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Tar Heels’ Dorrance adds another milestone
Coaching victory milestones are nothing new in the Atlantic Coast Conference, particularly for North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance.
But with Thursday night’s 2-1 ACC road win at 22nd-ranked Virginia Tech, the resume of the legendary women’s soccer coach looks all the more staggering.
The top-ranked Tar Heels’ victory marked the 750th for UNC and for Dorrance, who has been at the helm of the program since its inception in 1979.
Dorrance said he was not aware he had reached his latest milestone until UNC women’s soccer sports information director Dave Lohse informed him after the game.
“I think that means that I am hellaciously old,” Dorrance told reporters during his postgame press conference. “I think it also means we’ve recruited some great rosters over time. We’ve had some great players. There’s great longevity for me in the women’s game … so I think the 750 is a testament to the fact of that longevity and the fact we’ve had some great players over the years.”
It took the 62-year-old Dorrance’s teams only 828 matches to get three-fourths of the way the 1,000-win mark. With a 750-49-29 all-time record, he owns 246 more wins than the next-closest NCAA Division I women’s soccer coach and an unthinkable .923 winning percentage.
Dorrance’s Tar Heels own the top seven winning streaks in NCAA women’s soccer history, including 92 straight between 1990 and 1994.
Add 22 national championships and 21 ACC Championships to the mix, and it becomes easy to overlook a few footnotes – like the fact Dorrance doubled as the UNC men’s coach for 12 years and led his teams to a 172-65-1 record and an NCAA College Cup semifinal.
“I am very proud of the achievements of all our kids and this program,” said Dorrance, a 1974 graduate of UNC. “I’m a proud son of the University of North Carolina, so for me, anything I do that reflects well on my great university makes me feel wonderful as well.”
LEADERS AND LEGENDS
Dorrance is one of a number of ACC coaches, past and present, who sit atop all-time win lists.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski (957 win) and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (920) enter the 2013-14 season ranked first and second in wins among Division I men’s basketball coaches. Both passed North Carolina legend Dean Smith, who retired in 1997 with what was then a record 879 victories.
ACC football currently claims the nation’s winningest active coach in the NCAA’s FBS in Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer (259 wins) and the all-time NCAA FBS career leader in retired Florida State great Bobby Bowden (377).
On the women’s basketball front, North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell reached 900 wins last season and will enter the 2013-14 season as the active Division I leader with 908 victories. Boston College men’s ice hockey coach Jerry York will also look to pad his status as the all-time wins leader as he takes a 935-567-98 record mark into his 42nd season.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Other league coaches in fall sports rank among the national leaders in their respective sports and/or are closing in on notable milestones as their seasons get into full swing.
Notre Dame’s Randy Waldrum (392) ranks fifth among active NCAA women’s soccer coaches in career wins, and Florida State’s Mark Krikorian (319) ranks 12th. Virginia’s Steve Swanson, who needs one more victory to reach 300 for his career, also ranks among the top 20.
In field hockey, North Carolina’s Karen Shelton, with a career record of 554-140-9 continues her push toward becoming the all-time Division I wins leader. Maryland’s Missy Meharg (.796) and Shelton (.794) are the all-time leaders in winning percentage among head coaches with at least five years tenure.
Both Maryland’s Sasho Cirovski (.715) and Virginia’s George Gelnovatch (.692) rank among the top 10 NCAA Division I men’s soccer coaches in winning percentage. And on the volleyball front, Florida State’s Chris Poole owns 684 victories in his quest to become the 19th coach in Division I history to reach 700 wins.