Youth National, Regional and State ODP teams.
National Assistant Coaches of the Year
Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Senior College – Jeff Negalha, North Carolina
Since Negalha joined the Tar Heels men’s program seven years ago, North Carolina has compiled a 103-34-23 record, appeared in six NCAA tournaments and won the 2011 national title. He has played a key role in assembling six consecutive recruiting classes ranked among the best in the nation, including the No. 1 class of 2011. He also has been an assistant at South Florida and his alma mater, South Carolina-Spartanburg, and was successful in attracting talented recruiting classes to both programs.
Junior College – Wendy Louque, Johnson County Community College
Louque has been the assistant for the Johnson County women’s program for 10 years. In that time the team has a 159-44-10 record, won five Region VI titles and appeared in the NJCAA Division I championship game. Her recruits have earned all-conference honors 51 times, seven were NJCAA All-Americans and three were NSCAA All-Americas. She has been active at various levels of the soccer community for 28 years, including work with Athletes in Action and Ultimate Goals Ministry. She also donated a kidney to her husband 10 years ago and has three children, including a four-year-old who was born with Dandy Walker syndrome.
High School – Kyle Heise, Brookland-Cayce High School (S.C.)
In the 21 years that Heise has been an assistant at Brookland-Cayce High School, he has done it all, from coaching on the field to match day operations to equipment manager. The team has been successful, with a 350-149-16 record in that time and two state championships to go with 10 region titles. He also is deeply involved throughout the state as the creator and manager of SCSoccer.com, a website dedicated to high school soccer. He also sponsors a financial scholarship for graduating players in the memory of his infant daughter, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2009.