Bob Warming, the 2008 National Coach of the Year as named by FieldTurf Tarkett, begins his 14th season as Creighton’s leader. Creighton’s all-time winningest soccer coach has established the Bluejays and himself in an elite soccer class by continuing a tradition of excellence which he began in Omaha two decades ago. The Bluejays, who annually rank among national attendance leaders and play at one of the finest collegiate soccer stadiums in the country, are annually poised for a run at the national title, as evidenced by their 17 straight NCAA berths.
Now in his 32nd season as a collegiate coach, his imprint in NCAA history continues to grow, as he enters the season ranked sixth among active NCAA Division I coaches and 15th in Division I history with 376 career victories. He also is one of only two coaches in Division I to take two different programs to the College Cup (Final Four).
Warming enters his ninth season in his second stint with the Bluejays, after leading the Bluejays from 1990-94. Since his return to Omaha in 2001, the Bluejays have continued an astounding feat by having at least one player selected in each MLS Draft. Creighton is the only college program in the country to have a player selected in every MLS Draft ever held. In fact, since 1993 42 former Bluejays have gone on to play professional soccer.
His 183 career wins at Creighton are the best in school history. His record in a cumulative 13 years at the helm is 183-57-29 (.734), with a home record of 102-16-14 (.826) and an overall Valley record of 60-13-7 (.794). He has guided the Jays to seven Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championships, seven MVC Tournament championships and has led 11 Bluejay squads to the NCAA Tournament.
After resurrecting a dormant Creighton program in 1990 and establishing the Jays as a powerhouse in the 1990s, Warming went on to a successful four-year stint as head coach at Saint Louis University, before returning to Omaha prior to the 2001 season. Since his return, his teams have appeared in eight straight NCAA tournaments and with his help, CU has built and moved into a state of the art, on-campus, soccer-specific stadium and ranked in the NCAA top 10 in attendance every year since 2003.
In 2008, Warming led the Bluejays to their second consecutive one-loss regular-season, a 15-match unbeaten streak, MVC regular-season and tournament titles and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight. The Jays, who were atop the Midwest Region rankings for the final eight weeks of the regular-season and were also in the top-five in every major poll for the final eight weeks, posted a second straight undefeated MVC season for their third consecutive Valley title. Creighton led the nation in shutout percentage (.650), posting a school record 13 clean sheets, while it finished second in the NCAA in goals against average (0.48). First-team All-American Andrei Gotsmanov was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy. In addition to his National Coach of the Year honor, Warming also guided the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year, was named the NSCAA/Midwest Region Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame in the spring of 2009.
Warming’s 2007 squad lost just one regular-season match and earned the eighth seed as an at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament. An 11-match unbeaten streak highlighted the season, while Matt Allen became the first player in league history to twice earn MVC Defensive Player of the Year honors as CU shared its second straight MVC regular-season crown.
In 2006, the Bluejays captured both the MVC regular-season and tournament titles, accomplishing the sweep for the first time since 1995. For the second time in school history, four players from one squad moved on to play professional soccer as Michael Kraus was joined by Ryan Junge and Andrew Peterson in MLS and Pietari Holopainen returned to his homeland to play professionally in Finland. Warming was also honored as the coach of the MVC All-Centennial team, as the conference celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Warming was tabbed the 2005 NSCAA/adidas Midwest Region Coach of the Year, in guiding the Bluejays to a 15-5-3 mark and MVC tournament title. The Bluejays led the MVC and ranked among NCAA leaders in both offense and defense. Helped by All-American Matt Wieland and MVC Freshman of the Year Byron Dacy, the Bluejays advanced to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals for the third time in four years.
Before a 14-4-2 campaign in 2004 produced an NCAA third round appearance, the 2003 Bluejays captured their first regular-season Valley championship since 1996 and ended the season in the NCAA quarterfinals.
In 2002, Warming guided his squad to the NCAA semifinals in just his second season back in Omaha. The Jays won the MVC tournament title to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA postseason. The Jays played host to a second-round NCAA match, the first NCAA match at home since 1995. Warming’s team snapped Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s 19-game winning streak, defeated third-ranked St. John’s on the road and romped past sixth-ranked Boston College, 6-2, to advance to the College Cup in Dallas. A hard-fought, double-overtime loss to Stanford ended the Jays’ season at 18-4-2.
Warming was a finalist for the NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year for his tutelage in 2002. Perhaps more notable than his team’s record in 2002, was where the Jays came from to get there. Creighton lost in the first-round of the NCAA tournament in 2001, but Warming’s well-known recruiting ability and motivating skills helped get the Jays back to the College Cup with an impressive and quick turn-around.
