New Dayton women’s soccer coach ‘ecstatic’ to be a Flyer again

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Dayton women's soccer coach Eric Golz on 2017 season

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Eric Golz spent 2011 season on Mike Tucker’s staff

Mike Tucker stopped by Dayton Flyers women’s soccer coaches offices at the Frericks Center on Monday, looking like a man enjoying retirement.

Tucker told new UD coach Eric Golz about an upcoming beach vacation. Golz, 37, and the Flyers began practice Wednesday. Vacation is a long way away for them.

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That’s a good thing, however, because the fourth women’s soccer coach in UD history — and the first new coach since Dayton hired Tucker in 1995 — can’t wait to get going. The Flyers have two exhibition games at Baujan Field next week: Tuesday against Burlington Soccer Club and Friday against Miami University. They open the season Aug. 18 at East Carolina.

“The program obviously has a ton of history and tradition and has had a great deal of success,” Golz said. “Coach Tucker and his staff and players over the years have done a tremendous job of building a really nice house, as we say. We want to make sure we continue to make improvements to the house.”

Tucker stepped down after last season. He coached 22 seasons, posted a career record of 313-124-33 and guided the Flyers to the NCAA tournament in his final season.

Dayton announced the hiring of Golz on Dec. 20. He spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at Illinois State. His team finished 14-6-3 last season and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Prior to coaching the Redbirds, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Maryland. He coached the Terrapins one year after a productive season in Dayton.

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Golz not only spent the 2011 season as an assistant coach on Tucker’s staff, he met his wife Kailey at UD that year. She was an academic advisor at the university in 2011. They married in 2015.

Golz is from Wadsworth, Ohio. Kailey is from Cincinnati. Returning to Dayton made sense for a number of reasons.

“This place is special,” Golz said. “We had a wonderful life experience here. We both loved working here. It’s always been a dream to come back. The timing in life is funny. You never know when it’s going to work or not work. It was a difficult decision to decide to leave a place that we also love and enjoy. My wife was working at Illinois State, and I was coaching at Illinois State, but this was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that popped up. We’re ecstatic to be here.”

Tucker took the program to a new level, winning 10 Atlantic 10 tournaments and 11 regular-season championships. The Flyers played in nine NCAA tournaments during Tucker’s tenure, losing 3-2 to Ohio State in the first round in his last game in November.

“We have a foundation here,” Golz said. “We have an experience we can sell to student athletes. I think we can become a national player. I think we can continue to compete for league championships in the A-10. I think we can continue to compete for NCAA tournament appearances. We’ll work really hard in terms of raising standards in terms of daily expectations and continuing to grow and evolve the culture so that ultimately we perform better. I don’t think we are at our ceiling. I think we can continue to get better.”

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The program got an added boost in April with the unveiling of the Margie and Bill Klesse Soccer Complex. The new practice and training facility includes separate fields for both teams, covered benches, new wind shields on the fencing surrounding the fields to reduce traffic noise, new goals, more storage and artificial turf between the fields.

“It feels like a professional environment,” Golz said. “That environment you create sends a message to the student-athletes. They see that. There’s a wow factor involved. I think that it raises their own expectations.”

Golz has been around the game his whole life. He started playing at 4. He was an all-conference goalkeeper at Grove City College (Pa.). He earned his degree in finance and landed an internship with Arthur Andersen Consulting. It didn’t take him long to realize he chose the wrong line of work.

Golz went back to school to get certified to teach, then coached and taught for one year at the high-school level before earning his first college coaching job.

Golz fell in love with coaching soccer as soon as he started. It couldn’t have been any other way for a guy named Golz. Yes, that German name is pronounced the same as goals. Golz has heard that joke that his entire life.

“I really had no choice in what I was going to do for a living,” he said with a laugh.