Randy Waldrum has left Notre Dame after 15 years to become the first-ever head coach of the Houston Dash, a 2014 NWSL expansion team.
Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston first reported the news and The Equalizer has independently confirmed the news. Waldrum’s contract is for three years, Berman reports.
“This is a very difficult day for me as I’m leaving the absolute best university in the country, yet excited about a new challenge that lies before me,” Waldrum said in a statement.
“Randy was my first choice when I got involved in the coaching search, so I am extremely excited that he has come on board,” Dash managing director Brian Ching said. “His passion and enthusiasm were evident from the beginning of this process and his coaching ability is evident when you look at his success over the years. I am looking forward to working closely with him to make the Dash one of the premiere women’s teams in the world.”
Waldrum’s jump to the NWSL could be viewed as a watershed moment for college coaches looking to make the move to the professional side. It is well-known that there is more money and security — particularly in knowing that the college team will have a league to play in next year — on the college side and thus the top college coaches have typically avoided making the move to a pro team, whether in WUSA, WPS or NWSL.
But Waldrum’s leap of faith proves he has big ambitions, and that the Houston job is worth the risk. There’s no doubt it was highly coveted as a Major League Soccer-backed women’s franchise. The infrastructure, professionalism, support and stability of finances are all there — much like college, for the bigger institutions.
The Dash coaching search included advisory committee included former U.S. national team coach Tony DiCicco, U.S. legend Mia Hamm, Dash managing director and former Dynamo star Brian Ching and Dash president Chris Canetti.
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