Ronnie Woodard is entering her ninth season as the head coach of the Vanderbilt women's soccer program.
Last season Woodard guided the Commodores to a nine-win season with a team comprised of mainly freshmen and sophomores.
Woodard led Vanderbilt to back to back NCAA tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006 and armed with back-to-back stellar recruiting classes looks forward to continuing the program's upward progression.
Soccer Buzz tabbed Vanderbilt soccer's 2006-07 recruiting class as the best in the Central Region and the SEC and ninth best in the country, the highest ever achievement for the program. The 2007-08 class was rated No. 5 in the Central Region and SEC and No. 35 nationally.
After losing the majority of starters from the two NCAA clubs, Vanderbilt fell a notch in 2007 to 6-10-3 overall and 3-6-3 in SEC play. The youthful team was competitive throughout the year with six of the losses by just a goal, including three in overtime.
In 2006 Vanderbilt went 10-4-7 overall and tied for second in the SEC with a 6-3-2 mark in league play.
The team also advanced into NCAA play for the second straight year, an achievement that had not been done at the school since the 1997-98 seasons.
In 2005, Vanderbilt sported a 16-3-3 record, which more than doubled the number of wins from the previous two seasons combined. This accomplishment did not go unnoticed by her conference peers, as she was named SEC Co-Coach of the Year. In addition, Soccer Buzz also named her Coach of the Year.
The 2005 season, which ended in a dramatic double-overtime shootout against Samford in the first round of the tournament, marked the team's second-strongest performance since 1998.
The 2005 team notched the program's best-ever winning percentage (.795), ended the season ranked among the country's top 21 in three separate polls, first in the Central region by Soccer Buzz magazine, and was second in the nation for shutout percentage (0.73).
Woodard has made great strides in building the Commodore soccer program back up in her eight years here.
Since her start with the Commodores in 2001, she has brought the team steadily closer to becoming an elite national team, rising from 5th in the SEC East in 2001 and 2002, to 4th in 2003 and 2004, 3rd in 2005 and tied for second in 2006.
Woodard has also taken the 'Dores to the SEC tournament four times. And, most recently, her team advanced to back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 2005 and 2006 for the first time in her Vanderbilt career.
She also takes great pride in developing the all-around student-athlete. In 2005-06, her team won Vanderbilt's coveted "Tolbert Cup," named in honor of Vanderbilt's former national track champion Ryan Tolbert. The Tolbert Cup is presented annually to the varsity team that sports the best combination of athletic, academic, and community service success.
Woodard is a creative coach, and she is widely regarded as an outstanding motivator. Four years ago, the Commodores built an effective team bond by adopting a unique "pirate" theme that gained significant momentum with her players.
As a player, Woodard was the goalkeeper on the inaugural Duke Blue Devil team after receiving the program's first-ever scholarship. She still ranks high in several statistical categories of the Duke record book, including leading the school in goals against average for a season and a career, and is third in career shutouts. In addition to lettering four years, Woodard found success in the classroom as well - she earned academic All-ACC honors while serving as team captain and went on to earn an undergraduate degree in sociology from Duke in 1992 and later received a master's degree in counseling in 1998 from UNC-Charlotte.
Prior to coming to Vanderbilt in 2001, Woodard held coaching positions at Duke University, North Carolina State University, North Carolina-Charlotte, and has been actively involved as a coach in the Olympic Development Program, a national identification and development program for the country's top players.
She has served as a state ODP head coach in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee and is currently one of five ODP Age Group Coaches in Region III.
Woodard has also dedicated her time coaching at many camps and youth soccer organizations.
"When I got here, I was a very young coach in terms of experience," Woodard said. "Coming here was an enormous step for me emotionally and it challenged me. Every class that I had, whether I recruited them or not, made me a stronger and better coach. I think that my philosophy has changed completely, I think that my ability to relate to players has changed, I think that my vision has changed and I owe it all to the players that were here. I've matured a lot these past seven years by diving right in and being over my head early. But eight years later I feel like both myself as a coach and this program are ready to do great things."
Woodard and her husband Tom had their first child, Thomas Woodard IV, on August 29, 2009.
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE HONORS:
- SEC Co-Coach of the Year 2005
- Soccer Buzz Coach of the Year 2005
- Developmental Team Coaching Experience
- 2006 Assistant Director - Region III
- 2003-2005 Head Coach - Region III
- 1997 - Present Staff - Region III ODP
- 1993-2003 Head Coach Tenn., Ga., S.C. ODP
The Ronnie Woodard File
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER RECORD:
COLLEGIATE COACHING EXPERIENCE:
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