MOSCOW, Idaho—Derek Pittman, a four-year associate head coach at Gonzaga University, was hired Monday as the fourth head coach in the history of the University of Idaho women’s soccer program, Director of Athletics Rob Spear announced.
Pittman, 39, comes to Idaho with 13 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt which includes three years as a head coach at Arkansas State.
Before joining Gonzaga, Pittman spent three seasons as the head coach of the Arkansas State women’s soccer program, leading the Redwolves to a Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals appearance in 2009 for the first time in school history. He also led ASU to a program best eight wins along with program season-highs in points, goals, assists, shutouts, saves and goals against average.
He spent the last four seasons as the associate head coach at Gonzaga. While at Gonzaga he was responsible for the day-to-day training of the defenders and oversaw the goalkeeper training. Under his guidance the 2013 Gonzaga goalkeeping corps recorded its best goals-against average in the last seven years.
“I am very excited to have Derek join the Vandal family,” Spear said. “His proven success as a Division I head coach and his knowledge and recruiting expertise, especially in the Northwest, will propel our soccer program forward. We expect Derek will bring the same success enjoyed by our other women's programs.”
Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla., was a four-year starting goalkeeper at the University of Tulsa. While with the Hurricanes he earned All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team honors as a junior and he later led Tulsa to a national ranking as a senior. Pittman graduated from Tulsa with a degree in business administration in 1998 and served as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s soccer program at Tulsa from 2001-03. Under his direction, Tulsa’s goalkeepers had career bests in saves, shutouts and goals against average in a season. During the 2002 season, the Hurricanes were ranked 12th national and fifth in the Midwest Region.
Pittman played professionally for the Amateur Football Club in England while studying at Lancaster University. After training with the Division I Sheffield United and Burnley Football Club, he returned to the United States and played with the Columbus Comets and the Savannah RugRatz in the Eastern Indoor Soccer League.
Pittman, who is licensed by the United States Soccer Federation with a USSF “A” coaching license, has also coached on the club level including stints with the Pride Soccer Club of Missouri, the Tulsa Soccer Club of Oklahoma and the Little Rock Futbol Club of Arkansas.
“I am extremely excited to be the new head soccer coach at the University of Idaho,” Pittman stated. “I would like to sincerely thank Rob Spear and everyone on the search committee for affording me this tremendous opportunity and I am honored to have this chance to work with our student-athletes to build a successful Vandal soccer program.
“During my conversations with Rob about this opening, it was clear that the University of Idaho is committed to competing at the highest level, winning on the field as well as achieving success in the classroom. I am confident that with that support we will compete for both academic awards and championships on the field as we move forward in the Big Sky Conference.”
Pittman replaces Peter Showler, the winningest coach in program history. In nine seasons, his teams posted a record 50 wins. In 2010 the Vandals finished 14-7, marking the best season in program history. Showler resigned from Idaho on December 12. Arby Busey (2002-2004) and Larry Foster (1998-2001) directed the program in Idaho’s first seven seasons.
Idaho was 4-16 in 2013, finishing 4-8 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Vandals qualified for their fourth consecutive WAC Tournament, bowing out in the quarterfinals. Idaho returns 16 letterwinners from last season, losing six to graduation.
“I would like to take this chance to thank Amy Edwards and Gonzaga for the opportunity to represent that institution,” Pittman added. “It was very rewarding to coach such quality players and experience immense growth as a coach on the Bulldog staff these past four years.”
Gonzaga finished 7-11-1 last fall, including a 3-6 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Bulldogs dropped eight games by one goal margin last fall, totaling 1.11 goals per game. In his four years at Gonzaga, Pittman has helped coach the Bulldogs to 30 wins. In Pittman’s third season on staff, the Bulldogs opened the year winning five of their first six matches, including a four-match win streak, the second longest since 2005.
In Pittman's first year at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs put together an impressive run that saw themselves as contenders for a spot in the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. Before the 2010 season began, the Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh in the WCC preseason. Gonzaga finished fourth in the standings, earning three league victories.
Prior to his stint at ASU, Pittman served as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri (2004-06) and at the University of Georgia (2003-04). Pittman helped both programs achieve season-bests in shutouts and goals against averages during his time with the Tigers and Bulldogs. In 2003, the Georgia Bulldogs finished 13-10-0 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Pittman and his wife, Amber, have two daughters, Emma, and Jozy.