Robbie Church announced Thursday the hiring of Steve Springthorpe as assistant coach on the Blue Devil staff beginning immediately. Springthorpe brings a total of 23 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level to the Duke staff after serving as head coach of both North Carolina State and Fresno State as well as an assistant coach at Florida and Methodist University.DURHAM, N.C. – Duke women’s soccer head coach
“I think it’s a great, great thing for our program to have somebody with Steve Springthorpe’s experience,” Church said. “Steve will obviously be working with our goalkeepers and we have two very quality keepers, Ali Kershner and Meghan Thomas. Both of them have met with him and enjoy him in conversation, so I think he will really bring out the best in those goalkeepers. Steve will work with some of the defenders along with [Assistant Coach] Carla Overbeck too. It’s great to have another former ACC head coach on our staff to just look over our whole program.”
Prior to joining the Duke staff, Springthorpe served as head coach of N.C. State for four years, taking over a program in 2009 that had spent the previous two seasons without a win in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In his time with the Wolfpack, Springthorpe compiled a 30-43-4 overall record, highlighted by a 10-win season in 2011, the first at N.C. State since the 2002 season.
“I am really looking forward to coming here to Duke, which is such a great university and athletic program,” Springthorpe said. “I am getting the opportunity to work with a great staff and a great team, and so it’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
Before his stint at N.C. State, Springthorpe served as head coach at Fresno State from 2004-08, compiling a 52-40-12 overall record, the highest winning percentage in program history and leading the Bulldogs to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship game four straight years, winning twice. Under Springthorpe, the Bulldogs made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2005, 2008).
“Honestly, that’s where I started my coaching career was with goalkeeping,” commented Springthorpe. “I played goalkeeper in college and then that’s what I did when I got out of college and started coaching. I still worked with the goalkeepers as a head coach at N.C. State. It’s part of what I like to do, what I wanted to do with our team so I did all of the individual goalkeeping training. Getting back to my roots and having that main responsibility of just working with the goalkeepers at Duke for the most part is an exciting time for me. It’s going to reenergize me and give me the chance to work one-on-one with some of the athletes here and hopefully make a difference for both Ali and Meghan as they work towards finding that starting opportunity. For them I think they want the best training to best prepare them to help their team, so their team can rely on them.”
Springthorpe graduated from Methodist University in 1987 after playing goalkeeper four seasons for the Monarchs and was a two-time All-South Region selection and a three-time All-Conference selection. Following graduation, Springthorpe played professionally for two seasons for the Greensboro Dynamo before beginning his coaching career at Methodist.
“We’ve been fortunate,” Church said. “Our staff has been together for a number of years and we’re excited to get another experienced set of eyes to come and look at our program in all areas. This is a win-win situation for both of us. I think Steve will enjoy our team here at Duke and he’ll enjoy our staff.”
Springthorpe replaces Katie Ely, who accepted an assistant coaching position at Missouri. Duke's staff now features two former head coaches as Billy Lesesne was the head coach at Erskine prior to joining Church's staff 14 years ago. Overall, the staff of Church, Lesesne, Carla Overbeck and Springthorpe bring over 90 years of coaching experience to the field.
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