ASU's Ray Leone to Take Over Harvard Women's Soccer Program
Feb. 22, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. - Ray Leone has resigned his position as head coach of the Arizona State University women's soccer program to accept the same position at Harvard University, Vice President for University Athletics Lisa Love announced Thursday. The head coach of the Sun Devils for the past six seasons, Leone guided ASU to two NCAA Second Round appearances while also building a program that accumulated numerous academic accolades, including holding the highest GPA of all 22 varsity teams on campus each of the past five years.
'I want to thank the entire Arizona State athletic department and academic community for a fantastic experience,' Leone said. 'I have enjoyed working with everyone so much that this was an extremely difficult decision for my family and I to make. Our Sun Devil team is like family to Tracey and I and they always will be. The decision was purely a family decision to work at Harvard and to be closer to my family while our daughter grows up. To be part of the Ivy League mission is something that also appeals to me at this stage of my career. We are very proud that we are leaving ASU in a strong position to attract a wonderful coach that will lead quality people and players and continue what has been started. We wish nothing but success to this fantastic group of young women we have been so fortunate to work with.'
'The Arizona State University Athletic Department would like to thank Ray for his work with the Sun Devil program and wish him the best at his new position,' Love said. 'Although we are losing a coach today, we also are gaining an opportunity to continue to build our women's soccer program and strive to be one of the top programs in the nation.'
Leone compiled an overall record of 60-45-14 in his tenure in Tempe and guided the Sun Devils to a 6-2-1 record and a second-place finish in the Pac-10 Conference in 2003, the program's highest league finish. Holding a 5-0-1 record against rival Arizona, Leone's student-athletes accumulated 16 All-America honors and 19 total regional accolades from both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and SoccerBuzz. In the league, 20 players attained All-Pac-10 accolades with nine Sun Devils earning first team honors, including Kim Bingham in 2006. Along with the conference teams, Elizabeth Bogus was selected as the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
Academically, the Sun Devils also excelled during Leone's tenure with five Academic All-America honors earned (the only five in program history), including Bingham's selection to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team in 2006. Holders of the highest team GPA on campus over the last five seasons, Leone's squad also had the highest academic marks among the 64 teams that comprised the 2002 NCAA tournament. On a regional level, his Sun Devils accumulated 13 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII honors, including seven first honors, two of which were achieved in 2006.
On the conference level, the Sun Devil soccer program earned 41 selections to the Academic All-Pac-10 teams under Leone with 12 of those honors coming in the form of first team selections. In 2005, the Sun Devils had a staggering 11 student-athletes on the Pac-10 academic lists and led the league with four players earning first team accolades. Over the past three years, ASU has also awarded Male and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year honors with two of Leone's athletes, Holly Azevedo in 2004 and Manya Makoski in 2006, earning the honor.
Leone also had a hand in bringing the world game to Valley of the Sun on two occasions during the past season. On October 1, 2006, his team played host to the Mexican Women's National Team for a friendly at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium with a record crowd of 2,136 fans on hand to see the Tri Color win the exhibition, 3-0. Then, on February 5-6, the Mexican Men's National Team was invited to Tempe where the Tri Color used the ASU facilities to train for an international friendly against the United States in Glendale on February 7.