With the retirement of 14-year head coach John Basalyga announced Tuesday, the Northern Kentucky University Department of Athletics begins a national search for its next head men’s soccer coach immediately.
Senior Associate Athletic Director Dan McIver will serve as head of the search committee.
The program is in search of its fourth-ever head coach to take the helm of a program that boasts a 384-291-64 overall record (.563 winning percentage) across 37 years.
NKU men’s soccer has a rich history of success since its inception in 1980. The program has won seven conference titles, a Division II national title in 2010, and made six-straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2006 to 2011, including three-straight Midwest Regional Championships from 2006 through 2008.
Fourteen student-athletes have been named NSCAA All-Americans, including the 2010 DII National Player of the Year, Steven Beattie, who currently plays professionally for Cork City FC after being drafted by Toronto FC.
The Norse remained competitive throughout the Division I transition, which began in 2012. The department was granted official Division I status in August of this year after completing the four-year transition.
Northern Kentucky amassed a 30-31-15 record during the four-year reclassification period, which included a pair of winning seasons. NKU saw success in the Atlantic Sun, posting a 10-9-3 record against A-Sun opponents in its first three years at the DI level and also made an A-Sun Championship semifinal appearance in 2014.
Success continued when NKU joined the Horizon League in 2015, finishing third with a 4-2-3 league mark and earning hosting rights to a league championship tournament quarterfinal match.
Northern Kentucky has regularly hosted Kentucky in a preseason exhibition match, placing more than 2,000 fans in the stands in each of the last two matchups.
The program has garnered internal and external support throughout its 37-year history, as exhibited by the opening of the $6.5 million NKU Soccer Stadium in 2009. The facility houses locker rooms for both teams and office space for both coaching staffs, as well as Founder’s Room, press box and sports medicine area. Support continues to grow for the program, which is competitively funded for success within the Horizon League.
Norse men’s soccer is also widely supported on the ESPN3 platform, where 15 of the program’s 18 home matches over the last two years has aired on the digital platform of the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
NKU’s external support is fostered by a flourishing soccer community in and around the Greater Cincinnati region, highlighted by the success of FC Cincinnati in the United Soccer League and a strong youth soccer presence. Last season, FCC set a pair of USL attendance records including a record crowd of 30,187 fans in the USL playoffs to help fuel the area’s interest in soccer.
Nearly 15,000 students attend Northern Kentucky University, which is a growing metropolitan institution located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, just six miles south of the Ohio River and city of Cincinnati. Within the last ten years, NKU has constructed four state-of-the-art facilities – James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union, Campus Recreation Center, BB&T Arena and Griffin Hall – and is in the midst of construction of a brand new $97-million Health Innovation Center, set to open in Fall 2018.
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by Melissa Powell