Sports

Gwilliam fourth head coach to depart

Women’s soccer coach leaves to take position at Colorado College.

After two seasons as the women’s soccer head coach, Matt Gwilliam will not return for a third season in 2013. Gwilliam left to join Colorado College as an assistant under head coach Geoff Bennett, making him the fourth head coach at Temple to resign in the past year.

Despite the fact that the Owls are set to join the newly named American Athletic Conference in 2013, multiple coaches have recently bolted in search of better opportunities.

The university hired Adam Bray in September to coach the cross-country teams and the distance runners on the track & field teams after Matt Jelley left to take a job at Maryland in August 2012. But in December, Bray resigned his dual position after being offered a full-time assistant coaching position at Pittsburgh. Track & field coach Eric Mobley claims that Bray was only at Temple “part time.”

Earlier in December, former football coach Steve Addazio left Temple to become the head coach at Boston College.

Following the news of Gwilliam’s departure, players on the women’s soccer team said they were stunned. When the Owls found out, they were expecting to go to a leadership activity, but instead heard that Gwilliam had accepted a job elsewhere.

“Obviously I was just sad and shocked at the same time,” senior defender Karly O’Toole said. “It all happened so quickly and I am still in shock. I am happy for him at the same time.”

“I think for me and my teammates originally, we were just taken back by the news,” freshman goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff said. “We never thought we were going to get that kind of news. We all kind of dealt with it in our own ways, but eventually, you have got to accept it.”

In two seasons with the Owls, Gwilliam compiled a 10-24-4 record. The Owls were 7-6-3 at home and 3-17-1 on the road with Gwilliam as head coach. Temple also added a 4-12-2 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference, finishing 12th in the A-10 in 2011 and 14th in 2012.

Gwilliam left for family reasons, O’Toole said. Gwilliam has a wife, Krista, and two sons, Benjamin and Jackson.

Prior to joining Temple, Gwilliam spent three seasons as Virginia Tech’s assistant women’s soccer coach, where he helped lead the Hokies to three-straight NCAA tournament berths and a visit to the Sweet 16 in 2009.

At Virginia Tech, Gwilliam was primarily in charge of coaching the goalkeepers and defenders on a team that set and tied a school record for shutouts in 2008 and 2009.

With three goalkeepers on his team in 2012, Gwilliam made a large impact on Kerkhoff, who started nine matches for the Owls and played in 11 matches total. Kerkhoff recorded 63 saves to produce an 89 percent save percentage and notched four shutouts in her freshman campaign.

“[Gwilliam] was a tough individual and he made me a tougher person as well,” Kerkhoff said.

As a defensive-minded coach, Gwilliam’s Owls allowed 22 goals in 2012, averaging 1.10 goals per game. The offense recorded 10 goals on the season, averaging .50 goals per contest.

Before joining the Hokies, Gwilliam began his coaching career at Citadel, the same school at which he earned a master’s in education in 2004. Gwilliam was in charge of the goalkeepers and defenders during his time at Citadel and served as the team’s interim head coach in Spring 2005.

In 2012, Gwilliam brought in 15 freshmen, the most in Division I. Notable freshmen included Kerkhoff and Erin Lafferty, who were tabbed to the A-10 All-Rookie Team in their first seasons.

For the upcoming 2013 fall season, Gwilliam recruited 10 freshmen to join a young Temple team. Five midfielders, two forwards, two goalkeepers and one defender made up Gwilliam’s recruiting class.

Gwilliam will be joining a Colorado College team that finished 14-4-5 (8-2-1 in conference) in 2012. Last season, the Tigers fell 3-1 in the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship to the University of Denver.

According to a story on the Colorado College website, Gwilliam said, “I want to thank Ken Ralph, Geoff Bennett, and the entire search committee for affording me this opportunity. We are very excited to be joining the Colorado College family and looking forward to bringing continued success to the program.”

Gwilliam did not return multiple phone calls requesting comment for this story.

With a vacancy available at the coaching position, the Owls will now search for their third coach in four seasons.

“I’m not sure how they will decide on who will be our next coach, but I know Temple is doing a nationwide search,” Kerkhoff said. “Right now, we are just waiting it out.”

While coach Gwilliam was known as a tough individual, he will be missed by his players as he brought a new attitude to the women’s soccer team.

“Overall I thought he was not only a great coach, but also a great mentor,” O’Toole said. “He brought honesty and dedication to this program during his time here and instilled in us a winning attitude. Unfortunately, he won’t be here to help us continue that attitude, but we appreciate the time that he did spend here.”

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or on Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

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