JMU men’s soccer coach Paul Zazenski signs 5-year extension
HARRISONBURG, Va. (Via James Madison University) – James Madison men’s soccer Head Coach Paul Zazenski signed a five year contract through the 2023 season, as announced by Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne on Tuesday morning.
“Paul was presented with a unique opportunity under unique circumstances when he took the reins of our men’s soccer program in early August,” Bourne said. “Needless to say, he did a tremendous job pulling the team together and uniting our young men to achieve one of the greatest seasons in JMU soccer history. He Seized the opportunity and we are thrilled to reward Paul and his family with the chance to stay in Harrisonburg and guide JMU men’s soccer to an even brighter future.”
In his first year at the helm, Zazenski was named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year after leading his team to the 2018 regular-season title and the program’s sixth CAA championship. The Dukes went on to play in the 2018 NCAA Championship where they reached the Quarterfinals for the first time since 1995.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank Mr. Jeff Bourne, Kevin White, Charlie King and all of the JMU administration for the opportunity to continue leading the JMU men’s soccer program for years to come,” Zazenski said. “The past four seasons as both an assistant and now head coach have been special in so many ways. My family and I have established roots in the city of Harrisonburg and within the JMU community – we truly feel at home.”
Zazenski and his staff were named the Regional Staff of the Year for the Atlantic region by United Soccer Coaches while five student-athletes earned All-Atlantic Region honors after posting a 15-5-3 overall record in the 2018 campaign. Fifteen wins on the season inks Zazenski in the record book as the winningest first-year coach in JMU men’s soccer history. He was also named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Coach of the Year.
“With hard work, my staff and I will continue to drive the program forward without forgetting the rich history of the past,” said Zazenski. “What excites me most is the opportunity to coach such a great group of student-athletes moving into the 2019 season and beyond. I can only hope to make the same impact on them that JMU has left on me.”
After receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship, JMU traveled to High Point in the First Round where they shut out the Panthers, 3-0. The Dukes stayed in North Carolina to face the No. 5 Tar Heels in the Second round in which they topped UNC, 2-1.
JMU picked up its second shutout in the NCAA tournament in the Third Round, defeating Virginia Tech 3-0 in Blacksburg. The Dukes traveled to East Lansing to battle Michigan State in the Quarterfinals, but their season came to an end with a 2-1 loss.
Under Zazenski’s leadership, JMU made it in to the United Soccer Coaches Poll for the first time since 2011, earning a spot at No. 25 on October 23. The Dukes were recognized in the poll for six straight weeks.
The Dukes won their second consecutive regular-season title after going 6-2 in conference action this season. Zazenski headlined the CAA postseason honors as JMU snagged a program-record ten awards while nine student-athletes were All-CAA Team selections.
Prior to becoming head coach at the beginning of August, Zazenski was elevated to associate head coach on July 18 after working as an assistant since 2015. While an assistant, he mainly focused on coordinating both program operations and player development.
Zazenski’s collegiate coaching career began at the University of Providence, previously named the University of Great Falls, where he worked his way up the ladder, starting as an assistant coach before being elevated to head coach. After five seasons with the Argonauts, Zazenski led the program to an impressive 70-23-4 record.