West Virginia University Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons has named Dan Stratford as the school’s 10th men’s soccer coach.
Stratford, who played for the Mountaineers from 2004-07, and served as an assistant coach at WVU from 2011-13, returns to Morgantown after a three-year stint as the head coach at the University of Charleston. While at UC, he compiled a record of 61-4-5 and led the Golden Eagles to a pair of Division II National Championships in 2017 and 2019.
The London, England, native was named the Mountain East Conference (MEC) Coach of the Year for all sports in 2017 and is a two-time United Soccer Coaches Division II Coaching Staff of the Year (2017, 2019) winner. Under Stratford’s tutelage, UC also won three conference regular-season championships and two conference tournament titles in the last three years.
“I am happy to welcome Dan back to his alma mater. After an outstanding collegiate and pro career, he has established himself as one of the bright and up-and-coming coaches in collegiate soccer,” Lyons said. “Winning two National Championships at the University of Charleston speaks for itself, and I believe Dan will bring momentum to Morgantown and continue to strengthen our men’s soccer program.”
Charleston finished 22-2-1 this past season en route to its second National Championship in three years. The Golden Eagles outscored their opponents, 87-8, and earned 17 shutouts. In all, the squad finished the campaign on a 12-match win streak.
In 2018, UC conceded just four total goals, an all-time goals-against average record in Division II men’s soccer history. The team went undefeated in the regular season before finishing with an 18-1-2 mark.
Stratford’s first season in charge in 2017 was capped off with UC’s first men’s soccer National Championship. On the heels of a 15-match win streak, the Golden Eagles allowed just eight goals all year while tallying 19 shutouts. The squad finished 21-1-2 on the year, as Stratford mentored his first collection of student-athletes as a head coach, including Thomas Vancaeyezeele, the Division II National Player of the Year.
“Thank you to Shane, (senior associate athletics director/sports administrator) Terri Howes and everyone on the search committee for giving me this opportunity to go back to my alma mater,” Stratford said. “It’s an incredibly proud moment for me, and it feels like I’ve gone full circle from being a Mountaineer freshman in 2004, to now being in this position to lead the program. I’m really excited to get started with the players and work toward taking this team to the next level.
“I’m also incredibly thankful for the time I’ve had at UC and how I’ve been looked after by everyone at the university, in particular (Charleston Director of Athletics) Dr. Bren Stevens. I thank them for trusting in me, as well as the players and staff for buying into the identity that we’ve developed and the success we’ve had.”
From 2014-16, Stratford served as an assistant coach at UC, helping the Golden Eagles to three trips to the Division II Final Four with two National Runner-Up finishes.
Prior to his time at Charleston, Stratford was an assistant coach for three seasons at WVU from 2011-13. The Mountaineers reached the NCAA Tournament Second Round in 2011, before joining the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in 2012.
One of the most decorated players in program history, Stratford played for the Mountaineers from 2004-07, finishing No. 1 in WVU history in matches played in a season (23) and career (85), as well as No. 1 in career game-winning assists (13) and game-winning points (31). Additionally, Stratford, an All-Big East and all-region selection as a senior, sits No. 2 in school history in career assists (27), shots on goal (86) and multi-assist games (4), No. 3 in matches started (79), No. 4 in game-winning goals (9) and No. 9 in career points (67).
Stratford led the Mountaineers to a four-year mark of 54-24-8 with three NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2006 Big East regular-season championship as a player. WVU reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in program history during Stratford’s senior season in 2007.
Drafted by D.C. United in 2008, Stratford’s played one season in Major League Soccer (MLS) before joining Scottish club Inverness Caledonian Thistle from 2009-10. He finished his professional career at Hereford United (England) from 2010-11.
Stratford owns a UEFA ‘B’ coaching license and graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in physical education teacher education in 2009. He also earned a master’s degree at WVU in 2015.