The Michigan women’s soccer team is without a coach for the first time since the program’s beginning.
Debbie Rademacher, who accepted the head coaching position before the Wolverines’ inaugural 1994 season, resigned from her post yesterday.
Rademacher was hired by then-Athletic Director Joe Roberson to build a team from scratch following the University’s 1993 decision to give women’s soccer varsity status.
In her 14 seasons at the helm, Rademacher compiled a 160-108-37 (.585) record. She led the Wolverines to two Big Ten Tournament championships along with four regular-season top-two finishes in conference.
Rademacher’s Michigan teams also went to nine NCAA tournament appearances, making it to the Elite Eight in 2002 and the Sweet 16 in 2003.
“It has been 14 great years at Michigan for me,” Rademacher said through the Athletic Department. “But I’ve decided – with a new baby and another young son – to focus on being at home with my family.”
While most startup programs take years to find their footing, Rademacher had immediate success with the Wolverines, making a run to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament in her first season.
But Michigan has steadily declined in recent years. The Wolverines have posted 20 total wins and made just one NCAA Tournament appearance – a first-round exit in 2006 – over the past three seasons.
This year, Michigan (1-5-4 Big Ten, 3-9-6 overall) posted its lowest win total and its worst-ever conference finish (ninth).
But nothing can overshadow the job Rademacher did in building the program from nothing just 14 years ago.
“Debbie should be proud of her record and her commitment to academic success,” Athletic Director Bill Martin said through the Athletic Department. “There are very few people in any sport that have built programs at two schools and have stayed on this long with success.”
Added associate Athletic Director Bitsy Ritt through the athletic department: “We are deeply indebted for her service to help build this program.”
The search for Rademacher’s replacement will begin immediately, according to the Athletic Department.