MOUNT PLEASANT - After leading the Central Michigan soccer program to its best winning percentage in program history in his first season as the head coach, Neil Stafford and CMU Athletics have come to an agreement on a new four-year contract.
Stafford was named the fourth head coach in program history on January 10, 2011 and promptly led his team to a 15-3-3 record in a season that saw the Chippewas extend their home unbeaten streak to 33 games and earn road victories over Louisville and Wisconsin.
"I'm very happy Dave Heeke, Marcy Weston, Derek van der Merwe and the entire administration have the confidence in me to give me this new contract," Stafford said. "I'm really happy at Central Michigan and I believe this is a place that people can be successful in their jobs and student-athletes can excel. We have some big things to prove here that my staff, players and I will be a part of it moving forward."
The Chippewas continued to excel in the classroom as well in Stafford's first season as Bethany Allport, Bailey Brandon and Stefanie Turner became the first CoSIDA Academic All-America selections in program history and a MAC-best eight student-athletes were named to the All-Mid-American Conference Academic squad.
On the field, five players earned All-MAC honors - including MAC Defensive Player of the Year Liesel Toth. Stafford's guidance also helped Toth and fellow senior Claire Horton earn NSCAA All-Region honors.
"We are extremely proud of the soccer program's accomplishments and how Coach Stafford has continued to instill a championship culture both in the classroom and on the field," Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said. "We are committed to Coach Stafford leading the program into a very bright future."
Stafford's new contract, which replaces the previous annual contract, will run through the 2015 season and includes a base salary of $66,500.