Bob Warming will be remembered as the coach who built the Creighton program from scratch, established the Bluejays as a power in college soccer, and helped lead the drive to build Morrison Stadium, one of the best soccer facilities in the country. As he leaves the Hilltop, many are wondering why Warming decided to take the Penn State job and who will be the next men’s soccer coach at CU.
Creighton fans have their own opinions about who should lead the Bluejays into the next era of Creighton soccer. With well respected assistant coach Jason Mims and decorated former Creighton star Johnny Torres still on the Creighton staff, it is feasible for both men to get a shot at the head coaching position. However, we decided to go outside of the Creighton family for a little insight about the status of the Bluejays program, where it is headed, and who might be the best coach to replace Warming.
Bob Bradner, editor of College Soccer News, took some time with White & Blue Review to provide his thoughts about the changing of the guard.
White & Blue Review: Where was Bob Warming on your list of candidates for the Penn State position? What others were you aware of that either interviewed or were mentioned for the spot?
College Soccer News: Actually we were a bit surprised to hear that Bob Warming was leaving Creighton to take the head coaching job at Penn State. It looks to be a good hire for Penn State but we assumed that Warming was settled in at Creighton. In retrospect maybe our logic in that regard may have been flawed when you consider the fact that Warming has elected to move in the past, having served as the head coach at Charlotte, Old Dominion, Saint Louis, and at Creighton on two separate occasions.
The first candidate that we thought of when Barry Gorman announced his resignation was Marlon LeBlanc at West Virginia, since he had been an assistant coach under Gorman and Penn State was his alma mater. However, LeBlanc issued a statement indicating that he was committed to West Virginia.
WBR: At Creighton, Warming was a very public figure and great at getting the Creighton name out in the community. Is that something you see him being able to do around University Park?
CSN: When you think of college soccer programs with a solid fan base Creighton is definitely one of the first schools that come to mind along with UC Santa Barbara, Connecticut, and Maryland. The matches at Morrison Stadium have reached event status and the Omaha community really seems to support the program, which is a real positive. The attendance at Penn State is significantly below that at Creighton so there is a real opportunity for improvement in terms of getting more community support for the program. It would seem that Warming’s skills at garnering community support would be transferable which should be a plus for the folks in University Park. It’s highly likely though that he will have more competition for people’s attention in University Park than he faced in Omaha so he may have a tougher time at gaining community support. On the other hand, winning always is a big plus in attracting community support and Warming has a successful track record in that regard.
WBR: From a national perspective, what does this move mean for the state of the Nittany Lions program?
CSN: It has to be considered a plus because it demonstrates that the program can attract a big name head coach with a proven record of success. It seems that there has been more than the average number of highly visible coaching changes this year. Three of the seven Big Ten schools will enter the 2010 season with new head coaches: Warming at Penn State, Todd Yeagley at Indiana, and John Trask at Wisconsin.
WBR: If Creighton looks to fill the position from outside the program, who are some up-and-coming coaches that you think might be on Creighton’s radar?
CSN: We are going to pass on trying to identify up-and-coming coaches that might be on Creighton’s radar. It would seem to us that Creighton would take a long and serious look at current assistant coach Jason Mims. He has been one of the assistant coaches that College Soccer News has recognized as among the best in the country on a couple of occasions.
WBR: How soon does Creighton need to hire a coach? What are some key dates that might help or hurt Creighton during the hiring process?
CSN: There is not a lot of time to spare at this point. The 2010 preseason exhibition schedule begins at most schools on or around Saturday, August 21 with the first regular season matches getting underway on Friday, September 3. The key at this point is to go through the required hiring process as soon as possible so that the new coaching staff gets a little time to settle in before players report for practice in August.
WBR: Where do you see Creighton on the stage of college soccer? Where do they rank amongst the top programs?
CSN: Seventeen NCAA Tourney appearances in the past eighteen years pretty much speaks volumes about the status of the program. Creighton is a program with a great tradition, great fan base, and an exciting style of soccer that is enjoyable to watch and play. Last year’s 7-4-5 record was disappointing but one season does not take away from the fact that the program has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success over the years.
WBR: In college sports, there is always talk of recruits coming to play for coaches instead of schools. Does that work the same in college soccer?
CSN: Yes, to a certain point. The style of play of the coach and the temperament of the coach are factors that most players take into consideration when selecting a school. Players often get a chance to learn about coaches by attending college camps or other events where they get a first hand chance to observe individual coaches. They also learn a lot about coaches through discussion with other players that they know. It is important for players not to overlook the importance of selecting a college that they feel is a good fit for them.