George Mason University hires Pitt’s Rich Costanzo as men’s soccer head coach
FAIRFAX, Va. – George Mason University Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Brad Edwards announced Friday that Rich Costanzo has been named the Patriots’ 11th men’s soccer head coach in program history.
Costanzo joins the Patriots after five seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh men’s soccer program, where he helped guide the Panthers to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2019-2021) and an appearance in the College Cup.
“We would like to welcome Rich Costanzo to George Mason University,” Edwards said. “Rich brings a championship pedigree to our men’s soccer program. Throughout his career, he has achieved an elite level of success as a student-athlete, a professional player and coach. Respected by his peers as a competitive and tireless worker, Rich played an integral role in the remarkable turnaround and resurgence of the University of Pittsburgh men’s soccer program. Rich is committed to providing our student-athletes with an exceptional academic and athletic experience. He demonstrates all the characteristics that make him an ideal fit for this important leadership position.”
During the 2021 season, the Panthers won the ACC Coastal Division Regular Season Championship and finished the season as the top-ranked scoring offense in the conference, averaging 2.47 goals per match. Pitt qualified for the NCAA Tournament as the No. 5 overall seed and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
In 2020-21, Costanzo helped guide the Panthers to a record-breaking season with the team posting a 16-4 overall record and a 9-1 record in ACC play. Pitt went on to win the ACC Costal Division title and earned a berth to the NCAA College Cup for the first time in program history.
“I want to thank Brad Edwards and the search committee at George Mason for believing in me and granting me this opportunity to lead the men’s soccer program,” Costanzo said. “I am excited to implement a style of play and culture that develops student-athletes on the field and in their academic pursuits. I am thrilled to be back in the DMV and look forward to having our program engage with our community. I am eager to work collaboratively with our athletic department to enhance the overall student-athlete experience.”
During the 2020-21 season, the Panthers broke single-season school records with 142 points and 44 assists, the club finished as the fifth best scoring offense in the nation. Pitt held the No. 1 ranking for five weeks in the United Soccer Coaches Poll (Oct. 20, 2020), holding the top spot for the first time in program history. It marked just the third time in Pitt Athletics history (football, men’s basketball) that a team was ranked No. 1 in its respective poll.
In 2019, Costanzo helped guide the Panthers to a 10-8-2 record overall and a 4-3-1 conference mark as Pitt earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament for the first time since 1965 and reached the second round.
Pitt hosted its first ACC Tournament game and recorded a 2-1 overtime victory over NC State in the quarterfinal round, which advanced the Panthers into the ACC semifinals for the first time in school history. Pitt also upset No. 1 Virginia, 2-0, on the road on Oct. 18 for its first victory over a No. 1 team in program history.
During his second year at Pitt in the 2018 season, Costanzo helped head coach Jay Vidovich lead the Panthers to wins over two ranked opponents in No. 12 NC State and No. 7 Virginia in the ACC Men’s Soccer Tournament. The victory over the Cavaliers marked the Panthers’ first ACC Tournament win in program history. Pitt collected its first conference win on the season against the Wolfpack and picked up another ACC victory over Clemson on Oct. 5.
In his first year on the Panthers staff in 2017, Costanzo assisted Pitt to wins over three ranked opponents (No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 13 Columbia and No. 21 Syracuse). The win against Syracuse was the Panthers’ first win over a ranked opponent since the 2008 season and the first conference win for Pitt since moving into the ACC at the start of the 2013 season.
Costanzo also spent three years as an assistant coach at Army West Point from 2014-2017. The Black Knights made three straight trips to the Patriot League Tournament and advanced to the semifinals in 2014.
Costanzo played at Penn State (2004-2005), where he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2004 and was also selected Freshman All-America by Soccer America and TopDrawerSoccer. He transferred to the University of Maryland (2006-2008), and as a senior, he captained the 2008 squad to the NCAA Division I National Championship and ACC Championship.
Costanzo graduated from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in December 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Business.
After his collegiate career Costanzo played in more than 100 games over five years professionally, with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (43 games), Rochester Rhinos (2010-11) and the Minnesota Thunder (20 games) of the United States Soccer League (USL).
In 2012, Costanzo founded the Pittsburgh Soccer Academy (PSA), a training organization for youth soccer players. The program, under Costanzo’s direction, offers players one-on-one training, group training, camps and clinics in the Pittsburgh area.
Costanzo holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “A” Coaching License and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Premier Diploma. He is also a U.S. Soccer Network Scout where he evaluates U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) teams and players.
Following a successful year on the sidelines in 2015, Costanzo was selected by the NSCAA for the “30 under 30” Coaching Development Program, a year-long education and mentorship program for a selected group of up-and-coming coaches who are making soccer their career.
Costanzo attended Thomas Jefferson High School, and was inducted into the Heinz History Hall of Fame in 2012. He was a member of the U18 National Team in 2004 and was a part of the Olympic Development Program from 2002-2005.
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