In his first stint at Creighton, Warming arrived in Omaha in 1989 to restart the Bluejays’ program, which had taken a four-year absence from competition. He took one year to recruit and get the program in administrative order. In their first season of competition, with a freshman-dominated roster, the Bluejays burst upon the Midwest Region scene with a 12-5-3 mark in 1990.
In its second season of competition under Warming’s leadership, Creighton climbed into the national rankings in 1991 after becoming the first visiting team to ever win the University of Virginia Tournament. The following season would prove to be the breakthrough year, as Creighton became the first team to beat traditional Midwest Region powers SMU and Saint Louis on the road in the same season with back-to-back victories on the same weekend. That feat gave the Bluejays a hold on the Region’s No. 1 ranking for 26 consecutive weeks. The Bluejays went on to claim their first MVC regular season title, Valley Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
Under Warming’s tutelage, the Jays finished an unbeaten, untied regular season (19-0-0) in 1993, which was the first time that feat had been accomplished in the NCAA since 1973. Creighton claimed the top seed in the NCAA Tournament and was the No. 1 team in the nation in the final ISAA coaches poll. The explosive success of Creighton’s program earned Warming the 1993 National Coach of the Year honor from Soccer News.
Warming reaped the rewards of success with consecutive MVC and Midwest Region Coach of the Year awards in 1992 and 1993. He was also a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors from 1991 through 1993.
Warming is not only an architect for soccer success on the field, he has helped design and raise funds for two of the finest facilities in the country. In 2003, the Bluejays played on campus for the first time in the program’s history, with the opening of the $13 million Michael G. Morrison, S.J., Stadium. The state-of-the-art facility was completed in 2004 and includes a one-of-a-kind Arena Grass synthetic surface, video replay board, covered grandstand seating and luxury suites. In 1999, while at Saint Louis, he helped return the Billikens to an upgraded on-campus facility as well, one which played host to the 2006 Men’s College Cup.
Since the Bluejays’ move to one of the best college soccer venues in the country, Warming and his winning teams have helped fill the stands and suites at Morrison Stadium, as Creighton has led the MVC and ranked in the NCAA top-10 in attendance each of the past six seasons.
Warming’s outgoing personality and marketing touch have made the Bluejays a hot ticket in Omaha once again. He originally developed the “Peanut Galleries” program in the early 1990s, tailored to elementary school children, which has since evolved into “Operation Bluejay.”
He is known as a motivator who instills a strong work ethic in his teams. Those qualities have resulted in motivational speaking appearances for such companies as IBM, the Internal Revenue Service and Xerox. Warming believes in the Creighton tradition of community service. He has served as the honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America for Nebraska and western Iowa and honorary chairman of the Omaha Children’s Crisis Center annual fund raiser.
Warming began his coaching career at Transylvania (Ky.) University for one season before moving to Berry (Ga.) College. In five seasons there, he guided Berry to four NAIA District 25 championships and was named District Coach of the Year three times. Berry was 61-22-2 (.729) under Warming after recording just a 5-11-0 record the year prior to his arrival. His Berry squads set 14 school records, and his 1981 team led the nation by averaging 5.06 goals per match. He coached 34 all-district players, two NAIA All-Americans and an NAIA Academic Athlete of the Year.
An impressive run at Charlotte preceded the Creighton success story. Warming inherited a program that had posted a 6-12-0 record in 1981 and immediately turned the program around with an 11-6-3 record in 1982. Under Warming, Charlotte won its first Sun Belt Conference title and climbed into the ISAA Top 25 national rankings for the first time – in the heart of ACC country. While at Charlotte, Warming became the youngest coach (31 at the time) to post 100 career victories. He was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year three times and posted a 67-52-17 mark in seven seasons at Charlotte.
Prior to his return to Creighton, Warming rebuilt a SLU program that had finished 6-12-0 the year before his arrival. In his first year at the SLU helm the Billikens advanced to the 1997 Final Four. In four seasons at Saint Louis, Warming’s teams won three regular-season Conference USA championships, two C-USA postseason tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament each season, while posting a record of 60-17-10 (.747).
A 1975 graduate of Berea (Ky.) College, he was a four-sport varsity letterwinner. In addition to posting a 28-2-2 record as the starting goalkeeper, he lettered in golf, swimming and tennis.
Bob and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 32 years and have four children – Emily (24), Bess (22) and twins Audrey and Grant (19).