Sports & Outdoors

Coach Hanson ends final season with conference title

When the Logger women’s soccer team takes the field next fall in pursuit of a 15th straight Northwest Conference title, there will be a new head coach patrolling the sidelines for the first time since 1995.

After 20 years of coaching the University of Puget Sound women’s soccer team, head coach Randy Hanson announced his retirement in January.  Hanson’s career at Puget Sound was historic to say the least.  The longtime head coach will finish with a career record of 303-74-36 including a 16-10-6 record in postseason play.  Of the 20 seasons Hanson was the head coach, the Loggers finished with a winning record for 19 of those seasons. Since 2000, when Hanson led the Loggers to the first of 15 NWC titles over the next 16 years, the Loggers have lost no more than five games in the regular season. In 2004 Hanson coached the Loggers to a 22-2-0 regular season record that culminated in an appearance in the NCAA Division III national championship.

Despite the consistent success of his teams from year to year, Hanson cited wanting to spend more time with his family and to support his son’s developing soccer career as primary reasons behind his retirement.

“I loved my time at Puget Sound,” Hanson said. “The relationships built throughout the entire university were and are very important to me.  Leaving that type of environment is hard, but sometimes one has to make hard decisions.”

While Hanson’s career record speaks for his ability to coach the game, junior Emily Prasil (Lake Oswego, Oregon) saw his impact extending beyond the field.

“As an athlete Randy showed me what true ambition and motivation is.  But his best skill by far was his ability to apply what were learning in soccer to our everyday lives.  He taught us valuable lessons regarding our perspective and mindset, especially when overcoming obstacles,” Prasil said.

“Success can be measured in many ways but our focus was on developing people first,” Hanson said.  “When I could see that someone in the program had grown as a person…that they made it through something hard and learned from it, those were my favorite moments as a coach.”

Hanson’s final season as a head coach was one of his greatest, as he helped to coach the Loggers to a dominating 17-0-5 regular-season record.  In the NCAA tournament the Loggers advanced to the round of 32 before losing in heartbreaking fashion to Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) in penalty kicks.  Nonetheless, the 2015 Loggers will forever have a place in the Puget Sound record books holding the greatest winning percentage in Logger women’s soccer history.

While it will be hard for next year’s team to have another undefeated season, Prasil and the rest of the upcoming seniors believe that they are prepared to continue the winning tradition of the women’s soccer team.

“It was hard when we heard that Randy was retiring,” Prasil said.  “But it has also made us come together as a team to overcome this obstacle and put into action some of the lessons Randy taught us over the years. Next year we are going to continue to uphold the core values that Randy has always emphasized and by doing so, maintain his spirit within the team.”

While Logger women’s soccer will never be the same without Coach Hanson, he has created a legacy that will live on forever in Puget Sound history, a legacy that he credits to the players more than himself.

“A coach’s success can only come through others,” Hanson said.  “And I am eternally thankful and grateful for all those I shared my time with at Puget Sound.”