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Head coach Mark Krikorian leaving FSU soccer

A legend leaves the juggernaut he created

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Florida State Seminoles women’s soccer head coach Mark Krikorian, who has established FSU as a national power over his decade-plus tenure, is stepping away from the program.

Krikorian announced his decision via an email.

The full text is below:

I’d like to thank FSU and the community for my 17 years in Tallahassee.

Every coach has a shelf life and it is time for me to move onto my next chapter. While the university offered me a generous contract, my decision is not based on money.

I want to thank Dave Hart and Kim Record for bringing me to FSU and teaching me how to be a leader and a professional. Coach Bowden for showing me the importance of being a gentleman. I’d like to acknowledge Monk Bonasorte for his undying loyalty to FSU and for the constant support that he gave to FSU soccer. I would also like to thank all of the players and staff that worked so hard over the years to help create a program that has been consistently at the top of D1 women’s soccer.

Finally, I want to wish the team, the school and my fellow coaches continued success as you move forward in a new direction.

Some excerpts from his official bio, written prior to FSU winning the national title this past season, are below:

Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian took over the Seminole women’s soccer program in 2005 and has proven to the nation that FSU soccer will be a national title contender on an annual basis. Through 15 seasons in Tallahassee, Krikorian has led FSU to a pair of NCAA National Championships in 2014 and 2018, nine College Cup appearances, four appearances in the national title game (2007, 2013, 2014 and 2018), three ACC regular-season titles (2009, 2012 and 2014) and six league championships (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018).

Krikorian has registered at least 16 wins in 13 of 15 seasons at Florida State while finishing no lower than second place a total of 12 times in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the nation’s premier soccer conference.

Earning the 2018 NCAA Championship was a complete team effort, as the Seminoles played with 14 different starting lineups through the 27 matches of the season due to a combination of injuries, international call-ups and illnesses. Nineteen of the 23 players that saw game action on the year earned at least one start and no lineup combination was used more than six times on the year.

That allowed the team to gain valuable experience and versatility and depth to make the run to the ACC and NCAA Championship. The Seminoles finished with a 20-4-3 record and defeated each of the last three national champions in the 2018 NCAA Tournament en route to their second title – 2017 Stanford, 2016 USC and 2015 Penn State. Florida State defeated No. 1 Stanford in the NCAA semifinal by a score of 2-0, snapping the Cardinal’s 45-match unbeaten streak, which was the fourth-longest in NCAA history. Overall, Florida State held a 9-1-2 record against ranked opponents on the season, including a 6-1-2 mark against Top 10 teams. The Seminoles culminated the season with a 1-0 shutout of No. 3 North Carolina in the NCAA Championship Game, defeating the Tar Heels for the second time in 2018 and tenth time in school history, the most of any school in the nation.

In 2014, the Seminoles earned their first national championship in an impressive season that saw Florida State control its opponents all season long. FSU posted 19 shutouts over 26 games, allowing only nine goals on the season. Florida State closed out the season with seven shutouts and became just the second team in history to win a national championship without allowing a goal in all six games of the NCAA Tournament (North Carolina, 2003).

Since Krikorian’s arrival in 2005, Florida State has produced 350 All-ACC first-team selections, 34 United Soccer Coaches All-Americans, 14 Soccer America Freshman All-Americans, 14 players that have earned United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America honors or Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, 14 MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalists and six Honda Award finalists.

Defensively, Krikorian’s teams have been just as good registering sub-1.00 goals-against average in nine of his first 10 years. Since 2005, the Seminole defense has posted a 0.77 GAA yielding just under 20 goals a season. Goals have certainly been hard to come by for opponents since Krikorian’s arrival as the Seminoles have posted a shutout in over half of the total games he has coached – 191 shutouts in 348 games (54.9%). In 2014, FSU set the schoo-lrecord for the fewest goals allowed (9) and the lowest goals-against average in a season (0.34), while setting a school record for shutouts with 19. The Seminoles allowed just two goals to ACC opponents in the regular-season and recorded two separate streaks of over 500 minutes without surrendering a goal. With 19 shutouts in 2014, FSU extended the school’s streak of reaching double-digit shutouts to 10 consecutive years. In the postseason, Florida State has posted 43 shutouts since 2005 including a school-record six shutouts in 2014.

His first year on the job was nothing short of magnificent leading the Seminoles to their first 20-win season and second College Cup in 2005. In his second year at the helm, the Seminoles continued their dominance reaching the College Cup for the third time in the program’s 12th year. The 2008 season was no different as he directed the Seminoles to an 8-1-1 record in the ACC, their highest winning percentage (.850) in league play in school history. In 2012, the Seminoles tied the school-record for victories (20) while winning their first outright regular-season ACC title with an 8-2-0 record. A year later Krikorian led the Seminoles to a school-record 23 victories, including 10 wins in a 13-game ACC schedule, and to just two losses all season, the fewest recorded in school history. The 2014 season saw Krikorian decrease that loss category to one, as the Seminoles earned their first national championship and first undefeated season in conference play (9-0-1).

