By Daniel Kobren
In just eight and a half seasons of coaching, the Gophers head coach added another milestone to her storied career with her 100th win last Friday against Rutgers. Minnesota honored Stefanie Golan Sunday and presented her with custom 100 win cleats.
-- Minnesota Soccer (@GopherSoccer) October 8, 2017
"To be eight and a half seasons into your head coaching career and reach 100 wins, the average wins per year has to be insane," associate head coach Krystle Seidel said of the accomplishment. "For her to be a woman who is up and coming in this profession and doing this in as little time as she has is huge."
Golan was unaware that she was nearing the milestone until she reached it.
"It is just part of the process," she said. "It speaks volumes about the people I have been around. We have had tremendous student athletes, coaching staffs and support staffs. It has been a blast the whole way."
Golan emphasized her players, past and present, have played a ginormous role in making her coaching tenure so special.
"They come out day in and day out regardless of whether they play 90 minutes a game or do not play at all," she said. "They are giving everything they have every single day on the field. They strive for excellence on the field and in the classroom. They take that same mentality in the classroom."
Golan made her head coaching debut at Army in 2009. She posted a 33-18-10 record in three and a half years US Military Academy and earned Patriot League Coach of the Year honors in 2010.
Since her arrival, Golan has changed the culture of Minnesota soccer. Part of that comes from her previous job before arriving in the North Star State.
"The big values coach Golan brought to the program are team unity, every single person on the team matters," Seidel said. "Our group has really bought in to that. I also think she brought a lot of leadership development from Army. Those two things have contributed to a brand of soccer that she is really proud of."
"Part of taking the Army job was because it is a leadership development factory," Golan said. "I got to work with unbelievable officers. I helped develop cadet athletes in all aspects of their life there. I brought the discipline and understanding that they have zero time outside of the academy. The time they spend with you has to be valuable. That is something we strive for here. Every moment that they spend with you here has to be valuable time.
Minnesota has not looked back since Golan took the helm in 2012. She has posted a 70-36-15 in six seasons at Minnesota.
"For me, it has been a gradual progression from a stylistic standpoint," she said. "We transitioned to being a high pressing team that has a grittiness about it. We have gotten better on the attacking side of the ball."
During her tenure, Golan has led the Maroon and Gold to winning records in each of her five seasons, the Gophers have earned three NCAA tournament bids and the team won the Big Ten regular season and tournament championship for the first time in program history in 2016.
"Last year's two championships were definitely my favorite memories with coach Golan," Seidel said. "There were some things I was able to do here as a player and a staff member but that was a first time we were able to do something like that."
Golan, however, cannot narrow down her favorite memory to just one.
"There has been a lot of them," Golan said. "Winning championships is always fun. They are all fun. They are all part of a process of establishing a culture and expectation of winning. They are all big."
For Golan's players, it is hard to put into perspective what these wins mean for their coach but the importance of this milestone and the impact she has had is not lost on the team.
"Sometimes as a player, you lose sight that these wins are important for your coach," junior captain Emily Heslin said. "It is really good for us to step back and remember that her coaching has gotten us a lot of these wins. It is a huge deal."
Golan only has one milestone in her sights after surpassing this one and that is the next win.
"One at a time," she said. "We are striving to win another Big Ten championship and we want to go to a third NCAA tournament. We have to finish the season strong to be able to do that."