EVANSTON, Ill — Northwestern University Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips has announced that Head Men’s Soccer Coach Tim Lenahan has agreed to a contract extension. Lenahan has served as the Wildcats’ head coach for the last 14 seasons.
“Without question, I am thrilled that we have agreed to a contract extension with Coach Tim Lenahan to continue to lead our men’s soccer program for the foreseeable future,” said Phillips. “Tim’s tremendous coaching ability has turned Northwestern into one of the premier men’s soccer programs in the country and I am beyond excited to see what the future holds with him at the helm.”
“I want to thank Jim Phillips and President Schapiro for trusting me to lead the program for the next five years,” Lenahan said. “The last 14 years at Northwestern have been wonderful. The Chicago area is a great place to live, Northwestern has first-class facilities, a great support system and exceptional student-athletes. To be honest, there is no place where I would rather coach. The success we have achieved in the last 14 years has been very special, but I still think there is more to accomplish. I am so grateful to be the coach who will have the opportunity to get us there.”
Lenahan inherited a Wildcat program that went winless in 2000. However, in the 14 years since then, the Northwestern program has made itself into a force to be reckoned with both in the Big Ten and nationally.
The Wildcats have amassed 143 victories under Lenahan, including a school-record 15 wins in 2004 and again in 2008. Northwestern reached the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in 11 years in 2014, with the ‘Cats posting a Big Ten-leading 12-year streak having amassed a winning record . The 2006 and 2008 teams reached the NCAA Elite Eight while the 2009 and 2012 teams made Sweet Sixteen appearances. The program record from 2004 stands at 127-67-35.
Lenahan has guided the ‘Cats to a pair of Big Ten Regular-Season titles (2011, 2012) and won the program’s first Big Ten Tournament championship in 2012. Under Lenahan’s mentorship, the Wildcats have had four NSCAA All-Americans, six NSCAA All-Great Lakes/Midwest Regional selections, 43 All-Big Ten members, three Big Ten Freshmen of the Year, a pair of Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year and a Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year.
Lenahan was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2011, NSCAA Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2011 and is a three-time National Coach of the Year Finalist. He is a two-time winner of the Bob Voigts Coach of the Year Award as voted by his peer coaches at Northwestern in recognition of his achievements.
Since 2007, no team has posted a better average finish than the Wildcats in Big Ten play. Including the back-to-back titles, the ‘Cats have finished in the top three in seven of eight seasons.
Coach Lenahan has guided players who have gone on to play in the professional ranks such as Dave Roth (New York Red Bull, 2008), Brad North (DC United, 2007), Brad Napper (FC Dallas, 2006), JD Martin (Chicago Fire, 2003), Chris Ritter (Chicago Fire, 2014), Matt Eliason (FC Throttur) and most recently 2014 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Miller (SVN Zweibrucken).
Miller was selected by the Seattle Sounders in the second round of the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, but opted to pursue his professional career overseas. He was the fifth Wildcats student-athlete to be drafted by an MLS franchise, all of whom have been recruited and developed by Lenahan. A member of the United States U-23 squad, Miller recently earned his first international start against Qatar in the Toulon Tournament.
Another Lenahan product, Matt Eliason, rose to international fame after hitting a bicycle kick in the Messi and Friends exhibition match at Soldier Field organized by Barcelona great Lionel Messi. Lenahan served as assistant coach of the game with former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello and Brazilian great Zico. The game, which included nine former Northwestern players, was shown internationally on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Eliason’s kick generated over 3 million YouTube views.
In addition to the Wildcats’ success on the field, Lenahan’s teams have also excelled in the classroom. In the past five years, Wildcats student-athletes have accumulated an amazing 76 Academic All-Big Ten distinctions. The NCAA has recognized the program in each of the past 10 years for being among the top 10 percent of men’s soccer programs in the country in multi-year Academic Progress Report (APR) scores.