Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2001
WHITING NAMED NATIONAL SOCCER COACH OF THE YEAR
MEDFORD Head Coach Martha Whiting, who directed the Tufts University women's soccer team to the NCAA Division III National Championship Game this past fall, has been named Division III Women's National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA). She was presented the award at the NSCAA's Honor Award Banquet in Indianapolis on January 19.
In just her second season as head coach at Tufts, Whiting guided the Jumbos to a 12-2 record during the regular season. Victories included coming back from a two-goal deficit in the second half over Colby and the team's first win over Williams in 10 years. The squad then advanced to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Game with wins over Bates and Bowdoin. Despite losing the NESCAC title to Middlebury, 2-0, Tufts earned one of the three NCAA Tournament berths awarded to NESCAC teams.
After routing the University of New England, 5-0, in the first round of the NCAA's, Tufts traveled to Middlebury and won their second NCAA New England championship with wins over Bowdoin again (5-4 on penalty kicks) and Wheaton (3-1 in the title game). The Jumbos then hosted and beat William Smith College, 1-0, in the national quarterfinals. Tufts was selected as the host site for the NCAA "final four" and defeated Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1-0 in overtime, to advance to the national championship game. The Jumbos lost to College of New Jersey, 2-1, in the final on a goal with three seconds left in regulation.
Despite the stinging loss, Tufts can look back on its best season ever. The Jumbos finished 18-4-1, senior tri-captain Sara Yeatman (Santa Monica, CA/Harvard-Westlake) was named the program's first NSCAA First Team All-American, and Whiting was named New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) Coach of the Year. Yeatman, for one, thinks Whiting's excellent work with this year's team is a sign of things to come.
"Considering she's young and comparatively new to coaching, think it's amazing that the other coaches in the country recognized what a great coach Martha is and what a key role she played in our success," Yeatman said. "I think Martha deserves the honor and that it is a great way to show her how important she was to us. I feel that while to some coaches it would be a good cumulative way to round out a career, for Martha it will only drive her to work harder and do more."
Born and raised in Wakefield, Mass., Whiting is a 1993 Tufts graduate who was a three-year starting goalkeeper. She owns the team records for saves in a career with 385 and shares the mark for fewest goals allowed in a season (6 in 1990). After graduating, she was an assistant at Tufts under Bill Gehling for six seasons. When Gehling was promoted to Athletic Director at Tufts in July 1999, Whiting was named head coach of women's soccer.
"Martha has done a tremendous job since taking the reins last season," Gehling said. "She's an exceptional coach and a great leader. The players respond to her extremely well on and off the field. We're fortunate to have her as our coach."