OMAHA, Neb. - After a successful season with the Bluejays in 2010, Creighton men's soccer head coach Jamie Clark has resigned to fill the head coaching vacancy at the University of Washington, it was announced Wednesday. Creighton Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen has announced the search to replace Clark is already underway.
"This is obviously a bittersweet time for many of us," said Rasmussen. "When we hired Jamie this past summer we believed he was one of the outstanding soccer coaches in the country, and during his time here, Jamie exceeded our expectations in every way. While we are disappointed to lose him, we thank him for his influence and commitment to our men's soccer program, and wish him the best of luck at Washington."
Clark spent just one season in Omaha, leading the Bluejays to a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship in 2010. The Bluejays posted a 5-1-1 record in conference play, earning Clark and his staff MVC Coaching Staff of the Year honors. Creighton earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, defeating New Mexico 4-1 in the first round before being eliminated in penalty kicks following a 2-2 draw at seventh-ranked SMU in the second round.
"We continue to believe we have one of the elite soccer programs in the country," added Rasmussen. "While at Creighton, Jamie, his staff, and most importantly, his student-athletes, represented themselves, their program, Creighton University and the community of Omaha with passion, with intelligence and with character - in short, they modeled the mission of Creighton. Nothing we have done or will do as a soccer program or athletics department will come close to replicating the greatness of Creighton as a University committed to fulfilling its mission.
"The Creighton men's soccer program has appeared in the NCAA tournament 18 of the past 19 years and will appear in more. We have won the MVC tournament 11 times, and the MVC regular season championship 10 times, and we will win more in the future. All of the ingredients for us to continue to be one of the outstanding college soccer programs in the country are in place here but one - we need to replace our coaching staff, and we will work as hard as we can as quickly as we can to get that part of the equation completed.
"My first priority is to the young men in our program today. They are, and always have been the core of our program. My next priority is to the young men who committed to attend Creighton University. I am certain that they, and their families, have many questions and concerns at this time - and we will do everything we can to address those concerns."
Creighton finished the season 13-5-2 and ranked 14th in the final NSCAA poll of 2010, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time in 19 seasons. The Bluejays return their top six scorers and eight starters from the 2010 team next year, including MVC Player of the Year and National Player of the Year candidate Ethan Finlay. Finlay led the MVC with 15 goals and 34 points and will enter his senior season tied for sixth in school history with 29 career goals. Finlay is one of four first-team all-MVC performers returning for the Jays, alongside midfielders Dion Acoff, Jose Gomez and Greg Jordan.
The Jays also return three-year starting goalkeeper Brian Holt, who already owns the school record with 27 career shutouts entering his senior campaign. Holt carries a 36-11-8 career record and 0.79 career goals against average. MVC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American Tyler Polak, who played the most minutes of any Bluejay field player last year, is also back on defense for Creighton.
"We will immediately begin the process of finding a new head men's soccer coach," said Rasmussen.