Alverno College turned to an experienced coach to take over its women's soccer program, hiring Richard Drake as the ninth coach in Flames history last month.
He replaces Brittany Nickolic, who was at the helm for the past six years and was the most successful coach in the NCAA Division III program's 14-year history. She left the Milwaukee school in June to take over at Divsion II UW-Parkside.
Drake has served as an assistant at DePaul, Marshall, Minnesota and Cincinnati and spent six seasons in that role at Loyola (Ill.), overseeing the Ramblers' goalkeepers and their recruiting efforts. Most recently, he was a coach and the director of goalkeeping for the Greater Libertyville Soccer Association in Illinois for the past two years.
Alverno was 5-13-1 overall and 2-8-0 in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference last season, tied for eighth in the 11-team league. The Flames open the season Sept. 4 against Crown (Minn.) at the Mount Mary Invitational in Milwaukee.
The Chicago native holds an "A" coaching license from the U.S. Soccer Federation. As a player, Drake spent time with several professional teams – the Rockford Raptors and Minnesota Thunder outdoors and the Cincinnati Silverbacks, Rockford Thunder and Northern Illinois Rebels indoors – following his collegiate career at Aurora (Ill.).