Mike Babst joined the Northwestern men's soccer program in March, 2012. Babst comes to Northwestern with an extensive resume of coaching experience, spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach at South Carolina. Prior to his tenure at South Carolina, Babst worked three seasons at Duquesne University and also coached at Washington and Lee University.
"It's great to have Mike Babst on staff," Lenahan said. "We met about four years ago at a speed and agility seminar and he has worked our College Soccer Training Center the past few years. He really fits our model of having people with exceptional character on our staff. His playing experience at Boston College, along with successful coaching experience at Duquesne and South Carolina, can help him add some new ideas to our program as we look to continue and improve our recent success".
"I am extremely excited to start work at one of the best universities and soccer programs in the country," Babst said. "I look forward to working with coach Lenahan, the players and the rest of the Northwestern staff in contributing to the great success of the program."
In his first season with the Wildcats in 2012, Babst helped guide the team to its second Big Ten regular-season title in as many years and seventh NCAA Tournament appearance. He worked with the goalkeepers, including First-Team All-Big Ten honoree Tyler Miller, and Northwestern had one of the top defenses in the conference with 10 shutouts and a 0.82 goals-against average.
During Babst's time at South Carolina, the Gamecocks were the 2011 Conference USA regular season co-champions, won the 2010 Conference USA Tournament Championship and played in the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, finishing within the top-20 in RPI both years.
Babst worked primarily with the goalkeepers, including All-Conference USA honoree and MLS draftee Jimmy Maurer. Under Babst's direction, Maurer earned numerous awards in net for Carolina, including All-South Region First Team, Conference USA Freshman of the Year (2007) and numerous C-USA Defensive Player of the Week awards.
In addition, three other Gamecocks were selected in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft, as Sam Arthur (Chicago Fire), Blake Brettschneider (DC United) and Maurer (New York Red Bulls) were drafted following their senior seasons at Carolina.
Babst also placed an emphasis on academics and community service while at South Carolina. The 2010 squad won the NSCAA Academic Award for having the highest GPA of all Division I men's soccer programs (3.49) and 19 players from the 2011 squad were on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. This fits right in with the Northwestern squad that has won the NSCAA Team Academic Award 11-straight years and has an APR of 1,000. He is active in community service, helping raise approximately $10,000 in four years for the Children's Chance organization.
"Every player who has played soccer at Northwestern can tell you that our goal is to be the best college soccer experience in the nation," Lenahan said. "That includes three things: winning games, doing well academically and being great guys who serve the community. You can see that Mike's background with the success of the teams he's coached on the field, in the classroom and in the community, clearly supports this goal."
Babst spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Duquesne University, where the team won the Atlantic 10 regular season title in 2004 and was named co-champions in 2005. The 2005 squad reached a program-best ranking of 13th in the country.
His coaching career began as an assistant at Washington and Lee University where his squad advanced to the ODAC championship in 2003 and he helped secure one All-American in each recruiting class while he was there.
A 1999 graduate of Boston College, Babst played goalkeeper from 1996-99. He holds his NSCAA Advanced National License, along with level one and two goalkeeper certifications. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native owns a bachelor's degree in economics and marketing from Boston College (1999) and law degree from the University of Pittsburgh (2007).