It's been a month and a half since Keidane McAplpine left WSU for USC and in that time we didn't hear much on the progress of hiring a new women's soccer coach. That changed on Thursday when WSU announced it hired Steve Nugent to replace McAlpine.
Nugent comes to Pullman from Greensboro, N.C. where he was the head coach at UNC Greensboro. He spent three seasons as the head coach, compiling a 30-23-6 record. The Spartans won the Southern Conference regular season title in 2012. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience, including stops as an assistant at Georgia and Rice. In total, he's been a part of four teams reached the NCAA Tournament and won two NAIA national championships.
When Nugent was hired at UNCG, he took over a very good team. The Spartans finished with a 19-2-1 record in 2010. It appears they graduated quite a bit of talent that year and his first year didn't go very well. The Spartans did make steady progress during his tenure, at least statistically. UNCG scored 1.4 and allowed 1.7 goals per game his first season. Things improved to 1.5 goals scored and 1.1 goals allowed per game in his second season. The Spartans were very good defensively last season, scoring 1.4 goals and allowing 0.8 goals per game. That would seem to indicate he's a defensive-minded coach, which should be a good fit at WSU. The Cougars were excellent defensively last season, allowing 0.5 goals per game.
Bill Moos and his staff hit a home run with their first soccer hire. McAlpine led WSU to a second place finish in the Pac-12 last season and took home Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors. WSU can only hope Nugent will have similar success. If he does, the challenge will be keeping him around in Pullman. WSU has made the NCAA tournament in four of the last five seasons, but despite the consistent success, the Cougars watched Matt Potter jump to Oklahoma and McAlpine leave for USC. WSU has soccer facility upgrades planned and those improvements should help make it a more desirable destination.
As for Nugent, he said he's very excited to build on the recent success and called the job a tremendous opportunity for him and his family.
"I was looking forward to the prospect of being the next head coach at Washington State and learning more about what it means to be a Cougar from those with whom I met put it over the top," Nugent said, via the release.
The closer we've gotten to signing day, the more apparent it was Miguel Machado was going to flip to another school. I just expected that school to be Michigan State. Instead, Machado flipped from WSU to Purdue on Thursday. Kansas State and Washington were also involved. The Purdue coaches must have some hell of a recruiting pitch to get him to commit to a team coming off a 1-11 season. Especially with Michigan State coming off a 13-1 season and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
JUCO OT Miguel Machado Flips His Commitment To Purdue
247Sports Composite rates Miguel Machado as a three-star prospect. Machado was committed to Washington State until today. He was considering Purdue, Washington State, Washington, and Michigan State down the stretch.
A look at the Pac-12's top freshmen - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Jan. 30, 2014
Gordon is probably still the frontrunner for FOY based on his status as a key contributor on the Pac-12's (and nation's?) best team, but his numbers imply that it's not a lock. Let's take a look at the best freshman on each team's key stats, after the jump.