2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year 2004, 2011 NSCAA/Mondo Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year Winningest Coach in NU Men's Soccer History 2011 Big Ten Regular-Season Champions 2011 Big Ten Tournament Champions 2012 Big Ten Regular-Season Champions Eight NCAA Tournament Appearances
When Tim Lenahan was hired at Northwestern prior to the 2001 season, he had already displayed a keen ability to build programs--first at his alma mater, Richard Stockton College, then at Lafayette College.
And after 13 seasons in Evanston and eight NCAA tournament appearances in the past 10 years, not only has the reputation been cemented, Lenahan has proven himself to be one of the premier college coaches in the game today.
Lenahan inherited a Wildcat program that went winless in 2000. However, in the 13 years since then, the Northwestern program has made itself into a force to be reckoned with both in the Big Ten and nationally.
Over the past 10 seasons, Lenahan's Wildcats have amassed 118 victories, including a school-record 15 wins in 2004 and again in 2008. Coach Lenahan also has coached players who have go on to the professional ranks such as Dave Roth (New York Red Bulls, 2008), Brad North (DC United, 2007), Brad Napper (FC Dallas 2006), JD Martin (Chicago Fire, 2003) and Chris Ritter (Chicago Fire, 2014). On June 1, 2014, Ritter made Northwestern history as he started and played all 90 minutes in the Chicago Fire's match against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Ritter became NU's first alum to play in an MLS game. In addition, Wildcats all-time leading scorer Matt Eliason continued his pro career playing for Throttur FC in Iceland.
Northwestern reached the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in 10 years in 2013, with the 'Cats posting a Big Ten-leading 11 year streak having amassed a winning record. During the offseason, Lenahan's 2014 recruting class was ranked in the Top 10 by College Soccer News.
In 2012, Lenahan's Wildcats made a remarkable run in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the third round for the fourth time in program history. Northwestern hosted Western Illinois in its first-round game and recorded a 1-0 shutout to meet No. 7 seed Marquette on their home pitch. Once again, the Wildcats used dominating defense to record their 10th shutout of the season to advance to the third round with a 1-0 upset over the Golden Eagles.
Northwestern earned its second Big Ten regular-season title in as many years, posting a 3-1-2 mark in conference to share the crown with Penn State. The Wildcats were well-represented in conference honors as forward Joey Calistri, a Deerfield, Ill., native, was the unanimous choice for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Chris Ritter earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year accolades as both, along with defender Nikko Boxall and goalkeeper Tyler Miller earned First-Team All-Big Ten accolades. Defender Jarrett Baughman received second-team honors, giving NU a record-tying five players on the All-Big Ten teams.
The 2011 season was a banner year for Lenahan's Wildcats as the team won the double Big Ten Championship (the regular season and tournament titles) for the first time in school history, went unbeaten in conference play (4-0-2) and rattled off an 11-match unbeaten streak, the second-longest streak of its kind in program history. Lenahan was honored as the Big Ten Coach of the Year, another program first, and coached five all-conference honorees (tied a program best). Unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection Oliver Kupe was drafted by Real Salt Lake in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. With Northwestern's 2-1 win over Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, Lenahan became the all-time winningest coach in NU history with 111 wins. He also was named the NSCAA/Mondo Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year, the third regional coaching honor of his career.
In 2010, Lenahan picked up his 100th win at Northwestern in dramatic fashion on Oct. 23 as Jack Hillgard's overtime goal from approximately 80 yards away gave NU a 4-3 victory at Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Matt Eliason completed his stellar career as the school's all-time leader in goals (33) and points (82).
In 2009, Northwestern reached the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year and the senior class left as the winningest class in school history, amassing 52 victories in their four seasons. The Wildcats earned the No. 9 national seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA tourney before defeating Notre Dame in the second round for the second straight year. Defender Mark Blades became the first player in program history to earn multiple All-America honors by virtue of his second-team selection of the NSCAA (3rd team, 2008). It marked the team's third All-American in as many years and in school history.
