January 18, 2008
By NAIA National Office
Jan. 18, 2008
BALTIMORE - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is proud to announce that Phil Wolf of Azusa Pacific (Calif.) is the 2007 Brine-NAIA Men's Soccer National Coach of the Year. The honor was officially announced on Friday (Jan. 18) at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Annual Convention in Baltimore.
"I am honored to receive this award, because it is voted on by the coaches of the NAIA," said Wolf. "It's an honor to be recognized by them, and this award is a testament to the hard work of my assistant coaches and my players. In keeping with our team's motto, I accept this award for my God, my team and myself."
It is no surprise the award was given to Wolf and the APU program. Wolf guided his 2007 Cougars to their first-ever NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship with a 2-0 win over Concordia (Calif.) on Nov. 20. The Cougars finished 20-1-1 overall, finished first in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) for the third conference title under Wolf, secured the school's first ever unbeaten regular season mark of 16-0-1, and rattled off a program record-tying 14-game winning streak.
In seven seasons at the helm of APU, Wolf owns a 107-25-15 overall record. He reached the 100-win milestone this year in just his 138th game - a 4-0 victory over Biola (Calif.) on Oct. 13. He has gathered three GSAC Championships and had his team ranked in the top five in all NAIA Top 25 Coaches' polls this season including No. 1 heading into the Championship.
After posting the 16-0-1 regular-season mark, the Cougars suffered their only blemish of the season in a 2-1 defeat to Westmont (Calif.) in the NAIA Region II Playoffs. After posting a 3-1 win over host MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) to begin the 2007 Championship, the Cougars overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit with three second-half goals to post a 3-1 win over Fresno Pacific (Calif.), the first of two conference rivals in APU's path to the national crown. After posting a 1-0 win over Simon Fraser (B.C.) in the semifinals, Azusa Pacific dominated the offensive end en route to the 2-0 title victory. APU out-shot Concordia by a 28-4 margin on a cold, windy night in Olathe, Kan., to secure its place in NAIA men's soccer history.
In the 2007 Championship, he mentored the Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player in senior Steven Lenhart and two others named to the All-Tournament team (Elijah Mwansanga, Eric Winblad). Lenhart was also a NAIA First Team All-America pick. Three players were recognized on the Honorable Mention teams - Sven Simon, Brandon Stirm and Winblad.
In his fourth season (in 2004), Wolf`s Cougars won its first NAIA Tournament game in program history. That appearance was a start of good things to come as APU finished as the national runners-up in 2005 and 2006.
A two-time GSAC Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2007, Wolf coached the Cascade Surge of the Premier Developmental League (PDL) in Cascade, Ore., in 2004. The Surge finished 11-4-1 and were champions of the Northwest Division.
Wolf came to Azusa Pacific after five seasons as an assistant at Wheaton, a NCAA Division III school in Wheaton, Ill. He was on staff when the Thunder set an NCAA all-divisions record with 66 consecutive matches without a loss. In 1999, he served one season as head coach of the boys' soccer team at Wesleyan Academy in High Point, N.C.
As a player, Wolf was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American at Wheaton, earning third-team recognition as a 1989 sophomore and first-team honors in 1990 and 1991. He led the Thunder to a combined four-year record of 77-10-6, a mark that produced four conference titles and an appearance in the 1990 NCAA Division III Final Four. By the time he graduated he was the program's third all-time scorer with 135 career points (now fifth within a program that has produced 32 All-Americans and 2 NCAA championship teams).
Wolf went on to play five seasons of professional soccer, three campaigns of indoor play with the Dayton Dynamo (NPSL) and then on the outdoor circuit with the Charlotte Eagles (USL), Rockford Raptors (USL) and the Chicago Stingers (USL).
Wolf prepped at Wheaton North High School and graduated from Wheaton College with a bachelor's degree in communications in 1992. He completed his master's degree in evangelism from Wheaton in 2004.
Phil's older brother, Dave Wolf, is the athletic director and men's soccer coach at GSAC rival Westmont College.
Wolf is married to the former Melanie Culbreth. They have one son, Barrett (7) and two daughters, Maggie (5) and Maryn (3).
The National Coach of the Year award for Wolf is the first ever for the Azusa Pacific program.
Information provided by the Azusa Pacific Sports Information Department