Crittenden Named SFA Head Soccer Coach
Jan. 28, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Former Texas A&M assistant Wally Crittenden has been named the eighth Stephen F. Austin head soccer coach in school history, announced Director of Athletics Robert Hill Monday afternoon. Crittenden replaces Tony Amato who stepped down in December to become the head coach at the University of Arizona.
"I am most impressed with Coach Crittenden and his vision for SFA soccer," Hill said. "This isn't a rebuilding job, instead it's an opportunity to move our soccer program to a higher level. I am confident that we have found the right person to make this happen."
Crittenden has spent the past three seasons in College Station assisting a nationally ranked Texas A&M team that has recorded a combined 52-16-6 (.743) record. During that stretch the Aggies won two Big 12 crowns, and the 2012 SEC West Division title, advancing to the NCAA Championships all three seasons. The Aggies climbed as high fifth in the polls, and set program records for most shutouts in a season, most consecutive scoreless minutes and fewest goals allowed.
"I want to thank the leadership here at Stephen F. Austin for this great opportunity," Crittenden said. "Dr. Pattillo, Athletics Director Robert Hill, Associate Athletics Director Matt Fenley and the rest of the search committee have been outstanding throughout this entire process. I was very excited when these conversations began and from the second I stepped on campus and experienced the support for the players and the program first hand, I knew this is where my family and I needed to be. I have been a fan of the SFA soccer program for many years, dating all the way back to my time at Oklahoma. There have been some great coaches in its history and they have all helped prepare the program for this next step. I look forward to the future and know that our players and support staff are poised to utilize the program's past success as a catalyst for our future ambitions."
"I want to thank my great friends in College Station involved in youth sports, as well as the talented coaches and administrators I have worked with at Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Oklahoma," Crittenden said. "I would like to express a special thanks to the Texas A&M players as well as the soccer staff in G, Phil, Lori, Paul, Curt and Andi. It has been a very special three seasons and good luck in your preparations for next year. To the members and staff of the Texans and Challenge Aggieland soccer clubs, thank you for all of the hours you invested in providing the best opportunities for young people to succeed. I will forever treasure my time there and wish you all the very best as you move forward."
Crittenden helped guide a Texas A&M defense that ranked among the nation's elite in their transition to a new conference. The Aggies led the league and finished fifth nationally in scoring with a 0.51 goals against average.
While on staff with the Aggies, Crittenden was also the Technical Director for both the Challenge and Texans Aggieland divisions. The club divisions aimed to help extend the access to top-level coaching and player development opportunities to the young players of College Station and surrounding rural areas.
Another major initiative that Crittenden was passionate about while in College Station was the creation of the Brazos Valley Youth Sports Foundation, which offered a youth leadership institute, amongst other free programming, to area youth ages 13-18. Crittenden was recognized as a 2012 University of Nebraska Young Alumni Award Winner for his contributions in starting this non-profit.
Prior to his move to the Lone Star State, Crittenden made coaching stops at University of Oklahoma and the University of Nebraska. During his time in Norman, Okla., Crittenden made a name for himself as defensive-minded coach. The Sooners set program records for fewest goals against, lowest goals against average and most shutouts by a goalkeeper.
Crittenden has also served on the coaching and instructor staffs for the South Texas Youth Soccer Association, the Region III ODP Staff the ECNL PDP staff, as well as at Lynn University.
Crittenden is an active member in the USSF (United States Soccer Federation), where he has earned a USSF "A" License and a National Goalkeeper Certificate. He is also an active member of the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association), where he has earned the NSCAA National Goalkeeper Certificate.
Crittenden received his Bachelors of Education Degree in Sports Management from Florida International University (1998-03), where he also played soccer from 1998-02. In the 1998 season he was named an Under-18 ODP All-American and was a member of the US Under-20 National Team. Crittenden received his Masters Degree in Higher Education from the University of Nebraska (2007-10).
What Others Are Saying About Crittenden
G Guerrieri, Head Women's Soccer Coach at Texas A&M
Neal Ellis, Director of Coaching South Texas Youth Soccer Association
Christian Michner, Head Women's Soccer Coach at College of Charleston