NORMAN – University of Oklahoma head soccer coach Matt Potter announced the hiring of Paul Hart as the Sooners’ new goalkeeper coach on Wednesday.
“Paul joins us having spent time working in and working with some of the most respected programs and people in our coaching association,” Potter sad. “Paul will bring a wealth of experience and we are delighted to welcome him to OU soccer. Paul has experience in recruiting in some of the most respected and best talent pools in the country. He is a respected coaching peer who will be a great asset for not only our goalkeepers but also all our student-athletes. People spoke highly of his credentials, but more importantly about his character. We are delighted he has joined our team and accepted the challenge of helping our athletes compete for championships.”
Hart, a former professional goalkeeper, comes to Norman from the University of San Francisco where he spent the last two seasons as an associate head coach and goalkeeper coach. While Hart was at USF, the Dons went 15-22-2, with his goalkeepers posting six shutouts over the two years.
"I am excited to join such a nationally prominent program in women's college soccer,” Hart said. “Being able to work at an institution such as the University of Oklahoma where the level of athletic and academic excellence is so high was one of the motivating factors. The other motivation was to work with Coach Potter who is recognized in the coaching community as one of the best coaches in the country for developing outstanding players and people. I am looking forward to adding to the success that has already been established while supporting the staff and players help reach the next level of excellence.”
Before his stint at USF, Hart was at UC Santa Barbara where he spent two years as the head strength and conditioning coach for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams with an emphasis on sports performance and data analytics. Hart also spent two seasons as a goalkeeper coach for the Gauchos during the 2012 and 2013 seasons where he helped UCSB compile top-ranked recruiting classes each year during his tenure.
Altogether, while Hart was working with the Gauchos, UCSB won three Big West championships on the men’s side, including an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2015 and a second-round showing in 2013, and one Big West title on the women’s side in 2015.
In 2011, Hart was named NSCAA Junior College Assistant Coach of the Year for the Far West Region as a member of the staff at Santa Barbara City College, where he helped guide SBCC to a women’s Western State Conference title in 2011 and men’s conference crowns in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
With a coaching range that stretches across all levels of athletics, Hart has also served as the director of goalkeeping, Olympic Development Program coach and scout with the Cal South Youth Soccer association of Southern California, in addition to a role as the director of soccer with the Peak Performance Project, where he employed his strength and conditioning background while working with professional MLS, NBA and MLB athletes, as well as local high school and club soccer programs in training, college recruiting and injury prevention.
Hart’s playing career was highlighted by a three-year stint as a goalkeeper with the Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League from 1995 to 1998, where he took home goalkeeper of the tournament honors in 1998 in a tournament in Germany.
A standout collegiate athlete, Hart was a three-time Midwest Region goalkeeper of the year at West Texas A&M from 2000 to 2004, while earning Lone Star Conference goalkeeper of the year distinction all four years of his career. He graduated from West Texas A&M in 2004 with a degree in sports and exercise science, and when on to earn his Master’s in Science in sports performance and injury prevention from California University (Pennsylvania).