Theresa Romagnolo, who spent the past three seasons as head coach at Dartmouth following successful stints as an assistant coach at Stanford and San Diego, was named head women's soccer coach at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday. (photo courtesy Stanford University)
March 19, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -Theresa Romagnolo, head women's soccer coach at Dartmouth College for the past three seasons following highly-successful stints as an assistant coach at Stanford University and the University of San Diego, has been named head women's soccer coach at the University of Notre Dame, vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick announced Wednesday.
Romagnolo (pronounced tuh-RAY-suh roh-muh-KNOW-loh) is the fourth head coach in the 27-year history of the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, and she takes the reins from Randy Waldrum, who stepped down in January following 15 seasons to become head coach of the Houston Dash in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).
"We are thrilled to have Theresa join the Notre Dame family," Swarbrick said. "She brings with her a demonstrated commitment to educational and competitive excellence - the values that have been at the core of our women's soccer program's two decades of success. Because she does, I have no doubt that Theresa will help our program to achieve even greater success in the years to come."
"I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead the University of Notre Dame women's soccer program," Romagnolo said. "I'd like to thank (University President) Father (John) Jenkins, Jack Swarbrick and (senior associate athletic director/women's soccer administrator) Mike Harrity for their confidence in me as I embark on this incredible opportunity.
"Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world with a rich tradition of soccer excellence," she continued. "I look forward to building upon the legacy that (former head coaches) Chris (Petrucelli) and Randy (Waldrum) have created and continuing to compete for national championships."
Romagnolo takes over a Notre Dame women's soccer program that is expected to have seven starters and 23 players returning next season, following a 13-8-1 record and a run to the third round of the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish, who were ranked 14th in the final NSCAA poll and 19th in the final Soccer America poll, also will welcome a highly-talented 11-player incoming freshman class that has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer.
Romagnolo comes to Notre Dame following a superb three-year run at Dartmouth that saw her guide the Hanover, N.H., school to 25 wins, including a 13-4 record in 2012, barely missing the program's first NCAA Championship berth since 2005, while posting the most victories by a Big Green squad since 2000, as well as the second-best winning percentage (.765) and third-most wins in one season in program history. In addition, she led Dartmouth to a pair of upper-division Ivy League finishes in her three seasons, including a 6-1 record and second-place showing in 2012, with the team's six league wins matching the best by any Big Green squad in the previous two decades.
Romagnolo also cultivated a strong reputation for player development while at Dartmouth, coaching 16 All-Ivy selections, as well as four National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) all-region choices, the first for the program since 2009. What's more, she tutored the Big Green's first outright Ivy League Freshman of the Year in 20 years (Corey Delaney), worked with two-time Capital One first-team academic all-district pick and three-time Academic All-Ivy honoree Emma Brush, and coached Aurelia Solomon, Dartmouth's first NSCAA Scholar All-American since 2008. In addition, the Big Green earned the program's ninth NSCAA Team Academic Award during her first season in Hanover.
Prior to her arrival at Dartmouth, Romagnolo was widely recognized as one of the nation's premier assistant coaches during her three-year tenure (2008-10) at Stanford under head coach Paul Ratcliffe. While in Palo Alto, Romagnolo (who also served as the program's volunteer assistant in 2002) helped the Cardinal to a 70-4-3 record, including three trips to the NCAA Women's College Cup and two berths in the NCAA national championship game (2009 and 2010). Stanford also won two Pac-10 Conference (now Pac-12) championships (plus a third with a 22-1-1 record during her 2002 volunteer assistant season) and produced a team grade-point average of 3.45 in 2010.
In addition, Romagnolo worked closely with Stanford's national recruiting efforts during her tenure, helping to bring numerous award-winning standouts to The Farm, including Camille Levin, Mariah Nogueira, Emily Oliver, Rachel Quon, Lindsay Taylor and Courtney Verloo, and coaching several other notable All-Americans, including three consecutive Hermann Trophy recipients in current U.S. Women's National Team players Kelley O'Hara (2009) and Christen Press (2010), and current Mexico National Team member Teresa Noyola (2011 - won Hermann Trophy season after Romagnolo departed), many of whom formed the foundation for Stanford's 2011 NCAA national championship team and are now competing in the NWSL.
Romagnolo came to Stanford after thriving in a five-year stint (2003-07) as the top assistant coach at San Diego, where she helped the Toreros to three NCAA Championship appearances, including a 15-3-3 record and No. 9 national ranking during her final season (2007). She also helped develop some of USD's top young talent including All-American and current U.S. Women's National Team player Leigh Ann Robinson and West Coast Conference Defender of the Year Brittany Cameron, and was instrumental in the recruitment of future Toreros' All-American and U.S. Under-23 National Team player Stephanie Ochs (Robinson, Cameron and Ochs all are now playing in the NWSL).
