Gurnett stepping down after 2010 season

By Dennis O'Donnell

September 15, 2010


Terry Gurnett ’77 will step down as head women’s soccer coach after the 2010 season to devote more energy to his role as associate director of athletics for University Advancement. He entered the 2010 campaign as the winningest coach among NCAA Division III women’s soccer coaches and third in victories among women’s soccer coaches in all divisions. At the start of this season, his career record stood at 410 wins, 131 losses, and 62 ties in 33 years.

“I am indeed fortunate to have been able to coach at a place like Rochester,” Gurnett says. “I have been blessed with being able to do what I love to do, at an institution that I love, with people that I love for the past 33 years.”

Thomas (“Sike”) Dardaganis, who has served as the assistant women’s soccer coach for the past 14 years, will become the new head coach after the 2010 season.

“As a member of my senior administrative team, Terry has played an important role in our department,” says George VanderZwaag, athletics director. “The tremendous growth of the Friends of Rochester Athletics over the past 10 years has allowed us to develop facilities and programs that effectively serve our campus community and compete on a national scale.”

With Gurnett walking the sidelines, Rochester has won 12 team championships in the University Athletic Association in 23 years. The Yellowjackets have 10 outright titles—more than twice that of any other UAA school—and shared two others.

Rochester won the first two NCAA Division III national championships in women’s soccer (1986 and 1987). The Yellowjackets have appeared in the NCAA playoffs 19 times and have been selected for post-season play for the last 25 years (six in the ECAC playoffs).

Gurnett’s players have received 33 all-America honors through the 2009 season. His student-athletes achieve excellence in academic settings as well. Three Rochester players have been selected to the ESPN Academic All-America Team (as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America). Seven others have been named to the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete Team as chosen by members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. As a team, Rochester has earned the NSCAA’s Team Academic Award every year since 1999. Two Rochester players have earned Fulbright scholarships in the past four years.

Gurnett and his coaching staff have been named the UAA’s Coaching Staff of the Year five times. He was selected as the NSCAA Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2005 and the New York State Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006. In 1991, the NCAA declared Gurnett as the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Coach of the Decade for the 1980s. In 2010, Gurnett received a Letter of Commendation from the NSCAA at its annual convention in Philadelphia. It was awarded based on his longtime service to soccer, both on and off the field.

In addition to all the accolades, Gurnett also is the national chair of the NSCAA All-America Committee, a member of the Division III Ranking Committee, and a member of the ECAC Women’s Soccer Tournament Selection Committee.

Gurnett will have an expanded role in athletic development as the University embarks on a major fundraising campaign.

“It is very exciting that athletics will be an integral part of the upcoming campaign, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to devote my energies to make it a success,” Gurnett says. “We will be renovating our outdoor athletic complex, building our athletic endowments, and making our athletic annual fund even stronger.”

The University administration supports the change.

“Terry Gurnett is peerless as a coach, having consistently nurtured his teams and kept women’s soccer at the top for an astonishing 33 years,” says Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. “While doing this, he has been instrumental in establishing Friends of Rochester Athletics as a powerful force for strengthening all our programs. I’m delighted that Terry’s immense talents will now be fully deployed in preparation for our campaign.”


President Seligman congratulated Gurnett on his success.

“For 33 years Terry has been a stalwart of our athletic program. He has been a great coach and, more than that, a great inspiration to our students and alumni,” Seligman says.

Gurnett is a graduate of Spencerport High School, where he played on two sectional championship teams. He moved to Monroe Community College, where his teams were both ranked No. 1 nationally, and he played in the national championship game his freshman year. He transferred to the University, where he started for two seasons. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1977.

Gurnett lives with his wife of 31 years, Mary, in Spencerport. The couple has three grown children.