A native of Liverpool, England, Abel returns to Norman as an assistant after serving as the Sooner's goalkeeper coach during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Over the past two years, Abel worked with the Cougar goalkeepers and Potter at Washington State.
"To have a coach of Graeme's caliber speaks to the ambition of the program we are trying to build here at the University of Oklahoma." Potter said. "Graeme has familiarity with the University and within the state, and has established ties in the region.
"He is an outstanding coach with an expertise in goalkeeping. He has the background, pedigree and track record to show he can develop student-athletes on and off the field. He has performed on the highest of stages and coached at the national team level."
In 2011, Washington State enjoyed one of its best seasons in program history with Potter at the helm and Abel working with the goalkeepers. The Cougars won 12 games a year ago and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, anchored by a defense that limited the opposition to one goal or less in 20 of the 23 games played. In addition, freshman goalkeeper Gurveen Clair posted seven of the team's nine shutouts last season with a 0.74 goals-against average. The nine shutouts ranks fourth all-time at Washington State and even more impressive, six of the shutouts came in Pac-12 play, a conference that produced the 2011 NCAA National Champion in Stanford.
"I believe Graeme's desire and goals mirror that of the athletic department and my own expectations and philosophy," added Potter. "We have an established working relationship that can only blossom in Norman as we look to further establish ourselves in the women's collegiate game. It truly is an exciting time for our current student-athletes and a great opportunity and environment for future prospects and their families."
In 2008, Abel made his first trek to Norman to help then-head coach Nicole Nelson reestablish the program. In addition to working with the OU goalkeepers, Abel also assisted with the program's recruiting efforts and helped recruit several of the Sooners on the current roster. Also while on the OU staff, Abel worked a camp with the Under-20 U.S. Women's National Team in 2009, while also working with the Region III Olympic Development Program.
"It's exciting to come back to OU and I'm looking forward to helping Matt push the program on to new heights and achievements," said Abel. "I'd like to thank Matt for allowing me such an opportunity. My time with him at Washington State was extremely enjoyable and I'm both eager and excited to replicate such an environment here in Norman."
Before Oklahoma and Washington State, Abel wok red three years as Nevada's goalkeepers coach. With Abel on staff, Nevada enjoyed 30 wins and three straight trips to the Western Athletic Conference tournament, including the 2006 WAC Championship and the program's only NCAA tournament appearance in 2006. In addition, Abel's pupils anchored a Nevada defense that recorded 23 shutouts in three seasons (Nevada had three in program history prior to his arrival). He also handled aspects relating to compliance and recruiting with the soccer program.
In addition, the 2006 Wolf Pack recorded a school-record 13 wins and ranked second in the conference in goals allowed and goals-against average. Nevada's goalkeepers posted 12 shutouts, a 0.61 goals-against average and allowed just 14 goals in 2006, all program bests.
Prior to his stint in Nevada, Abel was an assistant coach for the men's and women's teams at Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky., where he spent the 2004 season leading the Bearcats' goalkeepers.
Abel also has experience in other levels of the sport. He was the head goalkeeper coach for the Nevada Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program and served as an Olympic Development Program Coach with Kentucky Youth Soccer. He has also worked with the Region IV ODP and NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches' Association of America) Goalkeeper staffs.
Abel started his collegiate playing career at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., from 1999-2000, where he led the program to National Championship, before transferring to Brescia University to complete his eligibility. He earned All-America honors during his only year at Lindsey Wilson College and also was named the NAIA National Tournament MVP in 1999. At Brescia, Abel again earned All-America honors in 2003 and was named the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Association (KIAC) Conference Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003.
A 2004 graduate of Brescia University, Abel has an Advanced National Diploma and a Level II goalkeeping license, both from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA.) He also holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National "B" coaching license.
He also played professionally in England, his native country.
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 20, 2013