While a group of former UW-Oshkosh men's soccer players continue their efforts to save the successful program from elimination, Titans coach Wytse Molenaar has moved on to the next chapter in his career.
Molenaar, who led Oshkosh to a 79-23-17 record and three NCAA Division III tournament appearances in six seasons, was named men's coach at Albion (Mich.) on Monday.
"We are thrilled to have Coach Molenaar join our staff,” Albion athletic director Matt Arend said in a news release. "As a head coach, he is a proven winner and he has done a tremendous job mentoring his student-athletes, both on and off the field. I am excited to see our men’s soccer program flourish under his leadership."
The Britons finished 5-13-1 overall and 3-11 in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association last fall, and haven't had a winning season since 2006.
Molenaar, a native of the Netherlands, was an assistant under Toby Bares at Oshkosh from 2004 to '08 before succeeding the legendary coach. Molenaar, who also has been the coaching director at FC Green Bay since 2000, was the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Division III North Region Coach of the Year in 2010 as the Titans finished 20-1-3 and advanced to the national semifinals.
Last April, UW-Oshkosh announced that it would eliminate its men's soccer and men's tennis programs following the 2015 season, citing budget concerns. The Titans are one of the nation's most successful men's soccer programs, recording a 423-122-55 record with 14 NCAA tournament appearances. They've had 31 consecutive winning seasons since going 6-7-0 in 1984 in their inaugural season.
- University of Wisconsin women's coach Paula Wilkins had her three-year contract extended through the 2018 season by the UW Athletic Board last month. Wilkins has led the Badgers to a 98-61-24 overall record, four NCAA tournament appearances and one Big Ten Conference tournament championship in her nine seasons. Last fall, UW (11-6-3) earned a share of its first Big Ten regular-season title since 1994, but didn't receive an NCAA tournament berth.
- The UW Athletic Board maintained men's coach John Trask's three-year contract, which runs through the 2017 season. Trask has a 42-57-18 mark in six seasons with the Badgers, who finished 5-11-3 overall last season.
- Sean Hughes (Cardinal Stritch) is returning to Milwaukee, as he was named an assistant in the Marquette men's program. Hughes, a native of Blackburn, England, led Division II Maryville (Mo.) to a 7-7-4 record last fall after spending three seasons as an assistant at Great Lakes Valley Conference rival Quincy (Ill.). "I'm happy to add a coach that's had a range of experiences, including head coaching experience, and someone who has worked well with players and administrators with the ability to make the best of the facilities and the situations in his career,” Golden Eagles coach Louis Bennett said in a news release. "He's come from a place that has had limited resources, but has done very well. As a former collegiate and professional player, Sean will be able to provide helpful insight and perspective to our student athletes." Hughes started every match for Cardinal Stritch in 2009 and '10 after transferring from Northeastern State (Okla.), and played with Australian second-division club Whitsunday Miners FC in 2011. He succeeds Steve Bode (Milwaukee Marquette/UW-Milwaukee), who was on Bennett's staff for the past eight seasons.
- Timo Liekoski, who coached the UW-Milwaukee men's soccer team in its final season as a club sport in 1972, received the Walt Chyzowych Fund Lifetime Achievement Award at last month's National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention in Baltimore. Liekoski went on to coach at Hartwick (N.Y.) and in the North American Soccer League, Major Indoor Soccer League, American Indoor Soccer Association and Major League Soccer. The Finnish coach also had stints as a U.S. national team assistant, was one of two co-coaches of the first U.S. Under-17 national team and led the U.S. Olympic and Pan-American Games teams.
- Today was the first day 2016 college soccer recruits could sign national letters of intent with NCAA Division I and II programs; the signing period runs until Aug. 1. Here's a look at the commitments made by Wisconsin players and those received by state teams, for 2016 and beyond: Men | Women