February 18, 2005

Mike Smith Resigns as Assistant Soccer Coach

Feb. 18, 2005

EUGENE, Ore. - University of Oregon women's soccer head coach Tara Erickson announced Thursday the addition of associate head coach Mike Smith and assistant coach Nicole Wilcox to her staff.

Smith served as the top assistant coach at Santa Clara the past three seasons, and Wilcox was a volunteer assistant for Erickson last fall at Portland State and a former Pac-10 standout at Washington State.

"I think we have an incredible staff," Erickson said. "Mike and I have worked for each other as region head and assistant coaches, and vice versa, so we have an excellent relationship. Nicole infuses youth, intelligence and hard work, too. I like the fact that the staff can exchange ideas freely, to optimize a strategy that takes Oregon to a new level."

Smith joined the Santa Clara staff as an assistant coach in 2002, and helped them to three NCAA appearances, including two final four trips, and a trip to the 2002 national championship game.

Outside collegiate circles, Smith served three seasons as Olympic Development Program (ODP) Regional IV Head Coach for the USA's 14 western states. He has assisted with the U17 women's National Team, been a part of the U.S. Soccer National Instructional Staff since 1999, and holds a US Soccer Federation `A' License - the nation's top coaching qualification.

"I'm fortunate to have the chance to bring Mike in," Erickson said. "I've known him for a while, going back to our ODP region teams. I really respect him as a coach and teacher, and his experience at one of the nation's top programs is important. He can demonstrate to our players what it takes to be great. He's excellent tactically and as a recruiter, and knows the West well."

Prior to his West Coast work, the Scotland native oversaw the Minnesota Youth Soccer programs and worked with the state's ODP program.

In his three seasons as a player at Southampton University in England, he was named Player of the Year as a senior after he helped the team finish second in the 1991 British Universities Indoor Soccer Championships. He graduated from Southampton with a bachelor's in geography, and added a master's in sociology of sport at the University of Leicester the following year. After his playing career, he worked as an assistant coach for the Southampton and Leicester women's teams, then served as head coach for the Premier Boys Club in Newcastlewest, Minnesota.

Smith has two children, Brogan (8) and Fiona (6), who live in Portland.

The duo round out the staff of Tara Erickson, who was named new head coach January 31. She quickly turned Portland State into one of the best in the Big Sky Conference and posted a 29-38-10 record in four seasons at PSU. She was tabbed Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in 2002 after her squad was one goal shy of winning the conference tournament - only two years after a winless season. She is also well-known in Northwest soccer circles as a regional head coach for the Region IV Olympic Development Program (ODP), and was head coach of the Washington State ODP U-16 team in 1997 and `98.

The University of Oregon women's soccer team looks forward to its 10th season as a varsity sport in 2005 and welcomes back one of its deepest rosters of talent that includes nine starters and 23 letterwinners. Two of the team's top all-time scorers, redshirt senior Nicole Garbin and Andrea Valadez, return with senior goalkeeper Domenique Lainez. Last season's squad weathered an injury-plagued 3-13-3 season (and 0-7-2 mark in the Pac-10), but features most of the talent from a '03 team that notched program records for overall wins (9) and conference wins (3).