Aug. 31, 2005
What about Ohio State made you most attracted to the university when you decided to come here?
I had lived in Columbus and had attended Ohio State. I loved the area, and really enjoyed the University. When the opportunity to become the head soccer coach at Ohio State arose eight years ago, I was immediately interested. I thought Ohio State had the potential to be soccer power and that it would give me a platform to build a national championship caliber program.
What one person had the biggest impact on the coaching style that you have today?
I’m going to cheat and say two. One would be Steve Parker who was the head coach at the University of Akron in 1983. That was my first year as an assistant coach at the college level. I still administer my program the way he ran his. I learned so much from him in the 8 months I was there. The other guy was my college coach, Timo Lieokowski. He was my coach my junior and senior year at Hartwick College. He’s one of the greatest coaches in the United States. I learned a tremendous amount about coaching from him, and learned even more about motivation, and dealing with players, and helping players prepare for games. I would say both of those two guys had equal influence on my coaching.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
We are optimistic about the 2005 season because we are coming off a year where we had a very successful end to the season. Our team was playing as good as anybody in the country. So this year’s goals are that we want to do very well in the conference, and attempt to move farther in the conference tournament, at least reach the conference semi-finals. And to make the NCAA tournament field again, and try to have a great run.
What is the biggest change you noticed between Fresno State and Ohio State?
Well the financial support at Ohio State University is so much greater than Fresno State. Here at Ohio State University we are a very well funded program and that gives a coach a chance at the University to be successful. There are no excuses; you’ve got everything you need to have a great program. A great university, great facilities, and a great coaching staff that works with me.
Soccer has really grown in popularity in Columbus with the Crew and youth soccer leagues. What is it like coaching in a city that cares about soccer so much?
The youth soccer in this area is tremendous. I think that’s reflected in our roster which over the past few years has shown more and more Ohio players on it. The youth soccer leagues are very well organized and administrated, and there’s good coaching in the area at the youth level. The Crew gives us a tremendous advantage as a college program. It’s great to have a professional league here in town so everyone can go see soccer at the highest level in the United States.
If you could pick one player in his prime, not named Pele, to start a team with, who would you pick?
Franz Beckenbauer of Germany. He is still to this day very heavily involved in FIFA, and has coached the German national team. He has given quite a bit to the game. He was always the cornerstone of his team. He turned the position of sweeper into an attacking position which was revolutionary.
Other than soccer, what is your favorite sport to watch?
College basketball. I’m a big college basketball fan. I grew up in Syracuse, New York, and I remember going to basketball camp in high school and getting to work with Jim Boeheim, who was on the staff at that time. I try to get to as many Ohio State basketball games as I can.
What is the one thing that surprised you the most when you got to Ohio State?
It didn’t dawn on me when I was a student, the enormous size and scope of the athletic department. Working here I’ve realized what an incredible undertaking it is for everybody that works within the department
What is your greatest memory as a player?
My three years of playing varsity soccer at Hartwick College. When I was a senior, Hartwick made it to the Final Four, and that was a great way to go out.
What is your greatest memory as a coach?
Winning the 2000 Big Ten championship. We won three games in a row, all against teams that we had lost to earlier on in the year. We won the championship game in sudden death and the celebration on our home field was fantastic.