Published: February 24, 2012
After nine seasons as a player and member of the coaching staff for the Northwestern men’s soccer team, Rich Nassif was appointed the new head coach at Benedictine University Wednesday. Nassif is the 13th former assistant on head coach Tim Lenahan’s staff to move on to a head coaching position and sixth during Lenahan’s tenure with the Wildcats.
"I would like to thank head coach Tim Lenahan for giving me the opportunity to represent my alma mater,” Nassif said. “I have been very fortunate to work with such a tremendous group of coaches, players, administration and support staff at Northwestern. The relationships and memories I have formed here make it difficult to leave and Northwestern will always be close to my heart. I am extremely excited for this next chapter in my career and cannot wait to start as head coach at Benedictine."
“I can’t say enough about Rich Nassif and his impact on the program at Northwestern,” Lenahan said. “He came to us as a last-minute walk-on and leaves as one of the most influential people in the history of our program. He came to us nine years ago and the fact that we have had nine-straight winning seasons and leaves with a double Big Ten Championship is no coincidence. I look forward to following his career as the head men’s soccer coach at Benedictine and look forward to seeing him back at NU as an alum and supporter of the program.”
Nassif’s NU career began in 2003 as a walk-on goalkeeper. He was part of a number of memorable teams, including Northwestern’s first NCAA tournament team in 2004 and was a team captain on the 2006 squad that made it to the NCAA quarterfinals. Nassif graduated from Northwestern in 2007 with a degree in history and political science and is currently completing his thesis for his master’s degree in sports administration.
Following his playing career, Nassif joined the NU coaching staff as director of operations for two seasons and was promoted to assistant coach in 2009. Nassif has been a part of all six of Northwestern’s NCAA tournament appearances, whether as a player or part of the coaching staff, and helped guide the Wildcats to their first-ever Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in 2011.
Nassif worked closely with the NU goalkeepers, including Misha Rosenthal (2005-09) and Tyler Miller (2011-present). Rosenthal was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree and still holds school records in shutouts and goals-against average. Miller was the first-team all-conference freshman goalkeeper on NU’s Big Ten championship team and a College Soccer News freshman All-American. Miller also was recently selected to play for the U-20 National Team.
Nassif begins his head coaching career at Benedictine, which is a Division III program located in Lisle, Ill., and competes in the Northern Athletics Conference.
Another member of Lenahan’s coaching staff was promoted earlier this month as director of operations Mark Plotkin returned to his alma mater, DePaul, as an assistant coach. Plotkin served as the director of operations the last two seasons, including NU’s run at the Big Ten title in 2011. He was a four-year starter for head coach Craig Blazer for the Blue Demons from 2006-09.