Dec. 20, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern associate head coach Neil Jones has been named the new head men's soccer coach at Loyola University Chicago. Jones spent the last three years on head coach Tim Lenahan's staff at Northwestern, helping the team achieve back-to-back Big Ten titles and two NCAA tournament appearances.
"I'd like to thank Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Dr. Jim Phillips, Deputy Directors of Athletics Steve Green and Janna Blais, and head men's soccer coach Tim Lenahan for allowing me to work at a university, and for a program, that I can only describe as pure class," Jones said. "I am extremely proud and honored to have worked with such outstanding student-athletes on a day-to-day basis, and while I am sad to leave, I am excited about the next step in my career at Loyola University Chicago."
"I can't thank Neil enough for his contribution to Northwestern soccer," Lenahan said. "Not only have we experienced unprecedented success with two Big Ten regular season championships and a Big Ten Tournament title during his three years here, but his impact in developing our fan base and the marketing of the program to the Chicagoland community has been phenomenal. This is a great hire for Loyola University and I am sure that their players and administration there will soon learn what our players know - that coach Jones is passionate about developing a successful program on the field, successful student-athletes in the classroom and successful people in life. It's a big loss for us at Northwestern but I'm very happy for Neil."
The Auckland, New Zealand native, was promoted to associate head coach at Northwestern prior to the 2012 season following two years as assistant coach. In 2012, Jones and the Wildcats were co-Big Ten Champions, made the program's seventh NCAA appearance and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in school history.
This is the first head coaching position for Jones as he now becomes the ninth Northwestern assistant coach from Lenahan's staff to land a head coaching position. The others include former Wildcat assistant coaches Rich Nassif (Benedictine University), Andy Fleming (Xavier), Erik Ronning (Colgate), Justin Serpone (Amherst), Tom Carlin (Villanova), Mike Bonelli (Slippery Rock University), Roy Dunshee (Washington College) and Corbin Sutton (Shenandoah University). In total, Lenahan has helped start the careers of 15 head coaches including Dennis Bohn (Lafayette), Fernando Barboto (Iona) and Jim McGirr (Providence College women's soccer head coach) who are current Division I head coaches. Jeff Haines (Richard Stockton College), Erin Sullivan (Western New England) and Greg Ogden (Rutgers-Camden - retired) round out the list.
"As we have in the past, we will continue to identify top-level assistants who have the ability to be a successful head coach down the road," Lenahan said. "We will begin a national search over the next few weeks to find the right person and right fit for who can help continue to make Northwestern `Something Special'."
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