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    Crittenden Named SFA Head Soccer Coach
    Wally Crittenden became the 8th SFA head soccer coach in school history on Monday.
    Wally Crittenden became the 8th SFA head soccer coach in school history on Monday.

    Jan. 28, 2013

    NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Former Texas A&M assistant Wally Crittenden has been named the eighth Stephen F. Austin head soccer coach in school history, announced Director of Athletics Robert Hill Monday afternoon. Crittenden replaces Tony Amato who stepped down in December to become the head coach at the University of Arizona.

    "I am most impressed with Coach Crittenden and his vision for SFA soccer," Hill said. "This isn't a rebuilding job, instead it's an opportunity to move our soccer program to a higher level. I am confident that we have found the right person to make this happen."

    Crittenden has spent the past three seasons in College Station assisting a nationally ranked Texas A&M team that has recorded a combined 52-16-6 (.743) record. During that stretch the Aggies won two Big 12 crowns, and the 2012 SEC West Division title, advancing to the NCAA Championships all three seasons. The Aggies climbed as high fifth in the polls, and set program records for most shutouts in a season, most consecutive scoreless minutes and fewest goals allowed.

    "I want to thank the leadership here at Stephen F. Austin for this great opportunity," Crittenden said. "Dr. Pattillo, Athletics Director Robert Hill, Associate Athletics Director Matt Fenley and the rest of the search committee have been outstanding throughout this entire process. I was very excited when these conversations began and from the second I stepped on campus and experienced the support for the players and the program first hand, I knew this is where my family and I needed to be. I have been a fan of the SFA soccer program for many years, dating all the way back to my time at Oklahoma. There have been some great coaches in its history and they have all helped prepare the program for this next step. I look forward to the future and know that our players and support staff are poised to utilize the program's past success as a catalyst for our future ambitions."

    "I want to thank my great friends in College Station involved in youth sports, as well as the talented coaches and administrators I have worked with at Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Oklahoma," Crittenden said. "I would like to express a special thanks to the Texas A&M players as well as the soccer staff in G, Phil, Lori, Paul, Curt and Andi. It has been a very special three seasons and good luck in your preparations for next year. To the members and staff of the Texans and Challenge Aggieland soccer clubs, thank you for all of the hours you invested in providing the best opportunities for young people to succeed. I will forever treasure my time there and wish you all the very best as you move forward."

    Crittenden helped guide a Texas A&M defense that ranked among the nation's elite in their transition to a new conference. The Aggies led the league and finished fifth nationally in scoring with a 0.51 goals against average.

    While on staff with the Aggies, Crittenden was also the Technical Director for both the Challenge and Texans Aggieland divisions. The club divisions aimed to help extend the access to top-level coaching and player development opportunities to the young players of College Station and surrounding rural areas. 

    Another major initiative that Crittenden was passionate about while in College Station was the creation of the Brazos Valley Youth Sports Foundation, which offered a youth leadership institute, amongst other free programming, to area youth ages 13-18. Crittenden was recognized as a 2012 University of Nebraska Young Alumni Award Winner for his contributions in starting this non-profit. 

    Prior to his move to the Lone Star State, Crittenden made coaching stops at University of Oklahoma and the University of Nebraska. During his time in Norman, Okla., Crittenden made a name for himself as defensive-minded coach. The Sooners set program records for fewest goals against, lowest goals against average and most shutouts by a goalkeeper.

    Crittenden has also served on the coaching and instructor staffs for the South Texas Youth Soccer Association, the Region III ODP Staff the ECNL PDP staff, as well as at Lynn University.

    Crittenden is an active member in the USSF (United States Soccer Federation), where he has earned a USSF "A" License and a National Goalkeeper Certificate. He is also an active member of the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association), where he has earned the NSCAA National Goalkeeper Certificate.

    Crittenden received his Bachelors of Education Degree in Sports Management from Florida International University (1998-03), where he also played soccer from 1998-02. In the 1998 season he was named an Under-18 ODP All-American and was a member of the US Under-20 National Team. Crittenden received his Masters Degree in Higher Education from the University of Nebraska (2007-10).

    What Others Are Saying About Crittenden

    G Guerrieri, Head Women's Soccer Coach at Texas A&M
    "This is a great hire for SFA. In appointing Wally Crittenden the Ladyjacks are getting a great young coach and an incredible leader who can help them achieve great things. I have known Wally since he was in elementary school and have loved seeing him grow, first as a great player and now as an innovative coach and leader of young people. He has done a magnificent job as an assistant coach at Texas A&M, helping us win three conference trophies and make three runs into the NCAA Championship Tournament during his three years on the Aggie soccer staff. In addition to his work with my team, he did a wonderful job of guiding our city's competitive soccer club on a path towards excellence. As a father of three kids in that club, I am thankful for his knowledge, professionalism, and leadership of hundreds of young and impressionable kids in our community. Wally is a man who does things for the right reasons and is committed to doing every job with integrity and class. He and his wife (Cori) and their two young girls will be great members of the Nacogdoches community, and all of us in Aggieland wish them nothing but the very best."

    Neal Ellis, Director of Coaching South Texas Youth Soccer Association
    "I have known Wally for several years, both as a player and as a coach now. He will be a great addition for Stephen F. Austin. He has a tremendous personality and he really is a teacher at heart. He impacted the city of College Station in several ways, not just at the university but also with the youth in the area. He is going to be a huge asset for SFA and the city of Nacogdoches. He's a great public speaker as well and will be a fantastic motivator for the kids on his team."

    Christian Michner, Head Women's Soccer Coach at College of Charleston
    "Wally is one of the best young minds in the game. He's always searching for ways to improve his craft and is a tremendous teacher of the game. His passion and energy are contagious and I know the student-athletes at SFA will really enjoy playing for him. It's a wonderful hire for the athletic department and show that administration has its values in place. Wally will do an excellent job leading that program and the future certainly looks bright!"