Women's Soccer | Friday, February 15, 2008
Willamette Hires Hillary Arthur as Head Women's Soccer Coach
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University has hired Hillary Arthur to be its next head women's soccer coach. Arthur, who guided the women's soccer program at Western Nevada College in the NJCAA the past three seasons, will join the Bearcats for part of their spring practice schedule and will be at Willamette full-time starting this summer.
"Hillary brings a passion and enthusiasm for soccer that is contagious. She has proven her ability to build and lead competitive teams," said Director of Athletics Mark Majeski. "We're very excited to bring Hillary on board to continue the great tradition of women's soccer at Willamette."
Arthur replaces Jim Tursi, who coached the WU women's soccer team for 15 seasons. He achieved a 237-53-23 (.794) record and led the Bearcats to postseason play 10 times. The 1998 and 2001 teams reached the NCAA Final Four. Willamette's 2006 team, the most recent Bearcat squad to advance to the NCAA Tournament, finished 16-2-3.
Willamette faced a rebuilding year in 2007 following the graduation of six seniors. The Bearcats started slowly, going 2-5-1 in their first eight games, but ended the season strong to finish at 8-9-2 overall, 7-7-2 in the Northwest Conference.
The Bearcats had no seniors on the 2007 team, so WU will return a significant nucleus of players next fall. Willamette was particularly strong on defense last season, as the Bearcats recorded seven shutouts.
Arthur stood out in the job search because of her playing and coaching experience, as well as the positive interactions she had with WU Athletics Department coaches and staff members during her on-campus interview.
"I want to thank Mark Majeski and the entire search committee for choosing me to be the program's next coach," Arthur said. "The program has a rich history of success. I look forward to getting to the campus and meeting the team."
With so many returning players, Arthur doesn't have to go searching for a large recruiting class. She does, however, know several soccer players who will be seeking a new team after Western Nevada dropped its women's soccer program. Western Nevada decided to drop the sport after several of its opponents discontinued their women's soccer teams, leaving WNC with a difficult time arranging a full season schedule.
After building a team from scratch at WNC, Arthur looks forward to taking over WU's historically successful squad. She hopes to continue Willamette's excellent efforts on defense, while working to increase the Bearcats' offensive output.
"I definitely believe in building from the back and moving the ball up the field ... getting the midfield involved ... using our flank players," Arthur said.
As a college player, Arthur started all four years at Humboldt State University, where she played center midfielder. She was a three-year captain from 1997-99.
At HSU, she earned First Team All-Conference honors three times. As a freshman in 1996, she helped the Lumberjacks achieve a #6 national ranking and advance to the NCAA Division II Far West Regional. HSU finished second in the Northern California Athletic Conference in 1996 and 1997 and claimed Pacific West Conference championships in 1998 and 1999.
During her senior year, Arthur received a West Region Player Award and qualified for Academic All-Conference recognition. She has continued to stress the combination of academic and athletic success as a coach. Her 2007 team at Western Nevada ranked second in the NJCAA in team grade point average and her 2006 team ranked fifth..
While at WNC, Arthur led the women's soccer team during its three years of existence. In the squad's first season in 2005, she guided the Wildcats to a third place finish in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. In 2006, WNC won the Region 18 championship and advanced to the NJCAA Tournament, with Arthur being selected as the Region 18 Coach of the Year. In 2007, WNC earned second place in the Scenic West.
Prior to starting the women's soccer program at WNC, Arthur was an assistant women's soccer coach and physical education instructor at California State University-Chico for the 2001-04 seasons. She helped Cal State-Chico qualify for the NCAA Division II National Tournament in 2004.
Arthur earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation/Kinesiology from Humboldt State in 2001. She received a Master of Arts degree in Sports Psychology/Kinesiology from Cal State-Chico in 2004.
Her successful experiences as a player and a coach have Arthur looking forward to her new challenges at Willamette. She looks forward to guiding an established program in the competitive Northwest Conference.
"This is going to be a big transition year," she said. "The players are all committed to working hard and raising the level of play ... they want to get to the next level."