DePaul Extends Contract of Men's Soccer Coach Craig Blazer
CHICAGO DePaul has reached an agreement with Blue Demon men's soccer coach Craig Blazer on a four-year contract extension it was announced by Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto.
"Craig Blazer is an outstanding teacher and coach, and has raised the men's soccer program to a level of unprecedented success," Ponsetto said. "His student-athletes have been successful in the classroom as well as on the field, and this contract extension is a reward for his outstanding contributions. We are thrilled to keep him in the Blue Demon family for an additional four years."
Coming off arguably the greatest season in program history, Blazer, who has steadily built the program into a contender in the region and in the BIG EAST Conference, is in the beginning of his eighth campaign leading the Blue Demons. His hard work and perseverance over his tenure at DePaul resulted in plenty of hardware to show for the success in 2007.
After being picked as the BIG EAST Red Division’s eighth place team in the preseason poll, the Blue Demons surprised the league by claiming the division title and advancing to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship. Additionally, DePaul saw itself ranked among the region’s top 10 throughout the season and held a program-best No. 5 slot in the Great Lakes Region for four weeks. The Blue Demons made noise nationally as they were ranked as high as No. 17 in the Soccer America top 25 for the first national ranking in program history.
Individually, Blazer and assistant coach Adam Tinkham were selected as the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year and Blazer was named the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year by the NSCAA. The memorable 2007 season concluded with a NCAA Tournament berth, another first for the men’s soccer program, and a new record for shutouts in a season while matching the program record for wins in a season.
Through the first three seasons of BIG EAST play, the Blue Demons have improved each year under Blazer’s watch. The 2005 squad went 2-8-1 in the league for seven points and proved to be a tough out as they played five overtime matches. The 2006 season saw DePaul qualify for the BIG EAST Championship after a preseason pick to finish eighth in the Red Division.
One of the cornerstones of Blazer’s program is success off the field. DePaul is always among the league’s best in the classroom as they claimed the 2007 BIG EAST Team Academic Award. In the first three seasons of BIG EAST membership, the men’s soccer program has totaled 51 conference academic honorees. The 2005 placed 15 members on the list followed by 17 in 2006. DePaul improved on that in 2007 with a conference-best 19 players on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team.