Tony Amato, who will embark upon his third season as head soccer coach in 2012, is coming off one of the most prestigious seasons in Stephen F. Austin history.
Under Amato's guidance, the Ladyjacks tied a school record in wins by compiling a 15-3-1 overall record, including 9-0 in Southland Conference play, en route to a regular season conference title. SFA set a new school record by winning 13 straight matches and finished the season second in the nation with 3.16 GPG.
SFA was ranked 45th in the nation in the final RPI, the highest mark in school history.
Amato, who was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year in 2011, also oversaw the development of six first-team all-conference performers, including the SLC Player of the Year in Kylie Louw and Freshman of the Year, Chelsea Raymond.
In his first full season with the Ladyjacks, Amato led SFA to a 13-5-2 (6-2-1) record, tying the 2007 SLC championship team for the third-most wins in a season. The Ladyjacks advanced to the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament before falling to UTSA in penalty kicks (5-4) following two scoreless overtimes. Under Amato's watch, Kylie Louw was named the Southland Conference Co-Player of the Year and was joined by Jordan King and Kim Kimmel on the first-team all-conference.
Amato came to SFA after a seven-year stint at Division II Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In his time at Rollins, Amato led the Tars women's soccer team to uncharted territory, winning the program's first-ever Sunshine State Conference championship and building an 82-37-11 mark that stands as the best record in program history.
Under Amato, the Tars won SSC titles in each of the last two seasons. In 2008, the program's first league title campaign, Rollins went undefeated in the regular season. The 2009 squad posted a 16-2-2 mark, setting school records for wins, shutouts and goals-against average along the way. Amato guided Rollins to its first SSC tournament title in 2009, and the Tars reached the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division II Championship for the second time in as many seasons.
Rollins has been ranked as high as sixth nationally during Amato's tenure, and he earned SSC Coach of the Year honors twice. He has coached four All-Americans, 31 all-conference selections, 18 All-South Region honorees, 11 All-SSC Tournament players, two league Players of the Year, two conference Defensive Players of the Year, one league Offensive Player of the Year and an SSC Tournament MVP.
In addition to his duties with the Rollins women's program, Amato has served as director of the CFU Soccer Club and as an Olympic Developmental Program coach with the Florida Youth Soccer Association since 2005. Amato has also taught multiple courses as an adjunct professor in the Rollins physical education department.
Prior to accepting the Rollins position, Amato spent the spring of 2003 as an assistant coach with the men's soccer team at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. He worked as an assistant with the Tars women's squad for two years after earning his undergraduate degree in behavioral biology from Rollins in 2000. Amato earned a master's in exercise physiology from Central Florida in 2002.
As a four-year player at Rollins, Amato earned numerous accolades and awards. He is a former SSC Player of the Year and is in the conference's hall of fame. Amato served as the Tars' team captain during his career and earned the squad's MVP honor as well as the Rollins Student-Athlete of the Year award. Amato also earned Academic All-America and SSC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors during his career.
Amato is the seventh head coach in the 15-year history of the SFA soccer program. He replaces Van Linder after a two-year stay that saw the Ladyjacks post a combined record of 19-15-4. SFA was 12-4-2 in Southland Conference play over that stretch, finishing tied for second in 2008 and third in the league in 2009.