In 13 of his 15 seasons at FSU, Krikorian has earned at least three NCAA Tournament wins and reached the tournament quarterfinals, a feat that had only occurred once prior in program history. It should not be surprising when examining Krikorian’s past. He won two National Championships following undefeated seasons at Franklin Pierce. He then built Hartford into a national power before coming to FSU. Krikorian has never posted a winning percentage below .700 at any of his collegiate head coaching positions. With that kind of success, it is easy to see why he is one of the most successful coaches of all-time. Krikorian currently ranks eighth on the all-time list for winningest coaches across all divisions and has the second-winningest percentage among active head coaches in Division I.

After what Krikorian has done at Florida State, it would be hard not to argue that he is one of the best coaches in Division I. In 2012, he led FSU to its best start in school history as the Seminoles won its first 14 matches outscoring the opposition 31-3. The 14-game win streak was five better than the previous win streak set in 2005 and one better than the 13-game unbeaten streak orchestrated by the 2008 squad. The 10 longest win streaks in school history have all come under Krikorian’s guidance.

Thirteen seasons ago, Krikorian became just the second coach in ACC history to lead his team to seven consecutive wins in conference play. He tied the mark in 2008 with a string of seven straight wins against league opponents. Both marks fell after the Seminoles won 10 straight ACC games over two seasons from 2011 to 2012, including eight consecutive league wins to open 2012. The Seminole boss also led FSU to a school-record 37-game home unbeaten streak (36-0-1) from 2011 to 2014. The home unbeaten streak stands as the ninth longest streak in NCAA history.

Krikorian’s impact at FSU was immediate. In his first 30 games, Krikorian posted a .850 winning percentage, 300 percentage points higher than any previous coach in FSU history. With a 2-1 victory over Stetson in 2006, he became the fastest FSU coach to earn 30 wins, reaching it in just 38 matches.

Krikorian hasn’t just produced wins; he has secured big wins as well. In the first 10 years and 206 games of FSU soccer history, the Seminoles recorded seven wins over top 10 teams. In 371 games under Krikorian, Florida State has recorded 106 ranked wins and 45 top 10 victories including six in 2018. In addition to the win streaks, wins over top teams and trips to the College Cup, Krikorian led FSU to its highest ranking ever in all four college soccer polls including the first No. 1 ranking in school history. After downing No. 1 Portland 2-1 to kick-off the 2006 season, the Seminoles jumped to the top spot in the nation in the Soccer America top 25 poll, a spot they held for four consecutive weeks. Following their national championship in 2014, the Seminoles finished the season ranked No. 1 by the NSCAA. FSU spent a total of four weeks of 2015 as the No. 1 team in the country, including two weeks after defeating No. 1 North Carolina.

In Krikorian’s first year at the helm of the Seminole program, FSU established new records for overall wins, winning percentage, fewest losses, most ACC wins, the best ACC winning percentage and longest win streak both in and out of the conference. Krikorian’s 2005 squad was the first in school history to reach 20 wins and they matched the highest finish ever by an FSU team in ACC play as they tied for second. He led Florida State to a school-record seven wins over NSCAA top 25 teams and for the first time in program history, FSU spent a month ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams in every soccer poll.

Krikorian took a Seminole team that was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and led them to the College Cup the very next season. He was just the sixth coach in the history of DI women’s soccer to lead his team to the national semifinals in his first season at a school. At the time, FSU was one of six schools that had gone to the College Cup under the direction of two different coaches.

For his efforts, Krikorian was honored both regionally and nationally in his first season. He was named the first ACC Coach of the Year in Seminole soccer history, the 2005 Soccer America National Coach of the Year, the 2005 Soccer Buzz National Coach of the Year, Soccer Buzz’s Southeast Region Coach of the Year and the NSCAA’s South Region Coach of the Year.

On top of his impressive resume in coaching the top talent at the collegiate level, Krikorian has worked with the world’s best players during his stops as the head coach of the U.S. U-19 National Team and his three years with the Philadelphia Charge. Florida State’s head coach has worked with soccer greats from all over the world including U.S. National Team stars Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly, Tiffeny Milbrett, Heather Mitts and Lorie Fair, English National Team player Kelly Smith, French National Marinette Pichon and Brazilian National Team players Sissi and Katia.

Florida State players haven’t only been recognized for their success on the field, but in the classroom as well. Over the last 23 years, Florida State has earned regional/district academic awards 54 times. Katrin Schmidt and Kirsten van de Ven were named First-Team Scholar All-Americans by the NSCAA in 2007 and Becky Edwards followed suit in 2008. In 2009, Edwards was named a Third-Team Academic All-American by CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine. Kassey Kallman became the program’s first two-time Academic All-American earning second-team honors in 2012 and 2013. Emma Koivisto was named a Third-Team Academic All-American in 2015 and All-Region in 2017, while Kirsten Crowley earned First-Team Scholar All-American honors in 2016. In 2018, Gabby Carle won the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award for having the highest GPA at the College Cup and a year later was named a 2019 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American. Additionally, FSU soccer players have been named to the ACC All-Academic Team 57 times including 34 times over the last five years with a school-record eight named to the team in 2011. Tori Huster led the pack in 2011 becoming the first Seminole soccer player to earn ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, while Kallman won the award in 2013 and Dagny Brynjarsdottir in 2014.

A four-time ACC Coach of the Year (2005, 2009, 2012 and 2014), Krikorian has been at the helm of a college team for a total of 25 seasons now and has recorded 18+ wins 15 times during that span. The 2005 season bettered his first year coaching at Franklin Pierce and Hartford for wins, fewest losses and highest winning percentage.