Women’s soccer’s Dave DiIanni receives Coach of the Year honors

GVL Archive / Taylor Raymond
Girls head soccer coach, Dave DiIanni talks with the team during practice.

GVL Archive / Taylor Raymond Girls head soccer coach, Dave DiIanni talks with the team during practice.

Greg Monahan

1DiIanni was named Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America last weekend in Baltimore, Md., where senior defender Jenna Wenglinski also accepted her Player of the Year award.

The award marks the second time DiIanni received Coach of the Year honors after he received the accolade for the first time in 2006.

“Winning (Coach of the Year) was a huge honor,” said DiIanni, who is in his eighth season as the Lakers’ head coach. “The past six weeks have been very rewarding to the program. The student-athletes here are just top notch. The commitment level they’ve given in the classroom and on the field has just been unbelievable, and that’s where it all comes from.”

DiIanni led the Lakers to a 22-1-2 record this season, and the team set an NCAA record with 21 shutouts in 24 games. In his eight years, DiIanni has a 157-15-10 record, good for a .890 winning percentage.

“Coach Dave is so soccer smart,” said sophomore goalkeeper Chelsea Parise. “He knows how to get the best players that fit into his program not only talent-wise but personality, too. Chemistry is what builds a great team, that is the difference between a good team and a great one, and Coach Dave masters at creating a dynamic team.”

The most recent season may have been the most remarkable of DiIanni’s tenure at GVSU. In addition to the 22 wins, his team scored 93 goals and surrendered just five.

The 2010 team set additional records by scoring 17 goals and allowing zero in four NCAA Tournament games. GVSU also shut out each opponent in all 15 home games to go 15-0 on the Lakers’ home turf.

“Being the head coach of a team that went back-to-back says enough, but when you also weigh in all the records we broke, that says something, too,” Parise said. “I don’t think there was another coach that could have even given Coach Dave a run.”

Midfielder Kristin Eible, a senior, described DiIanni as a tough, demanding coach who also knows how to keep a relaxed atmosphere on the team. Eible said she felt honored to play under DiIanni throughout her collegiate career.

“I would hands-down say he is the best coach I’ve ever had,” she said. “What he’s done for this program has been huge, and my personal growth from my freshman year to my senior year was incredible as both a person and a player.”

In his eight years as head coach, DiIanni said he has learned not only how to better handle not only his players, but also himself.

“I’m more at ease with my abilities as a coach,” he said. “I understand that I can coach at this level, I can be successful and lead a group of individuals, and I always have their best interest in mind with the decisions I make.”

Though, he added, some things have remained the same.

“From the first year to the eighth year, we’re still bringing in unbelievable people into our program,” he said. “The players and staff I’ve worked with are a privilege to coach and have made my job pretty easy.”

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