Tim Santoro, one of the top assistant coaches and recruiters in the country, has been named the head women's soccer coach at NC State, Director of Athletics Debbie Yow announced on Friday, Nov. 30. Santoro comes to the Wolfpack from Wake Forest, where he served as Associate Head Coach for the nationally-ranked Demon Deacons.
"First and foremost I want to thank Debbie Yow and Sherard Clinkscales for this opportunity to become the head coach at a tremendous university like NC State," said Santoro. "I'm excited to get this program back on the national scene where it was for so many years before.
"It has been my goal all along to become a head coach and I can't think of a better place to begin this next step in my career than with the Wolfpack."
Santoro directed and coordinated all aspects of recruiting in developing Wake Forest in his five seasons into one of the premier programs in NCAA Division I and in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"As we have said a number of times, our goal for each sport at NC State is to become a top-25 ranked program and to graduate our student-athletes," said Yow. "Hiring Tim to lead our program is the next step for women's soccer toward meeting those two key goals. I thank Sherard Clinkscales and his search committee for their work, which culminated in this terrific outcome."
During his tenure at Wake Forest, the Deacons achieved major firsts in the program's history, including the NCAA College Cup and the No. 1 overall seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the 2010 ACC Championship, and a top-5 recruiting class in 2010.
According to Wake Forest head coach Tony da Luz, Santoro was instrumental in those achievements. "I'm very excited for Tim to have this opportunity at NC State. Tim has been huge part of our success over the past five years. He has a tremendous knowledge of the game, is a hard-working recruiter and has a personality that makes him a coach that players want to play for."
"Tim Santoro was identified early in the search process as one of the rising stars in women's soccer" said Sherard Clinkscales, Associate Athletic Director at NC State. "His recruiting efforts have established Wake Forest as a perennial top-ten program. Coupled with a strong acumen for game strategy and commitment to student-athlete development became clear the search committee and me that Tim was the right choice to lead our women's soccer program.
"Tim understands the challenges of competing in the ACC and embraces them. He is determined to restore NC State to its past glory as a national contender."
In 2011, the Demon Deacons earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the program's first-ever College Cup, in addition to making a return trip to the ACC Tournament final after first winning the conference title in 2010. Santoro's defenders gave up only 20 goals all season, earning a 0.74 goals against average that ranked as the lowest in school history, and kept 14 shutouts, the second-highest total for a Wake Forest squad.
The 2011 squad reached No. 1 in the NCAA RPI rankings and peaked at No. 3 in the NSCAA poll, with both marks being the highest in school history. The team also set a school season record for wins (18), finishing with an 18-4-4 record.
In 2010, a so-called "rebuilding year" after graduating seven starters in 2009, Santoro helped the Demon Deacons win their first-ever ACC Championship and receive a final ranking of No. 8 in the Soccer America poll.
The Deacons have also had strong ties to the U.S. National Team program with Santoro. In February 2010, three members of Santoro's prized recruiting class (Aubrey Bledsoe, Rachel Nuzzolese and Katie Stengel), joined the U18 National Team.
Since Santoro's arrival, Wake Forest has had five players selected in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft, the third-highest total of any school in the country, while another player signed professionally with FC Twente in Holland.
Santoro's athletes at Wake Forest also excelled in the classroom, highlighted by Aubrey Bledsoe being named the first Academic All-American in program history in 2012. The Deacs also had three players earn Academic All-Region honors each of the last two seasons, and five players landed on the ACC All-Academic team in both 2010 and 2011.
Prior to his arrival at Wake Forest, Santoro served as the Associate Head Coach of the College of Charleston and was integral in building one of the most successful eras in the history of the College of Charleston women's soccer program from 2001-2008.
Santoro hails from a New Jersey soccer family with his older brother, Mat, the Head Coach at NCAA Division II Men's Soccer program, University of Southern Indiana.
Santoro attended Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., and was a four-year member of the men's soccer program before graduating in 1994. He helped guide Catawba to a pair of NAIA National Tournament appearances, before the school moved to the Division II level for his final two seasons. He was named an honorable mention All-American as a senior.