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Tara Erickson is entering her eighth season as head coach of the University of Oregon women’s soccer program, and 12th season overall as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level. Erickson, a former All-Pac-10 player and the 2006 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is UO’s all-time winningest coach with a seven-year mark of 62-61-16. She is 91-99-26 in 11 seasons overall as a head coach.
Playing in the newly formed Pac-12 Conference, Erickson was not afraid to put new faces out on the pitch during the 2011 season as she worked freshmen into the rotation. Oregon tallied 19 goals on the season and the freshmen contigent of Shanelle Simien (1) and Bri Pugh (4) and Ally Aschbacher (1) added six of those goals. Erickson led Oregon to a season-opening 4-0-1 unbeaten streak, including a scoreless draw with then-#16 Santa Clara in the Oregon Nike Tournament. The Ducks played seven ranked opponents during the 2011 campaign, including four straight to end the season and highlighted their tough schedule with a 1-0 win over then-#18 Washington State on Oct. 23 in Eugene. In the season finale, the much anticipated Civil War, Erickson led the Ducks to a 1-1 tie against the Beavers, marking the third time in five years that the teams tied in the series.
Under Erickson's direction, Scout Libke and Bri Pugh received all-conference nods, while Libke became the first Duck since 2006 to earn a NSCAA All-Region selection. Erickson's Ducks capped off the 2011 campaign with eight being tabbed to the Pac-12 All-Academic list.
Continuing with the trend of forming new alliances, Erickson was on hand on Oct. 27, 2011 when the University of Oregon athletic department broke ground on the new state-of-the-art soccer and lacrosse facility. Adding more excitement to the program, Erickson made the announcement on Feb. 3, 2012 to bring in Portland-native Paul Karver to her coaching fold.
Erickson’s coaching reach isn’t limited to the Pac-12 Conference, as she spent two years with the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team coaching staff from 2009-10. She also coached at the U.S. Super Team Camp in 2008, working with both the U-20 and U-18 teams at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Erickson redefined the Oregon soccer program in 2009 when she brought in assistant coaches Lauren Hanson and Mac Wilson. Hanson, the associate head coach, came from perennial power Portland where she won NCAA National Championships as both a player (2002) and a coach (2005). Wilson, a long-time fixture in the Oregon club, high school and ODP soccer communities, served both as head coach and director in all three settings.
As a result of those hires, UO’s recruiting footprint has now expanded into seven states and provinces, recently tapping into Colorado, Georgia and Texas’ strong recruiting base. Over a third of those new Ducks have competed at an elite level with ODP and U.S./Canadian National Team programs.
In 2010, Erickson led Oregon to its most league wins and best home record since the 2006 campaign. Erickson became the all-time wins leader in UO’s 2-1 non-league victory over San Diego State in September, passing Bill Steffen who had 49 wins in nine seasons at the helm. Senior forward Jen Stoltenberg had 12 goals and five assists for a school-record 29 total points, becoming UO’s all-time career points leader in the process. Stoltenberg earned first team all-conference honors for her play, the first Duck to receive those accolades since 2006 (Nicole Garbin).
UO also had a banner year in the classroom, with 10 total players being recognized as part of the Pac-10 All-Academic teams, the most of any Erickson-coached team. In addition, Stoltenberg was named a Third Team Scholar All-America by the NSCAA.
During the 2009 season, Oregon won eight of its first 10 matches ranking the Ducks as high as No. 18 in the NCAA’s RPI report and No. 14 in the Soccer America Women’s Top 25 poll. UO’s strong non-conference mark (8-2-1) included wins over then No. 15 Colorado and No. 21 Denver. Freshman midfielder Scout Libke was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and junior forward Jen Stoltenberg was named honorable mention all-conference for the second consecutive season. The Ducks also had eight student-athletes recognized as part of the Pac-10 Conference’s All-Academic teams.
The Ducks went 9-9-2 in 2008, highlighted by seven consecutive matches without a loss where UO went 6-0-1 from Sept. 5 through Oct. 3. Six Oregon players were named to the Pac-10 Conference’s All-Academic First and Second teams, the most of any school. Senior defender Nicole Dobrzynski (Business Administration, 3.81 GPA) was named the Pac-10’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Sophomore forward Jen Stoltenberg was named honorable mention all-league, while freshman goalkeeper Cody Miles earned Pac-10 All-Freshman Team accolades.
