July 29, 2011
After 10 years as Vanderbilt’s head women’s soccer coach, Coach Ronnie Woodard has announced her retirement, effective immediately. Vice Chancellor David Williams appointed current assistant Derek Greene as interim head coach.
Woodard, the 2005 SEC Co-Coach of the Year, cited the desire to spend time with family as her primary reason for stepping down.
“This is something I have been considering for some time,” she said. “The addition of my son Thomas has created a whole new world for me. And even though I know I will miss coaching, I think it is best if I focus my energies on my family for now. I have enjoyed my years here and wish the program nothing but the best. I want to thank my team and former players and coaches for what they helped accomplish. And although the timing is not ideal, I am confident in the abilities of both Coach Greene and Coach Vecchio to lead the program to a successful future.”
“I want to thank Ronnie for her 10 years as our coach and wish her the best,” Williams said. “Her teams represented Vanderbilt with class. We will assign her some administrative duties to help assist in her transition from coaching.”
Woodard’s teams excelled on several fronts. Academically the soccer program was among the best on campus. Recent graduate Molly Kinsella was a first-team ESPN Academic All-America. In 2005 Woodard’s program earned Vanderbilt’s Tolbert Cup, awarded to the team that best combines athletic, academic and community service excellence.
Woodard, who guided the Commodores to seven SEC Tournament berths, also coached All-American goal keeper Tyler Griffin, who is being inducted into the Vanderbilt Athletic Hall of Fame in September. During Woodard’s tenure, the team’s best season came in 2005 when it went 16-3-3 and advanced to the SEC semi-final round.
Williams has been impressed with both Greene’s work since arriving in the spring of 2010.
“We are very fortunate that we have such leadership and coaching talent on our program,” Williams said. “Derek Greene has already made a significant impact on our program and I have every confidence in him and his ability to lead us to success.”
Greene has been on the Commodore staff for one year and has 18 years of coaching experience on a variety of levels including with two Southeastern Conference programs. For Greene, this is an opportunity that he has been preparing for since he got into coaching.
"I want to thank Ronnie for giving me the chance to be at a great university such as Vanderbilt,” he said. “We have known each other for over 10 years and I know this has been a hard decision for her. I am happy for her and am glad she is going to get to do what she wants and spend more time with her family.
“This is one of the most prestigious institutions in the country,” Greene continued, “and nothing is stopping Vanderbilt soccer from achieving the same standard the school has set academically on a national stage. With the pre-season camp almost upon us, my priority is squarely upon our team and program. I am prepared for the opportunities ahead and we look forward with anticipation as we continue building a great program.”
Greene was previously the associate head coach at Ole Miss where he helped guide the Rebels to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a second-round appearance in 2003. In addition, Ole Miss captured the 2005 SEC Western Division title while finishing second overall in the conference during the regular season. In 2005-06, Ole Miss had a 15-game SEC regular season unbeaten streak, ranking as the second longest unbeaten streak in conference play at that time.
While in Oxford, Greene helped recruited six SEC All-Freshman team selections, one SEC Freshman of the Year and four freshman All-Americans. In his seven years at Ole Miss, the Rebels posted the fourth highest winning percentage in league play over that span.
Greene also served as the head coach at Division II Carson-Newman for four years, along with collegiate stops at Belmont and Tennessee. He is a Knoxville native; he and his wife, Gail, are parents of a one-year old son, Max.
Vanderbilt’s official web site will carry an in-depth interview with Greene in the upcoming days.