Former Akron, Baylor and Oklahoma assistant Shanna Caldwell has been chosen as the first head coach in Texas A&M – Corpus Christi women's soccer history, Interim Director of Athletics Scott Lazenby announced today. Caldwell will begin her tenure at the helm of the newly-founded Islanders program on January 2.
"We thought it was important to make women's soccer a prominent program in our Athletics Department as the number of female students grows at the university," said Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi President Flavius Killebrew. "Shanna Caldwell will help us meet our goals."
"We're very excited to have as experienced and talented a coach as Shanna to head our soccer program from day one," Lazenby said. "Shanna has strong ties in the state of Texas in addition to an extensive background at strong college soccer programs, and we are confident that she will build Islanders Soccer into an elite program, both on and off the field."
The Islanders will begin play in the fall of 2013 as part of the Southland Conference. The team will play at a new facility on the Momentum Campus off Nile Rd., which will begin construction in early 2012.
"I can't begin to express my gratitude to Dr. Killebrew, Dr. Hill and Scott Lazenby for offering me this wonderful opportunity," Caldwell said. "With our university's reputation, facilities and location, I believe we can become the target destination in the Southland Conference very quickly. I can't wait to start building the foundation of Islanders Soccer."
Caldwell most recently spent four years as the recruiting coordinator and first assistant coach at the University of Akron under Chris Pfau. In her time there, the Zips went from a lower-tier team in the Mid-American Conference to three straight conference tournaments – a first in program history. Akron was in the top three of the league or division in each of her final three years.
Perhaps more impressive was the performance of the keepers under Caldwell's tutelage. She mentored all-time wins, saves and shutouts leader Jeny Wolbert and single-season goals against average record holder Michelle Smith over her final two seasons at Akron.
Prior to heading to the Buckeye State, Caldwell spent two years working with the goalkeepers at Baylor under George Van Linder. Caldwell played a large role in the performance of First Team All-Big 12 selection Ashley Noah. Her two-season stint with the Bears followed a strong year working with the keepers at Alabama.
The Williamsburg, Va., native spent three seasons at Oklahoma before heading to Alabama. During her time in Norman, Caldwell helped the Sooners advance to the 2003 NCAA Tournament and register four shutouts on the season.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Caldwell proved herself to be one of the nation's top goalkeepers while playing three years for the University of Connecticut. As a senior, she led the NCAA in goals-against average, helping to lead the Huskies to their third straight Big East Northeast Division title and 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Caldwell, who holds a NSCAA Goalkeeper I diploma and a USSF D License, earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Connecticut in 2002.