Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Pool of soccer candidates varied

The Wisconsin men’s soccer team’s coaching search took a step today, as assistant Athletic Director John Jentz interviewed the first of the department’s top choices among nearly 100 applicants.

Jentz would not release the coach’s name, but early reports suggest it is UW-Milwaukee head coach Louis Bennett. Bennett was rumored to be on Jentz’ short list of choices since Kalekeni Mtalika Banda vacated the position Jan. 4.

The Badger Herald learned Tuesday that former Miami Fusion assistant John Trask withdrew his name from consideration after signing with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United. Wisconsin had extended an interview opportunity to Trask, according to Jentz, but the coach ultimately decided to pursue a career on the professional level.

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As a candidate, Trask was perhaps the most desirable applicant. He had experience with a high level of competition, an understanding of the college climate, after assisting Jerry Yeagley at Indiana, and is from Whitefish Bay, Wis.

Trask’s elimination furt/her narrows the group Jentz previously said included three candidates. Yale’s Brian Tompkins, another former UWM coach, withdrew from consideration several days ago.

The complete list of applicants contains at least 94 names. UW Sports Information confirmed some coaches who preferred not to be identified were left off the public list, but that all of the finalists were included regardless of requests for anonymity.

Jentz was pleased with the quality of the field.

“We have a great pool,” Jentz said. “We’ve got a number of guys who have head coaching experience. We have coaches from really good major programs as well as top assistants. We’ve got national championships represented, Final Four appearances at the various levels, so it’s a great pool to choose from.”

Bennett headlines those with head coaching experience. Previously Bennett, who is from Britain, coached high school soccer in the Milwaukee area. He took the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and posted a record 18 wins in his sixth season and won the Horizon League title.

Bennett did not return telephone messages Tuesday.

Among the top assistants who applied are Matt Stimson at Stanford, Brad Argoos at California, Kurt Dasbach at Columbia and Thomas McIntosh at Tulsa.

Current Badgers assistant Michael Johnson was labeled the interim coach when Banda resigned and applied for the permanent job as well. But Johnson says he has not arranged a formal interview with Jentz, suggesting he is not among the top choices.

“Nobody has been eliminated yet,” Jentz said. “We systematically narrowed the group. We tried to cut it in half and cut it in half and cut it in half.”

“Mike was in the top 10 we were looking at.”

Jentz, who said a priority is reconnecting with the Wisconsin soccer community, wants a coach with good local ties like Bennett and Johnson. Some names that fit the bill are Dave Morris at UW-Stout, Bob Spielman at Marquette high school in Milwaukee and John Reddan, another former Badger letter-winner who currently assists Dean Duerst with the UW’s women’s team.

Bennett is not even the only UWM coach among the candidates. Panthers women’s coach Michael Moynihan, who lettered at Wisconsin for four years from 1987-90, also applied. Moynihan was 15-5 last year and 60-29-11 overall.

Among the notable applicants was Kristen Lehrer, who in 2001 became the first woman to head a men’s NCAA soccer team when she replaced Erik Visser for one game at University of San Francisco.

Sports fans may recognize the names Steve Smith and Fernando Valenzuela. But Smith on the list is not the San Antonio Spurs’ shooting guard, nor is Valenzuela the rotund Mexican lefthander who played in the major leagues for 18 years with the Dodgers, Angels, Orioles, Phillies, Padres and Cardinals.

Hubert Vogelsinger, known for his 1989 instructional tool “Videocoach Soccer,” is included with the names that applied.

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