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Coaching Jan 14, 2020

George Mason University hires Elmar Bolowich as men’s soccer head coach

FAIRFAX, Va. – George Mason University Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Brad Edwards announced Monday that Elmar Bolowich, a national championship head coach, has been named the Patriots’ 10th men’s soccer head coach in program history.

Bolowich elevated programs at North Carolina and Creighton to national prominence. He led the Tar Heels and Bluejays to 21 NCAA appearances combined, advanced to the College Cup six times (including five consecutive appearances – 2008-12) and guided the Tar Heels to their first national championship in program history in 2001. The NSCAA National Coach of the Year in 2001, Bolowich is just five wins shy of 400 in his decorated coaching career (395-184-57).

“Coach Bolowich is not only one of the best and most accomplished soccer coaches in today’s game – he is the type of individual who brings a wealth of experience in higher education and NCAA Athletics. He will elevate the profile of our men’s soccer program as well as George Mason University,” said Edwards.

We are excited to have an icon like Coach Bolowich lead, educate and champion our men’s soccer program. Coach Bolowich’s addition to our program reflects our unwavering commitment to the game of soccer at both a conference and national level.”

Bolowich led his teams to top-three finishes in at least one national poll six times and a top-10 finish 11 times over his last 18 seasons, including a No. 3 ranking in the final 2010 NSCAA Poll while at North Carolina and a pair of No. 4 final rankings in 2011 and 2012 while at Creighton.

“Thank you to Brad Edwards and George Mason University for this opportunity to return to college soccer where I can best use my skills and hopefully be an impact for a program that has so much potential,” said Bolowich. “I have a good network in college soccer and I’m looking forward to my return and being back in the game among my colleagues and friends.”

We want soccer at George Mason to rise to a nationally competitive level and we want to create a soccer culture on campus. I look forward to this challenge and I’m ready to get going.”

During his eight seasons at Creighton, Bolowich amassed an overall record of 115-40-17 and ranks second on the program’s all-time wins list. Bolowich led the Bluejays to their second consecutive NCAA Division I College Cup in 2012.  He earned three coaching awards at the conclusion of the season when he was named NCSAA Midwest Coach of the Year, Coach of the Year and Missouri Valley Conference Coaching Staff of the Year. In his final campaign at Creighton (2018), the Bluejays finished with a 11-4-3 record, including a 2-0 win over then-No. 11 Clemson.

In 2014, Bolowich was named Big East Coach of the Year after Creighton finished the season with the highest winning percentage in the nation (16-3-3, .795) and claimed the Big East Conference regular season championship.  A year later in 2015, the Bluejays finished with 19 victories, the most in Division I, and had the third-highest scoring offense in the nation.

The Bluejays made six NCAA Tournament appearances, advanced to the College Cup three consecutive seasons, won four regular-season conference titles and captured two conference tournament championships under Bolowich’s leadership. He helped guide 12 Bluejays to All-America status and had 11 student-athletes earn conference Player of the Year honors.

Bolowich led the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s soccer program for 22 years and is the winningest coach in UNC men’s soccer history, posting an overall record of 280-144-40 (.647). He guided the Tar Heels to 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and led the program to its first national championship in program history in 2001.

A two-time ACC Coach of the Year (2000, 2010), Bolowich led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Tournament nine times and reached the NCAA Quarterfinals six times over his last 11 years with the program.

While at North Carolina, Bolowich coached 22 All-America selections, 28 First Team All-ACC honorees and nine MLS SuperDraft First Round selections.  Seven former Tar Heels who played under Bolowich have represented the United States with the U.S. National Team.

Bolowich is married to Nina. The couple’s son Alex graduated and played three seasons at Creighton, and is a B-license soccer coach for Armada Youth Academy. Their daughter Alya graduated from Appalachian State and received her master’s degree from NTSU in Norway. She currently resides in France.

Sasho Cirvoski, Head Coach Maryland Terrapins:
“This is a phenomenal hire by George Mason. Elmar is one of the most widely liked and respected college soccer coaches in the history of our game. He is not only one of the best coaches in the college game, but one of the nicest human beings. He has the perfect skillset to reenergize the George Mason men’s soccer program. I’m delighted to welcome one of my dearest friends to the DMV.”

Johnny Torres, Head Coach Creighton Bluejays:
“I met Coach Bolowich at the age of 13 as part of the Olympic development program and was fortunate to play for him as a youth. I then had the unbelievable opportunity to work and learn under him for eight years at Creighton. He is a legend in the college game and his resume speaks for itself. Most importantly, he’s a great person and great human being. He holds his team accountable and holds his players to the highest standard on and off the field. This is a tremendous hire by George Mason. I’m excited to see him back in the college game.”