Winkworth Named Head Soccer Coach

November 27, 2012 · By · Filed Under Soccer 

Graham Winkworth, photo from roarlions.com

The University of South Alabama Athletic Director Joel Erdmann announced that the school has named Graham Winkworth head soccer coach on Monday.

Winkworth comes to South Alabama from Division II University of North Alabama after leading them to the NCAA Tournament each of the last four years. Winkworth has spent the last 10 seasons with UNA while posting an overall record of 111-81-8, the most wins for a coach in UNA school history. His team has a record of 65-18-3 over the last four years.

“We considered several highly-qualified candidates as part of our national search,” Erdmann said. “Graham’s record of success, highlighted by his documented ability to build a consistently competitive program, is impressive. We feel he is a tremendous fit to lead our soccer program into the future.”

“I’ve had the chance to work with Dr. Erdmann in the past, I really enjoyed that experience so I am looking forward to working together again” Winkworth stated. “When I came down and visited, I saw that there were lovely facilities. Everyone that I met within the department was so friendly, it seems like they are all happy in that environment. I thought I would like to be a part of that and am very excited to be joining the staff.”

His recent run of success began during the 2009 season when UNA went 19-4-1 and set a program record for wins in a season and earned the schools first berth in the Gulf South Conference tournament since 1999 and the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for the Lions. They would go on and win their opening match. The 2009 season would mark an 11 win increase over the previous season and would be the biggest improvment in the nation on his way to being voted the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year.

Then in 2010 the Lions finished with a 16-4-1 mark while going 6-1 in the conference and returning to the NCAA tournament. The 2011 season they would post a 17-4 mark while going 6-1 in the conference again while earning a share of the regular-season title.

Winkworth led the program to the conference tournament title with wins over UAH, Valdosta State and also ended West Florida’s 54 match conference win streak.

Last season the Lions went 13-6-1 and 6-2-1 in the conference to advance to the title match of the conference tournament and won its NCAA Tournament first-round match against Valdosta State.

During his time at UNA the school produced the first two All-Americans in school history as well as 33 all-GSC selections.

“The key was definitely the people,” Winkworth said of his success at UNA. “When I started working at North Alabama, we didn’t have quite the funding that they have now. Dr. Erdmann put some things into place before he left, and Mr. [Mark] Linder continued that process. That enabled me to bring in some amazing people, I have been so lucky these last few years to work with and coach some fantastic individuals and lovely young ladies. They were able to create a family-type environment, and with that the girls wore the shirt with pride and would run through brick walls for me.”

“I’m very thankful and very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing young ladies,” he continued. “It’s going to be difficult leaving these girls because they are fantastic young women, but I know that they will continue to be successful because of that.”

Winkworth is a native of Reading, England and is a 2000 graduate of the University of Central Lancashire. He earned his master’s degree from UNA in 2005 and last fall earned his United States Soccer Federation A license.

His coaching career began in England with Preston North End Football Club as an assistant with the Center of Excellence before serving as the assistant men’s and women’s coach at Cumberland (TN) during the 2000 season. He was then an assistant at Central Arkansas for two years before taking the position at UNA.

Comments

One Response to “Winkworth Named Head Soccer Coach”

  1. FiredJoeyJones on December 16th, 2012 6:15 pm

    Highly qualified candidates? DJE made the decision before the NCAA tournament was even past the 3rd round. There were still nearly 100 coaches of successful teams left out there at the division I level. You bring in a coach who is all about international kids…..that doesn’t work in Division I women’s athletics. You look at the top quality teams in women’s soccer and it’s all home grown USA talent. Stupid decision and I hope DJE loses his job over this decision. He knew he was firing Varga from the beginning.

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