Vernon Croft was named interim head coach of The University of Akron women’s soccer program for the 2012 season, Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill announced Friday.
Croft, who was hired as the program’s assistant coach in February, brings nine seasons of collegiate head coaching experience to the Akron sideline.
“We are excited that Vernon will lead our women’s soccer program during the upcoming season,” Wistrcill said. “He has quickly built rapport with our student-athletes, and his head-coaching experience will allow us to progress toward the top of the Mid-American Conference.”
The Zips have qualified for the MAC Tournament in each of the last three seasons after failing to reach post-season play in the program’s first eight years.
"I am very thankful and extremely excited about the opportunity afforded me by Tom and (Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator) Mary Lu Gribschaw to lead the women's soccer program at The University of Akron,” Croft said, “The University has shown a tremendous amount of commitment to the program over the years, and we look forward to continuing to develop a championship program.”
Croft came to Northeast Ohio after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Miami (Fla.), where he was in charge of the goalkeepers and attacking players and acted as the recruiting coordinator.
In 1999, Croft started the women’s soccer program at Indiana State and served as the head coach of the Sycamores for nine seasons. He remains the program’s all-time wins leader and led ISU to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship Game in 2008. He was named MVC Coach of the Year in 2004.
While at ISU, Croft coached 15 all-conference performers, one MVC Freshman of the Year and eight MVC all-tournament honorees. His teams also excelled in the classroom, earning NSCAA Team Academic Awards in nine consecutive seasons.
Prior to beginning the program at Indiana State, Croft spent four years as an assistant coach at Missouri State and was the goalkeeping coach for MSU’s men’s team for two seasons. He has also served on the women’s soccer staff at Widener University and was the graduate assistant men’s soccer coach at Lynchburg College.
Croft received a bachelor’s of arts from Lynchburg in 1994 and a master’s of education from Widener in 1996. He holds a USSF National A License.
Croft replaces Chris Pfau, who was hired at Houston last Friday.
The Zips start the 2012 season on Aug. 5 with a home exhibition match vs. Duquesne at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.