NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Randy Waldrum, head women’s soccer coach at the University of Notre Dame since 1999 and the architect of Fighting Irish national championship teams in 2004 and 2010, announced his resignation on Friday to pursue a pro job.
The Houston Dash, an expansion franchise in the National Women's Soccer League will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. ET (2 p.m. CT) Monday to announce Waldrum’s hiring as its new head coach.
The NWSL is a 2nd year U.S. professional women's soccer league.
Notre Dame assistant coaches Dawn Greathouse and Corey Holton will share oversight of the Fighting Irish program’s day-to-day operations on an interim basis while a national search is conducted to identify Waldrum’s successor.
“Randy has taken our women’s soccer program to new heights, both on the field and in the classroom,” said Jack Swarbrick, University vice president and director of athletics. “He has been such a great leader for us, precisely because he built a truly elite program in a way that reflects Notre Dame’s core values. His passion for this University and its women’s soccer program is unquestioned and is further reflected in his willingness to assist us as we transition to new leadership for the program.
“We wish Randy all the best as he begins this new chapter in his very successful career,” Swarbrick added. “We also look forward to building upon the tremendous foundation that he laid as we continue to compete as one of the elite women’s soccer programs in the country.”
“This is a very difficult day for me as I’m leaving the absolute best university in the country, yet excited about a new challenge that lies before me,” Waldrum said. “I want to thank (University President) Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for all they have done for me over the years and for supporting our program in a way that has allowed us to be one of the premier programs in the country. I’m proud of the fact that in 15 seasons here at Notre Dame, we competed in eight College Cups, five national championship games and won two national titles. However, what I’m most proud of is seeing how all of our players have graduated and gone on to do so many special things with their lives, making such a positive impact in society. Every player that has come through our program has given me memories that will last a lifetime, and I couldn’t ask for more.
“My decision basically came down to me wanting to get back to Texas and spending some time with my family,” he continued. “I’ve been away for a long time, and I am about to become a grandfather for the first time. I want to be there to watch my granddaughter grow up and I hope that everyone can appreciate that. The opportunity to do this was provided by the Houston Dash, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of building a new expansion team, and all that goes along with coaching in a pro environment. At the same time, I will never forget what everything we did here at Notre Dame. I’m proud of every player, past and present, who has worn the Fighting Irish uniform and will miss all of them immensely. Please know that Notre Dame will always be in my heart, and will always be special to me.
“This list of people to thank would be way too long to mention, yet I trust each and every one of you realize how much I appreciate you for all of your support over the years,” Waldrum concluded. “I look forward to following the team next year, and without a doubt, I’ll be this group’s biggest supporter as they compete to win another national championship next fall. To our alumni and all of Irish Nation — my deepest thanks for all of your support and for making me realize what it means to be part of the Notre Dame family!”
A two-time National Coach of the Year and the winningest coach in program history, Waldrum compiled a 292-58-17 (.819) record in his 15 seasons at Notre Dame and departs as one of the most successful and accomplished coaches in the 127-year history of Fighting Irish athletics. He is one of only seven coaches (in any sport) to lead Notre Dame to multiple national championships, an elite list that includes football legends Knute Rockne (3), Frank Leahy (4) and Ara Parseghian (2), as well as heralded fencing skippers Michael DeCicco (4), Yves Auriol (2) and current Fighting Irish fencing coach Janusz Bednarski (3).
Highlighted by the 2004 and 2010 NCAA titles, Waldrum guided Notre Dame to eight NCAA Women’s College Cup appearances in his 15-year stay, including five trips to the national championship match — all three totals (titles, finals appearances, College Cup berths) rank second in NCAA Division I history.
What’s more, Waldrum led the Fighting Irish to 12 BIG EAST Conference regular season crowns and seven BIG EAST postseason titles during his tenure (earning five BIG EAST Coach of the Year citations along the way), as well as a 76-41-6 (.642) mark against teams ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25 poll.
A highly-respected teacher of the game and a past president of the NSCAA, Waldrum coached five National Players of the Year (including three Hermann Trophy recipients), 28 All-Americans and 20 Academic All-Americans since his arrival at Notre Dame in 1999. He also helped represent his country as a member of the U.S. Soccer staff since 1992, recently completing a successful stint as head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team from January 2012-October 2013.
A 1981 graduate of Midwestern State University, Waldrum previously coached the women’s soccer programs at Tulsa (1989-94) and Baylor (1996-98), amassing a 24-year record of 399-108-29 (.771) to rank fifth in NCAA Division I history for both career wins and winning percentage.
Waldrum, a native of Irving, Texas, and his wife, Dianna, have a son, Ben, who now makes his home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his wife, Lindsey as the couple awaits the birth of their first child in the near future.