In 2008, Northwestern earned its highest national ranking ever, rising as high as No. 2 in the national polls. The team got off to its best start to a season in program history, going 11-0-2 through 13 matches. Displaying a dominant defense, the Wildcats posted a school-record seven consecutive shutouts and held its foes scoreless over an incredible 805 minutes and 30 seconds of action. NU notched a program-record 13 shutouts overall in 2008 behind goalkeeper Misha Rosenthal and ranked sixth in the nation with a 0.55 goals-against average.
The 'Cats would go on to earn yet another NCAA tournament appearance, downing Loyola (Chicago) in penalty kicks before scoring a come-from-behind victory at 12th-seeded Notre Dame and then returning home to defeat Akron, the No. 5 seed. The win over the Zips earned Northwestern its second berth in the NCAA quarterfinals in the last three years, joining Wake Forest and Notre Dame as the only three schools to accomplish the feat. The team's final ranking of No. 7 was its best in program history and marked the NU's second top-10 finish in three years (No. 8 in 2006).
The 2007 season saw the Wildcats win their first eight contests and 10 of their first 11. Along the way, the Wildcats made their Big Ten Network debut a memorable one as they convincingly disposed of eventual national runner-up Ohio State 4-0 on the Buckeyes' home field.
The 'Cats made a return trip to the NCAA tournament, picking up a program-best No. 9 national seed and a first-round bye. Despite falling to UIC, which went on to advance to the national quarterfinals, Northwestern finished with the ninth-best RPI in the country.
Under Lenahan's tutelage, David Roth completed his Wildcat career in 2007 as the school's career leader with 32 assists while ranking third with 70 total points. As a senior he earned his second-straight first-team All-Big Ten accolades by virtue of being a unanimous selection. He was also honored as the program's first All-American, being named to the NSCAA's second team. Roth became the second Northwestern player in three years to be selected in the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft as he was a fourth-round pick (44th overall) of the New York Red Bulls.
In all, a school-record five Wildcats were named All-Big Ten selections in 2007. In addition to Roth, Carl Pett was also a first-team pick, while Blades, Rosenthal and Piero Bellizzi were each named to the second team. Bellizzi also became the second NU player under Lenahan to be recognized as Big Ten Freshman of the Year (Gerardo Alvarez, 2003). Pett, Roth, Blades and Bellizzi were each NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region picks.
In the off-season, Lenahan earned the honor of being named to coach one of the four teams at the 2008 adidas MLS Player Combine where he tutored the nation's top collegiate players.
The 2006 campaign was one that signaled NU's arrival on the national scene. Lenahan led the Wildcats to 14 victories, including some big regular-season victories over Hofstra, UC Irvine, Michigan, Northern Illinois and Ohio State. Northwestern defeated Cincinnati, Saint Louis and UNC Greensboro in the first three rounds prior to falling to the eventual national champion UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA quarterfinals by one goal, just one win away from the NCAA College Cup.
Some well-deserved hardware followed after the season. Roth was named to the 2006 Soccer America Men's College MVP team--the equivalent of a first team All-America honor--and Blades was named to the freshman All-America team by College Soccer News. Brad North and Roth were named to the All-Big Ten first team while Pett was named to the second team. Pett also joined Blades on the all-freshman team. North went on to become the first Wildcat to be drafted in the MLS SuperDraft as he was selected 24th overall by D.C. United.
Lenahan's Wildcats had a solid year in 2005, turning in a 9-7-2 overall record, with five of those seven defeats coming by just one goal. Northwestern started the season off on the right note, winning four of its first six matches and took eighth-ranked Indiana to a 1-1 tie. Brad Napper and North both were named first-team All-Big Ten, while Roth was named to the second team.
Napper ended his career in 2005 as the inaugural two-time first team All-Big Ten player in program history and was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He became the first Northwestern player to be drafted into the MLS, selected by FC Dallas in the second round of the 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft.
In 2004, Northwestern rocketed onto the national scene to complete one of college soccer's most remarkable turnarounds. Lenahan led NU to a 15-6-2 record, a run to the Big Ten tournament championship match and the second round of the school's first-ever NCAA tournament. NU's third-place finish in the Big Ten was the school's highest. The 'Cats ended up atop the league in goals, assists and total points scored.
