Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000
WHITING NAMED NEWISA DIVISION III COACH OF THE YEAR
MEDFORD After guiding the Tufts women's soccer team to the NCAA National Championship Game in just her second season as coach of the program, Martha Whiting was named Division III Coach of the Year by the New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA).
Tufts finished 18-4-1 after losing to College of New Jersey, 2-1, for the national championship. The visiting Lions scored a goal with three seconds remaining in the second half for the victory. Despite the sting of that final loss, the 2000 Jumbos were the best ever at Tufts in their sport and have now established a national reputation.
Whiting was an assistant coach on the 1998 Tufts team that won the NCAA New England Championship under Coach Bill Gehling. Gehling was promoted to Athletic Director at Tufts in 1999 and Whiting replaced him after six seasons as his assistant. She was a four-year starting goalkeeper for Gehling at Tufts from 1989-92 and holds the team record for saves in a career (385).
The season included Tufts' first win against Williams College since 1990. The Jumbos beat #2 in New England Bowdoin College, 3-1, to advance to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Game. They lost there to Middlebury, 2-0, but received one of three NCAA Tournament berths awarded to the conference.
Tufts defeated University of New England (5-0), Bowdoin again (5-4 on penalty kicks), Wheaton (3-1 for the New England title), William Smith (1-0 at home in the national quarterfinals) and Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1-0 in OT in a national semifinal at Medford) in the NCAA Tournament. They were three seconds away from overtime in the National Championship Game.
Considering that Tufts wasn't regarded among the very top New England teams at the start of the season, the team's run made Whiting a lock for Coach of the Year honors.
"Dre Licari was a great assistant coach, so the award is partly hers," said Whiting, raised in nearby Wakefield. "The players, too, deserve a piece of it. We just had so much fun this season. We came together on and off the field in a way that was truly wonderful to watch."