The 2007 squad saw the Ducks post their highest goal total in six years. The team’s 0-0 tie with No. 5 Stanford was a highlight to an 8-8-4 mark as Erickson coached defender Dylann Tharp to all-league honors.
The 2006 season was a high mark in school history with the Ducks posting their best-ever finish in the Pac-10 -- second with a 6-1-2 record. The team also established strong defensive marks in allowing just 17 goals (0.81 GAA) and going 12-6-2 overall. Oregon defeated the highest-ranked program in school history -- No. 3 UCLA (2-1, 2OT) and toppled USC for the first time ever. Erickson also led the Ducks to its first Pac-10 road sweep (at Arizona and Arizona State) and mentored Pac-10 Player of the Year Nicole Garbin, also the school’s first. Defender Danielle Sweeney was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, while Jessie Chatfield, Nicole Dobrzynski and Darcie Gardner were all honored on the Pac-10’s All-Academic Team.
Erickson’s first season, 2005, produced just the second non-losing record in program history (9-9-1) and the Ducks recorded their first wins ever over Washington and an Atlantic Coast Conference school (North Carolina State). The Ducks also posted an improvement of five games over the previous year’s 3-13-3 mark.
Erickson also helped Garbin earn All-Pac-10 Second Team honors and goalkeeper Chatfield pick up Pac-10 All-Freshman recognition.
Her student-athletes have done well in the classroom, with Caitlin Gamble earning the program’s first Academic All-America First Team award in 2005 -- becoming just the fifth UO woman to accomplish that feat. Gamble was also a District and Pac-10 All-Academic First Team honoree. In six years, Erickson has amassed 19 Pac-10 All-Academic First and Second Team selections.
The native of Puyallup, Wash., took over in Eugene after guiding a zero-win Portland State Viking program to a 13-5-4 mark in 2002 and a share of the Big Sky regular season title in 2004.
Overall, she posted a 29-38-10 record in four seasons (2001-04) at PSU and was tabbed Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2002. Prior to that, she served as an assistant coach at Washington (1996-2000) following a decorated career as a Husky midfielder from 1992-96.
In her four seasons with the Vikings, Erickson transformed one of the Big Sky’s least successful teams into one of its best. She inherited a team that went 5-31-0 the previous two years (1999-2000) and two seasons later, had PSU in the Big Sky tournament championship game. Her squad led the league in scoring and allowed the fewest goals against in becoming only the second PSU coach in any sport to receive the leagues’ coach of the year award.
She coached the Vikings to a 13-5-4 record in 2002 and an 8-8-3 mark in 2004, when she shared the regular season title with a 4-1-1 conference record.
Individually, her players combined for 10 Big Sky First Team All-Conference honors (including five in 2002 and four in 2004), seven second team league honors, three newcomer of the year awards and 18 player of the week accolades (including a school record eight in 2004).
In 2002, Katie Miyake became the first PSU player to win the Big Sky Golden Boot Award as the leading conference point-scorer, and Jamie Blakesley took the honor in 2004. In the classroom, her Portland State players were equally successful with 25 conference all-academic honors.
In Oregon and Washington soccer circles, Erickson is well-known as former head coach for the Region IV Olympic Development Program (ODP), and head coach of the Washington State ODP U-16 team in 1997 and ‘98. She also served as head girl’s soccer coach at The Northwest School in Seattle in 2000 and guided the team to the state playoffs.
As a player at Washington, the former Tara Bilanski was a three-time team MVP, four-year letterwinner and captain during her collegiate career from 1992-95. As a junior and senior, she was tabbed to the Pac-10 All-Conference First Team and All-America West Team, while helping the Huskies to the first two NCAA Tournament appearances in school history.
She finished with school single-season records for goals (12), assists (6) and points (30), and notched a pair of hat tricks and three-assist games. She still ranks among the top five in school history in virtually every statistical category: third in goals (27), fourth in points (74), fifth in shots (175), assists (20), game-winning goals (7) and sixth in career starts (74).
After college, she was a player-coach for the Washington State Select Women from 1997-99, and played professionally one season in Germany for FSV Frankfurt.
She graduated from Washington with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1996.
Erickson (8-26-73) is married to Kraig Erickson. The couple have a son Maklain and a daughter Taj.
|ERICKSON COACHING HISTORY|
|Total (11 years)||91-99-26|
|Oregon (7 years)||62-61-16|