Feb. 10, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. -- George Van Linder was named associate head coach of the University of Oklahoma soccer program on Wednesday. Sooners' head coach Nicole Nelson welcomes Van Linder and his 15 years of head coaching experience on the DI level to Norman.
"It is a unique opportunity to be able to add someone I consider a mentor to my staff," Nelson said. "Having worked with George at Baylor, I know that his personality is a great compliment to mine. He has an incredible soccer mind, perfectly fits the definition of a `players coach,' and will bring an energy to our program that in invaluable. He appreciates all the University of Oklahoma and Sooner athletics represents and embraces the challenge of making championships and OU soccer tradition."
Van Linder, who spent the last two years as the head coach at Stephen F. Austin, also has extensive experience in the Big 12 Conference after serving as the head coach during five seasons (2003-2007) at Baylor University. In Waco, he worked with Nelson during the 2005 campaign.
"I am impressed with the foundation that Coach Nelson has laid down and the plan in place to guide this team to the championship level in the Big 12," Van Linder said. "I am looking forward to getting started and helping her build upon the team's success.
"It is a thrill to be a part of an incredible athletic department like OU. It was impressive to see the interest that everyone here has towards the soccer team."
The Galeburg, Mich. native, has compiled a 134-107-22 record in 15 years as a collegiate head coach and hauled in recruiting classes that were ranked nationally on eight occasions. Also in that time, he coached 53 all-conference honorees and was twice named a conference coach of the year (1996 at Butler and 2000 at SMU).
During the last two years, Van Linder's clubs at Stephen F. Austin were a combined 19-15-4, and set several program records while advancing to the conference tournament on two occasions, including a second place regular season finish in 2008.
Prior to the stint in Nacogdoches, Texas, Van Linder logged five seasons as the head coach at Baylor. He led the Bears to a 2006 trip to the Big 12 Tournament, a program first since 2001. His time in Waco produced four all-conference honors, including Ashley Noah who was chosen for the U-20 U.S. National team, and 41 Academic All-Big 12 selections.
At SMU, Van Linder posted a 59-21-10 in four seasons at the helm and guided the Mustangs to four straight Western Athletic Conference regular-season championships. In 1999, SMU reached the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament, one of three postseason appearances. In all three of the NCAA Tournaments, the Mustangs won their first round game and also finished the season ranked in the top 25. The coach was named WAC Coach of the Year in 2000 and earned the Dallas Morning News Coach of the Year award in `99.
He started his collegiate head coaching career in 1996, when he took over the women's program at Butler after serving three years as an assistant for the men's team. The Bulldogs were 34-26-1 under Van Linder's direction and finished two of three seasons ranked in the national polls. Butler reached the championship game of the conference tournament all three years under Van Linder and was crowned the regular-season and tournament champions in 1996.
Van Linder worked with the Olympic Development Program since 1994 and spent spent six years as the head coach for both the boys and girls state teams with the Indiana Youth Soccer Association before taking over as the head coach for girls state teams with the North Texas Youth Soccer Association in 1999. He held that position for five years and has been a staff coach with the ODP's Region III since 2000.
Van Linder earned his United States Soccer Federation "A" license in 1990 at age 25 and at the time, was one of the youngest to received the certification. He obtained his Premier License accreditation in 2002 through the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
A 1990 graduate of Western Michigan University, Van Linder lettered on the Broncos' soccer team and earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and health education. He and his wife, Chris, have one daughter, five-year-old Mariska.