Steve Springthorpe is in his third season as Golden Eagle head coach in 2016 after guiding the Tennessee Tech soccer team to a rapid turnaround en route to one of its most successful seasons in program history in 2015. For his efforts, Springthorpe was presented with the Coach of the Year honor at the first ever Golden Wings Awards.
Springthorpe comes to the Golden Eagles after stints as head coach at North Carolina State and Fresno State as well as stops as an assistant coach at Duke University and the University of Florida.
After accumulating five wins and three draws in the previous two years combined, the Golden Eagles put together a storied 2015 campaign that featured the most conference wins in one season in school history, the highest OVC finish in 15 years, a regular season winning record for the first time in over a decade, the first postseason appearance in six years, the fewest amount of goals allowed in one season in school history and a victory over an SEC school, the first in program history.
Tech’s brisk rise towards the top in 2015 was chalk full of impressive accolades, highlighted by three All-Conference award winners, including the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honor, awarded to freshman goalkeeper Kari Naerdemann. Playing in each and every minute between the pipes, the Herne, Germany native became the first Golden Eagle to take home Defensive Player of the Year honors in 15 years after anchoring the OVC’s stingiest defense that saw TTU top the conference in goals allowed (17) and goals against average (0.83). Tech’s seven shutouts in 2015 were also the highest total in nearly 15 years, and in OVC action, the Golden Eagles set the gold standard in goals allowed with seven in 10 matches and goals against average (0.68).
Naerdemann teamed up with junior Abi Gearing on the All-Conference first team, while sophomore Karigan Owens reserved a spot on the second team after helping serve as an offensive catalyst for a Tech squad that doubled its goal total from 2014 and frequented the back of the net most often since 2011. Naerdemann and Gearing became the first Golden Eagles to take home first team honors since 2009.
Tech’s 6-3-1 conference record led them to a second place finish in the OVC, the highest finish in 15 years, while the six in the win column were the most ever in a single season. The stellar mark also pushed the Golden Eagles to a first-round bye in the OVC Tournament, putting the squad all the way into the semifinals, the furthest tournament finish since 2009.
The 2015 club proved early on that things would be different, showcasing one of its most impressive wins in program history in front of a record-setting crowd of 961 in only the second ever night match at Tech Soccer Field on Aug. 30. Having never won a match against a school from the vaunted Southeastern Conference, not even as much as a tie with an 0-11 mark against the SEC, the Golden Eagles took down the University of Alabama, 2-1, for TTU’s first win of the year.
Since Springthorpe has been at the helm of Tech soccer, taking over the program in December, 2013, the Golden Eagles have displayed tremendous success in the classroom. The 2015 squad took home the large team Academic Team of the Year accolade at the Golden Wings Awards, determined by the highest percentage of the roster to be included on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in each of the past two semesters.
In his first season at Tech, the team finished with 3.427 cumulative GPA, the highest mark amongst all TTU teams. Springthopre has carried over a tradition of strong academic prowess for Tech soccer, continued trend for the program that has now seen Tech soccer with above a 3.0 cumulative GPA for 25 consecutive semesters.
Springthorpe, 52, has been part of coaching teams to championships in the Southeastern (SEC), Western Athletic (WAC), and USA South conference.
Prior to his arrival at Tech, he wrapped up his first season with the Duke women’s soccer program during the 2013 campaign, after spending the previous four seasons as head coach at N.C. State. At Duke, Springthorpe was in charge of the goalkeepers while working with the defenders and helping with video breakdown.
Prior to a four-year run as head coach at North Carolina State, Springthorpe was head coach for four years at Fresno State. He also served five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Florida, and nine as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Methodist University.
In Springthorpe’s tenure at N.C. State, the Wolfpack witnessed a great turnaround. When Springthorpe was hired in 2009, the Wolfpack had not won a game in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play for two seasons and had not had a 10-win season since 2002. Springthorpe quickly helped turn around the program, highlighted by a 2011 season in which the Wolfpack posted a 10-8-2 record after recording a final RPI of 41.
Before his stint at N.C. State, Springthorpe served as head coach at Fresno State from 2004-08, compiling a 52-40-12 overall record, the highest winning percentage in program history, and leading the Bulldogs to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship game four-straight years, winning twice. Under Springthorpe, the Bulldogs made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2005, 2008).
Prior to leading Fresno State, Springthorpe spent five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Florida, working primarily with goalkeepers. While at Florida, Springthorpe helped the Gators to an impressive 87-28-5 mark, including three Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season titles and three SEC Tournament championships.
Springthorpe began his coaching career at his alma mater, Methodist University, in 1987. In his nine seasons as an assistant coach at Methodist, the Lady Monarchs advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals three times and the NCAA Division III championship match in 1995.
A 1987 graduate of Methodist with a degree in sociology, Springthorpe was a two-time All-South Region and three-time All-Conference selection.
Steve has four children -- Tyler (23), Lizzy (21), Westley (18) and Jackson (15).