The 15 wins included victories at then-No. 3 and eventual national champion Indiana as well as over then-No. 12 Penn State. The triumphs were the first-ever against those schools for Northwestern, while the win at IU snapped the Hoosiers' three-year, 31-game home winning streak and nine-year, 50-match regular season conference winning streak.
For his efforts, Lenahan was named the NSCAA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year, his second Regional Coach of the Year honor. He also landed sophomore Gerardo Alvarez (first team) and Napper (third team) on the All-Region squad--NU's first such accolades in program history. Napper also became just the second Wildcat to be named first-team All-Big Ten.
Northwestern brought itself one step closer to its NCAA tournament goal in 2003. Armed with another solid recruiting class that scored 17 of the Wildcats' 26 goals, Lenahan's team finished with a 7-7-6 mark. It was the first .500 season by a Northwestern men's soccer team since 1988. After three consecutive 0-6 conference campaigns, the 'Cats earned three ties during the regular season before knocking off nationally ranked Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Wolverines would go on to make it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
In 2002, with his first full recruiting class, Lenahan brought in 13 freshmen and a senior transfer. Seven of the first-year players became regular starters immediately, and senior transfer J.D. Martin was a mainstay in goal. The freshman class tallied 37 of NU's 51 total points, while Martin established a single-season school record with seven shutouts en route to garnering second-team All-Big Ten honors.
In addition to their success on the field, Lenahan's teams have also excelled in the classroom. In the past four years, Wildcat student-athletes have accumulated an amazing 63 Academic All-Big Ten distinctions, while Drew Ratner and Pett were both named ESPN the Magazine Second-Team Academic All-Americans in 2008. The program has also been recognized by the NCAA the past three years for being among the top 10 percent of men's soccer programs in the country in multi-year Academic Progress Report (APR) scores.
Lenahan came to Evanston from Lafayette College, where he solidified his reputation as a builder of programs. In just three seasons, his teams won two Patriot League regular season titles and two postseason crowns, and made a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.
In his first season at Lafayette, Lenahan led the Leopards from the depths of a 4-12 season in 1997--the season before his arrival--to a 16-5 overall mark and both the Patriot League regular-season and postseason tournament titles. The `Pards capped, at the time, the third-best turnaround in NCAA history with a berth into the NCAA tournament where they faced No. 1 ranked Clemson. For his team's performance, Lenahan was voted by his peers as the Patriot League Coach of the Year and NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year, and was a finalist for NSCAA National Coach of the Year.
In 1999, Lafayette was one of three teams in the nation to repeat as conference champions as the fourth-seeded Leopards captured the Patriot League Tournament. That again qualified them for NCAA play, where they fell to No. 17 UMBC. Lenahan still remains the only coach in Patriot League history to win two-straight championships.
The 2000 season saw the Leopards--despite the graduation of eight starters--capture yet another Patriot League regular-season championship and come within a whisker of another NCAA bid, as they lost the Patriot League Tournament final on penalty kicks.
Prior to his tenure at Lafayette, Lenahan was the head coach from 1990-97 at his alma mater, Richard Stockton College in Pomona, N.J., where he had been an All-NJAC defender. He inherited a team that was 2-15 the season prior to his arrival, but developed the Ospreys into a national power and led them to four appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament in eight years. Lenahan was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference's Coach of the Year in 1990, 1993 and 1996.
Lenahan also holds the distinction of coaching the only American college player in history to win a UEFA Champions League title in Europe. Following Lenahan's work with the Saudi Arabia team during the 1994 World Cup in the United States, the Saudi coach sent his son, Argentinian Santiago Solari, to Stockton to play for Lenahan.
A Dean's List student in college, Lenahan is a 1983 graduate of Richard Stockton with a bachelor of science degree in computer science. He completed his master's degree in human services with a specialization in sports administration at Rider University in 1992, and also did doctoral work in sports psychology at Temple University.
Lenahan holds an A license from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and a Premier license from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).