Murray State Director of Athletics Allen Ward has named Matt Lodge as the new head coach of the Racer women’s soccer team. Lodge becomes Murray State’s fourth head coach in program history, taking over for Jeremy Groves, who left earlier in the month to accept a position at Mississippi State.
“This decision was really a no brainer,” said Ward. “Alongside Coach Groves, Matt has been instrumental in building our women’s soccer program into one of the finest in the nation. He’s an outstanding coach and an excellent recruiter. He has earned the opportunity to lead this team and his promotion will be well received by the three-time defending conference champions.”
“I was afraid I might lose Matt this off-season to another program, but thankfully, it worked out to Murray State’s advantage,” Ward continued. “We’ve got something really special happening with our women’s soccer program and I’m excited to know that a change in leadership won’t disrupt that at all. The future was extremely bright with Coach Groves and it’s no different with Coach Lodge at the helm.”
“First off I’d like to thank Director of Athletics Allen Ward and President Dr. Bob Davies for this great opportunity,” said Lodge. “I’m honored that they trust me to keep this program moving forward. I’d also like to thank Matt Kelly who has been a big help in this transition and Jeremy Groves for bringing me to Murray, it’s been a pleasure working with him and learning from such a talented coach. Finally, I’d like to thank my wife for always supporting me in my career, we love it here at Murray State and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
“I’m very excited to have the chance to continue to build on what we have created here at Murray State,” continued Lodge. “Over the past four seasons we have set high standards and those standards and expectations will not change, we will continue to move forward and compete at the highest level. I’m eager to get back to work with this talented group of young women and begin preparation for defending our OVC championships.”
Lodge, who served as an assistant for the Racers for four seasons, was an integral part of Murray State’s unprecedented success during that time. During that four year span, MSU went 50-21-6 overall, 32-3-5 in league play, won three OVC regular season championships, two tournament titles and made two trips to the NCAA tournament. In addition to seeing Harriet Withers win three straight OVC Offensive Player of the Year honors in those four years, the Racers also put together a string of 31 unbeaten regular-season conference matches which continues today.
A native of Doncaster, England, Lodge served as the architect of the championship offense that has served the Racers so well over the past four seasons. During his four seasons overseeing the Murray State front, the Racers poured in 122 goals for an average of 1.58 per game. He was also vital to the growth of Withers, who left Murray State as its all-time leading goal scorer with 37. In 2017, Lodge continued his tradition of developing talented offensive players as freshman Rebecca Kubin scored seven goals en route to being named as OVC Freshman of the Year.
Lodge’s promotion continues Wards practice of elevating talented, young assistant coaches and giving them the opportunity for their first head coaching job. Lodge now joins men’s basketball’s Steve Prohm and Matt McMahon, football’s Mitch Stewart, softball’s Kara Amundson, women’s tennis’ Jorge Caetano and track and cross county’s Adam Kiesler as former Racer assistants that were promoted to head coach during Ward’s tenure.
“Promoting from within isn’t a given or even a strong preference of mine,” said Ward. “But if we have talented assistant coaches, with natural leadership skills, that are recognized in their profession as being a top-flight coach and recruiter, it’s often times in our best interest to promote internally and keep moving in a familiar direction. That’s certainly the case with women’s soccer.”
What They Are Saying About Matt Lodge
“I was excited to hear that Lodge was going to be named head coach. He has been a huge impact to this team and is part of the reason this program has been such a success. He was there when we broke records and went unbeaten, he knows the culture and what it takes to be successful. It’s going to be an easy transition for the girls, as they are comfortable with him and respect him. There is no doubt in my mind that they will win another championship with Lodge as their head coach! It’s going to be another unbelievable season!
– Destiny White, former MSU player (2014-2017)
“It is great to see a person who has dedicated their life to the sport, move up the coaching ladder and get the opportunity they have been working for. Matt will continue what Jeremy started there, no doubt in my mind. I am happy for Matt and his family.”
– Warren Lipka, current Morehead State head coach
“I’m very happy for Matt, he deserves this chance to become the next head coach. He has a great knowledge of the game and I’m sure he will continue on the winning culture that we built over the past three years. I believe that Matt is ready for this challenge and will excel.”
– Jeremy Groves, former MSU head coach and current Mississippi State associate head coach
by Parker Griffith