TROY, Alabama – Ged O’Connor has been named head coach of the Troy University soccer program, Athletics Director Jeremy McClain announced Monday.
O’Connor comes to Troy after spending 11 seasons as the head coach at Saint Leo University, located 35 miles north of Tampa, where he compiled a 123-66-12 record and led the program to seven NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. He replaces Jason Hamilton, who left in December to join the coaching staff at Mississippi State.
“Ged O’Connor brings an outstanding soccer acumen and track record to Troy, and we are excited to welcome him to the family,” Athletics Director Jeremy McClain said. “The combination of his experience as a successful head coach and his personality were a perfect fit for our program. We look forward to great success for our soccer program under his leadership.”
In 2016, the Lions finished with a 13-4-1 record and a 7-1-1 record in the SSC for a first place finish. They took down #9 Nova Southeastern 2-0 on October 25 and #25 Rollins on Nov. 4 on their way to capturing both the SSC Regular Season title and SSC Tournament crown, the first time in program history the team swept both titles.
Following the 2016 season, the Lions finished No. 17 in the NSCAA poll following the season where they ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. O’Connor saw two players earn NSCAA All-America honors as Selena Jaimes and Arielle Kabangu were named to the NSCAA Third Team All-America. The Lions had three players named to the NSCAA First Team All-South Region in Jaimes, Kabangu and Natalie Melillo, where Katie Waddell was named Second Team All-South Region.
The Lions placed four on the All-SSC teams, with Arielle Kabangu being named the Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, and Selena Jaimes being named the Defensive Player of the Year. O’Connor was named the SSC Coach of the Year after the team posted seven wins in the conference, which ties the most wins in the SSC in program history.
“I am extremely thankful to be here at Troy,” O’Connor said. “I feel really blessed and want to thank Jeremy McClain, Sandy Atkins and Chancellor (Jack) Hawkins for this opportunity. Each person that I met in the trips here have made me feel extremely comfortable. You read about recruits choosing institutions, and like them, ‘it felt like home’.
It is a fantastic opportunity at a fantastic school, and the foundations have been laid with the excellent work done by Jason Hamilton, Stephanie Demake and Olivia Mills. I am looking forward to working to continue the winning ways here in the coming years. I have reached out and talked with most of the incoming players and I am looking forward to getting to work.”
O’Connor took over as the Lions' head coach in 2006, leading the team to the most successful season in program history. Saint Leo set a program record for fewest losses (3) and earned the team's first-ever bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Lions also advanced to their first-ever SSC Tournament Final after a runner-up finish in the regular season. Saint Leo was 14-3-2 overall and 6-2 in the SSC, during a season that included an eight-game unbeaten run to start the year and a seven-match winning streak late in the season.
During his four seasons as an assistant, O'Connor assisted in all phases of running the program with a special emphasis on goalkeeping and recruiting. He has been a major part of the rise of a program that has posted a combined record of 31-15-4 over the last three years.
Prior to making a return to coaching with the SLU staff in 2002, he was a professional Irish dancer in 2001-02.
The 1999 graduate of Webber International University was the starting goalkeeper for four years at the NAIA school. He was named to the Scholar-Athlete All-Region team at Webber. O'Connor graduated with a 3.79-grade point average. During the summer of 1997, he was a member of the Runcorn FC Division 5 team in England, a semi-pro team.
He was named assistant coach of the University of Southern Mississippi women's soccer team, a Division I program in July 1999. He was a camp director in 2000 at Southern Mississippi's residential camp for 350 players, and also served as state ODP goalkeeper director.
From August of 2000 to April of 2001, O'Connor was director of coaching for the Northeast Louisiana Soccer Association. He supervised and administered the training and development of over 1,500 youth soccer players between the ages of five and 19.
O’Connor earned his MBA from Saint Leo University in May of 2004. He also now holds an NSCAA National Goalkeeping License Level II and an NSCAA Premier diploma. In addition, the Manchester, England, native is also a member of the NSCAA coaching education staff and the chairperson of the NSCAA Regional Rankings and South Region Committees.
For more information on Troy soccer, visit TroyTrojans.com or follow the team on Twitter at @TroyTrojansWSOC.