DURHAM, N.C. - The 2007 season will mark the final campaign for Duke head men’s soccer coach John Rennie, announced on Monday by the 35-year coaching veteran.
Rennie has earned recognition as one of the top head coaches in Division I during his tenure. He has built Duke into one of the elite programs in the country, earning the school’s first national championship in any sport in 1986 and leading his squad to a total of five NCAA College Cups (1982, 1986, 1992, 1995 and 2004). Rennie and the Blue Devils have accumulated five ACC Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.
“My decision to make the 2007 season my last at Duke was finalized over the last several weeks,” said Rennie. “I absolutely love my job. However, it is time to move onto a new chapter in my career. I am eternally grateful to Tom Butters and Duke University for giving me this incredible opportunity. My wife Kathy and I have truly cherished the chance to live in and raise our family in this wonderful environment of Durham and Duke. It has been an honor to work with and coach the kind of people this great university attracts. I am very much looking forward to what I anticipate will be an outstanding 2007 season for our team.”
Duke Director of Athletics Joe Alleva has announced there will be a national search conducted to find the next head men’s soccer coach. That search will not begin until the 2007 men’s soccer season concludes.
“John Rennie is one of the best coaches in college sports and has developed an elite soccer program at Duke,” said Alleva. “He is a Hall of Fame-caliber coach who will always be remembered for bringing Duke Athletics its first national championship in 1986. He has gained the ultimate respect of everyone here at Duke, including the long list of outstanding young men who have played for him and represented this school in a first-class manner. We’re looking forward to an outstanding season in Coach Rennie’s final year in 2007. It has been a pleasure for me to work with him and develop such strong professional and personal relationships with him. He will be sorely missed.”
Rennie has emerged as one of the winningest soccer coaches in the history of men’s soccer. He ranks third among active coaches with 443 career wins, 399 of which have come at Duke. He is also one of the winningest coaches all-time in the NCAA, ranking fifth in career victories in Division I history.
Duke has been to the NCAA Tournament 19 times under Rennie. Prior to his arrival, Duke had played in just one NCAA Tournament contest. The Blue Devils reached the College Cup on five occasions during Rennie’s tenure. In just his fourth season at Duke, Rennie took an undefeated team to the 1982 championship match before losing to Indiana, 2-1, in eight overtimes. That eight overtime game against Indiana in was the longest match in NCAA history up to that point. Rennie and the Blue Devils stopped Akron, 1-0, to win the 1986 NCAA Championship, the first national title won by any Blue Devil athletics squad. He also led his troops to the College Cup in 1992 and 1995. Virginia knocked Duke out of the semifinals in 1992, but Duke would take revenge on the Cavaliers in 1995, defeating the four-time defending national champions in the semifinals only to suffer a 2-0 loss to Wisconsin in the championship match. The most recent trip to the College Cup for Duke was in 2004, when it fell to UC Santa Barbara.
Rennie has made his presence known in the Atlantic Coast Conference as well. He holds the record for the most wins by a coach at an ACC school (399) and in ACC matches (91). The Blue Devils won the league title five times, in 1980, 1982, 1999, 2005 and 2006. The Duke head coach has been an instrumental figure in the inception and continued success of the ACC Tournament. Duke hosted the first league tournament in 1987, and did so again in 1989 and 1990. The Blue Devils became only the second team in conference history to repeat as tournament champions when they won in 2005 and 2006.
Under Rennie’s 28-year tutelage, Duke sits among the most successful programs in the country with a winning percentage of .710 (399-153-33). In 35 years as a collegiate head coach, Rennie has compiled a .677 (443-199-47) winning percentage, ranking 15th among active coaches.
Rennie has posted a winning record in 26 of his 28 seasons with the Blue Devils and has led his team to the NCAA Tournament in seven of the last nine seasons. Throughout Rennie’s tenure, Duke’s defense has been solid with 236 shutouts, including 42 shutouts in the last six seasons.