In addition to her work at the college level, Romagnolo spent time as head coach for the 1994-95 age group of the Cal North Olympic Development Program (ODP) in 2010. While in San Diego, she also was the head coach for both the San Diego Surf and Rancho Santa Fe soccer clubs, working closely with the U17 and U13 squads.
Before embarking on her coaching career, Romagnolo was a standout midfielder at the University of Washington from 1997-2000. Under her maiden name of Theresa Wagner, she was a four-time all-Pac-10 selection and was instrumental in the Huskies' first Pac-10 title and first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2000. UW also made three NCAA Championship appearances in her four seasons during Romagnolo's career, a tenure that also saw her earn NSCAA Scholar All-America and SoccerBuzz All-America honors, as well as a trio of Pac-10 All-Academic Team citations.
What's more, Romagnolo remains among the top five on numerous UW career statistical charts, including points (80 - 2nd), goals (27 - tied-3rd) and assists 26 - 3rd), while her four-goal/nine-point match at Oregon and four-assist outing against Eastern Washington (both in her senior season in 2000) remain tops in Husky women's soccer history.
Romagnolo graduated from the University of Washington in 2001 with her bachelor's degree in business.
She went on to enjoy a three-year career with the San Jose CyberRays of the Women's United Soccer Association (the first of two leagues that preceded the NWSL), helping the Bay Area franchise to the WUSA title in 2001. Among her teammates in San Jose were former Notre Dame All-American and 2001 WUSA Goalkeeper of the Year LaKeysia Beene ('00) and former Fighting Irish all-region defender Kelly Lindsey ('01).
A native of Edmonds, Wash., Romagnolo and her husband, Alex, are proud parents of a daughter, Sierra (1). Alex Romagnolo currently serves as development director for Grassroot Soccer, the global charitable organization founded by Dr. Tommy Clark (son of current Fighting Irish head men's soccer coach Bobby Clark) that is designed to use the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV, particularly in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa, as well as the United States.
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Stanford head women's soccer coach Paul Ratcliffe
"Theresa did an incredible job here at Stanford. I'm really happy to see her moving on and getting an opportunity to coach at one of the premier universities in the country. She's got a great passion for the game, she understands the game, she connects with her players, she's motivational, she's a great teacher. She does so many great things. She'll be a tremendous leader and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the Notre Dame team."
San Diego head women's soccer coach Ada Greenwood
"Theresa is an outstanding coach who will continue to create the competitive culture at Notre Dame. Her standard and expectations for the Irish to compete for future national championships each year will remain the same with their past traditions. Randy left a fantastic legacy and foundation for the future. I feel Theresa will fit the new era for Notre Dame and continue his vision."
Dartmouth head men's soccer coach/former Notre Dame assistant men's soccer coach Chad Riley ('04)
"Notre Dame is certainly lucky to have Theresa leading their women's soccer team. She is a fierce competitor, an excellent coach, and she gets the very best out of her players. She will undoubtedly continue and further build upon the success of the program. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Theresa and I know the Notre Dame and South Bend communities will love having her in their community."
Notre Dame head men's soccer coach Bobby Clark
"From everyone I have spoken with, I have heard nothing but fantastic things about Theresa. I'm sure she will carry on the great tradition of our women's program, and I'm looking forward to working alongside her and watching our Notre Dame women continue to flourish and grow with her helm."
Former Notre Dame All-America defender and member of 1995 NCAA national championship team/two-time Olympic gold and three-time Olympic medalist/1999 FIFA Women's World Cup champion Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf ('98)
"What a wonderful addition Theresa will be to the Notre Dame family. She will maintain the high athletic and academic standards typical of Our Lady's teams. She has big shoes to fill with Randy's departure, but she will maintain Notre Dame's rich history of title contention every season. She will do this in two ways: (a) by encouraging and expecting spirited competition every time a player steps on the field whether it be for training or games; and (b) by ensuring the players have a strong connection with one another, the coaching staff, alumni and university staff, thereby fostering a community in which they know they never walk alone. This is how she lays the platform for both personal and team excellence."
Notre Dame sophomore defender/captain Katie Naughton
"The team is really excited about our new coach and we see this as an opportunity for us, not only for each of us individually, but collectively as a group to make an impact. Although we are still getting to know Theresa, we trust that she will lead us and help us grow as players and as a team. It will be exciting to see how she applies her style of play and expertise to our team!"
Notre Dame sophomore forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro
"We're thrilled to have Theresa join us and helping lead us into this new era of Notre Dame women's soccer. She's got a tremendous amount of experience working with some very strong programs and with her background in developing not only successful players but successful people as well, it's exciting to think about what's in store for Fighting Irish in the future."
Notre Dame freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews
"We're extremely excited to have Theresa on board with us here at Notre Dame. She has great experience playing and teaching at high levels. I'm sure we're all ready and eager to learn from her and continue moving on the path towards taking that next step and winning another national championship."
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director