First home conference matches bring Nebraska, Iowa to Evanston
Stephanie Erickson, Northwestern's former all-time leader in goals and points, returned to her alma mater as head coach on July 3, 2006, and in 2008 ended her third season at the helm of the Wildcats.
With its first 10-win season since 2004 and fifth in program history, Northwestern continued its climb back to prominence under Erickson. NU has improved its win total in each year under the former Wildcat standout and finished the Big Ten regular season in a tie for fifth place with a 5-5 record after a preseason conference coaches' poll slotted the Wildcats 10th.
Erickson's second season at the helm of the Wildcats saw her improve her win total by one with a 9-7-4 record and a seventh-place finish in the Big Ten. Offensively, two Wildcats posted 20-point seasons in Kelsey Hans (10 g, 4 a) and Shannon Schneeman (9 g, 2 a). The 2007 season saw two of Erickson's NU offensive records fall as Hans passed her coach for first place in both goals and points as a Wildcat.
On the defensive end, the Wildcats saw a dramatic improvement from 2006. In Big Ten season alone, the Wildcats posted six shutouts including a streak of more than 388 minutes of shutout soccer. Two of NU's four ties were 0-0 games that went the full 110 minutes.
In her first season as head coach of the Wildcats, Erickson led the team to a record of 8-10-2. The team showed instant improvement under her command winning two more games in the Big Ten than in the previous season, and finishing seventh place in the conference. Kelsey Hans earned second team All-Big Ten honors, Leigh Jakes was named to the All-Freshman team and eight Wildcats were named Academic All-Big Ten.
A 1998 graduate of Northwestern, Erickson returned to Evanston after serving as the head coach at Harvard University in 2005 where she led the Crimson to an 8-5-3 record in her first season as a head coach. Erickson's squad led the Ivy League and ranked sixth nationally in goals-against average, allowing a total of just eight goals in 16 games and 11 shutouts, including a 1-0 victory over 20th-ranked Ohio State. Erickson mentored four players to all-Ivy League honors and three to NSCAA all-Northeast Regional all-America honors.
Prior to her arrival at Harvard, Erickson served as the top assistant at Northwestern in 2004, where she helped her alma mater reach the Big Ten Tournament after a three-year hiatus. The Wildcats finished in the top half of the Big Ten standings, won 10 games and finished with a winning record in conference play for the first time since 1998.
After beginning her coaching career at California in 1998, where she helped the Golden Bears to the Pac-10 title and an NCAA bid, Erickson went to Harvard as an assistant on the 1999 Crimson team which went 14-2-1 and was ranked as high as fifth in the nation at the end of the regular-season. The team captured three in-season tournament titles, its fourth Ivy title in five seasons and earned its first-ever seeding in the NCAA Tournament. She departed Harvard at the conclusion of the academic year for a position at Stanford, where she recruited three classes ranked in the top 10 nationally (2001, 2002, and 2003) and helped the Cardinal reach the NCAA Women's College Cup each season with a combined record of 60-21-5 in her four-year tenure.
In 2002, she served as the interim co-head coach, and helped guide the Cardinal to a No. 1 national ranking, a 21-2-0 record, a Pac-10 title and a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Stanford staff earned National Coach of the Year honors from Soccer America at the conclusion of the season.
Erickson was a four-year starting forward for the Wildcats and is the all-time leading scorer in school history with 29 goals and 73 points. She earned the Wildcats' Offensive Most Valuable Player honors in 1994, 1996 and 1997 and helped lead Northwestern to an NCAA Tournament bid in 1996 when she was named second-team all-Big Ten, second-team all-Great Lakes Region and captured the Big Ten scoring title. In addition, Erickson scored a pair of goals in a span of five seconds to set the NCAA record for fastest consecutive goals scored in a game.
Erickson graduated from Northwestern in 1998 with a bachelor of science in secondary education and Spanish. She was a three-time academic all-Big Ten selection and a member of the Dean's List from 1996-98.
She resides in Wilmette and has a daughter, 5-year-old Xiah.