Included in the team’s success has been a wealth of individual honors. Flooding the trophy cases at Duke are numerous coach of the year awards and plenty of player accolades. Rennie was voted National Coach of the Year in 1982, ACC Coach of the Year in 1980, 1983, 1987, 1997 and 1999, and South Region Coach of the Year in 1982, 1983 and 1997.
During Rennie’s reign, six players have been named the national collegiate player of the year, including Joe Ulrich (1982), Mike Jeffries (1983), Tom Kain (1985), John Kerr (1986), Jay Heaps (1998) and Ali Curtis (2000). Duke has had 29 All-America selections and four Academic All-Americas during Rennie’s tenure. Kain, a 1986 graduate, was Duke’s first four-time All-America selection and Curtis, a 2001 Duke graduate, was a three-time All-America selection. Jason Kreis, a 1995 graduate, garnered All-America honors after the 1992, 1993 and 1994 seasons and has since become the all-time leading scorer in MLS history. Nineteen former Duke soccer players and coaches under Rennie have gone on to be affiliated with Major League Soccer.
Along with success on the field, Rennie has developed the Duke program into one of the finest in terms of facilities and attendance. Koskinen Stadium is a lighted, natural grass surface with a capacity of 7,000. Annually ranked among the top collegiate teams in attendance, Duke hosts the South’s premier regular season tournament, the Duke/adidas Soccer Classic, each fall. The Blue Devils’ home turf played host to the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1987, with Rennie serving as coordinator.
Rennie works with U.S. Club Soccer, serving on its executive board. He is also a member of U.S. Soccer’s technical committee, which handles player-development issues for the organization.
Always concerned about the growth of soccer, Rennie organized and was the first chairman of the NCAA Division I Soccer Coaches Committee, formed for the nationwide development of Division I soccer. He recently was brought back for a second term.
Rennie remains active in local and national amateur soccer. He is a former USSF national coaching staff member and has been the head coach of the South Region Olympic Development Program. He is involved with youth soccer in Durham and has served as the director of coaching for the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association. With his help, Durham youth soccer has grown extensively during his time from 400 participants to more than 4,000 players.
Rennie founded and directs the Duke Soccer Camp, one of the most highly regarded soccer camps in the nation. He is also a co-founder and former president of the Triangle Futbol Club, a program in North Carolina aimed at developing the skills of the area’s most talented young players.
A 1967 graduate of Temple, Rennie has been successful along the coaching trail. He spent a year at Southeastern Massachusetts (now UMass-Dartmouth) and six at Columbia University, building the latter into a national power. Columbia won the Ivy League in his final campaign in 1978, with Rennie earning New York Region Coach of the Year honors. He also led the Lions to the NCAA Tournament in his final season.
In addition to his excellence as a coach, Rennie was also a quite accomplished athlete. As a senior at Chatham (N.J.) High School, he set a school record with 30 goals in 15 games. Rennie continued his athletic prowess at Temple, where he lettered in three sports (baseball, tennis and soccer). In his first collegiate soccer contest, Rennie registered six goals for the Owls. Unfortunately, his playing career came to an end when he suffered a knee injury prior to his senior year.
The Chatham, N.J., native is married to the former Kathy Redden. They have two children, Theodore John (23) and Grace (19).
Duke plays its final preseason exhibition match on Saturday at No. 19 Connecticut. The Blue Devils kickoff the 2007 regular season campaign at home on Fri., Aug. 31 versus Delaware at 7 p.m. Duke was ranked second nationally in the preseason College Soccer News poll and fourth in the NSCAA/adidas preseason rankings. The Blue Devils are also the favorite to win the ACC in 2007, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
Duke’s annual Fall Sports Media Day will be held on Thurs., Aug. 23, from 12 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., in the Cameron Indoor Stadium media room. Men’s soccer, which will feature Coach Rennie and selected players, will appear from 1:00-1:30 p.m.