April 29, 2009

Slug Soccer Coaches Shift Roles

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL --Come fall, both the men's and women's soccer teams at UC Santa Cruz will have new faces patrolling the sidelines at the Lower East Field.

Dan Chamberlain, who guided the men's program to two NCAA Division-III tournament berths in his three years as head coach, has accepted an assistant coaching job for the men's soccer team at Stanford University effective immediately, and will be replaced at UCSC by former Slugs women's coach Michael Runeare.

"It was something that came up very suddenly," Chamberlain said, "out of the blue. It was a very sudden change, but it was an opportunity I felt I just couldn't pass up. When a Pac-10 school gives you an opportunity like that, it's almost impossible to turn down."

Chamberlain, 29, whose teams went a combined 44-14-2 in his three years at UCSC, said that he was familiar with the Cardinal coaching staff from helping at summer clinics in Palo Alto, and also from having coached against some of the assistants while at UCSC. With the Cardinal, his job will be to tutor the goalkeepers, and also to act as a principal recruiter. None of the players on UC Santa Cruz's roster will follow him to Stanford, as was the case when former coach Paul Holocher left UCSC in 2006 to take over the program at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

"Being able to take over a program like UCSC at age 26 was definitely an honor," said Chamberlain, who played for the Slugs for four years and was an assistant for two years under Holocher. "If I had been anywhere else, I would have had to work my way up for a long time before I got an opportunity like that. So it was an honor to take on, and something I'll always look back on as some of the best times in my coaching career."

 

Runeare, who has coached the women's team for the past six years and compiled a 68-28-13 record, also coaches the Santa Cruz Breakers' adult-league club team. Several players from the Slugs' men's team play for the Breakers during the offseason.

"It's gone very smoothly," Runeare said of the change. "Everybody's been fantastic dealing with the transition. The women have been super positive and cooperative, and the men have been very energetic, not harboring any hard feelings. They have a very strong program, with a lot of tradition and pride, and the players make up most of that --" they're the core of the program."

Brendan Ward, a junior defenseman for the men's team, said that the team, which has already begun training for the fall season, has dealt with the coaching change well.

"We didn't want to make the coaching change too dramatic," Ward said. "There's no reason to be sad or angry. We can't be too emotional and dramatic about it; we just have to accept the change, and everyone did. We're happy for Dan, and we're still in great hands, so there's really no time or room for that."

Josh Schelhorse will take over the women's team as the interim coach. Schelhorse spent last season as an assistant for both the men's and women's teams. Before that, he was most recently an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount, and spent the previous five years as an assistant for Sonoma State's men's program, where his team won the Division-II national championship in 2002. He played his college ball as a goalkeeper at the University of Santa Clara.