Winthrop men’s soccer will be celebrating 40 years when it takes the field in its season opener on Friday, Aug. 29 against Wofford College in the opening game of the Big South/SOCON Challenge at Gardner-Webb University.
It has been 40 years filled with hard work and dedication by the players and coaching staffs to turn Winthrop into one of the best programs in Big South Conference history and a well-respected program in the college community. In 24 of the program’s 39 seasons to date the team has won 10 or more games in a season. Winthrop is second in Big South history with four 15-win seasons.
The first soccer team at Winthrop was organized in 1975 by head coach Jim Casada and played 10 games that season. The program picked up its first ever victory in the second game that season with a 2-1 victory over USC-Aiken.
Over the course of 40 years, the program has 400 victories, five NCAA College Cup Appearances, four Big South Conference Tournament Championships. The program is second all-time with 303 victories in the Big South since becoming a member in 1985. The Eagles also have the second most league victories all-time with 109. Winthrop made its first NCAA College Cup appearance in 2002. After the Eagles knocked off nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina in the conference tournament final, they headed to Chapel Hill, NC to face 17th-ranked North Carolina in the opening round of the College Cup. The Eagles fifth postseason appearance was historical as the 2012 squad became the program’s first to advance in the College Cup after eliminating Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, 3-1 in penalties.
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Casada, who was inducted into the Winthrop Hall of Fame in 2014, coached the Eagles the first 12 seasons, amassing 133 victories that included the most wins in a single-season with 18 in 1984. During his tenure the program produced five NAIA All-America selections as well as seven NSCAA All-Region selections.
The head coaching reins were turned over to Frankie Griffin, who was a standout for the Eagles and the program’s all-time leading scorer when he graduated (currently ranked 2nd all-time). Griffin had a short stint as coach of the Eagles, guiding the team to 17 victories in just two seasons before giving way to Rich Posipanko.
Posipanko has been at the helm of the program for the last 24 seasons and produced some of the best seasons in the programs history including all four conference titles and all five NCAA College Cup appearances. All four titles and the NCAA Tournament appearances have come since 2002. He’s currently the conference’s all-time leader in victories with 251.
Winthrop is second with nine championship match appearances and has been in the Big South title game six times in the last 12 seasons.
As part of the 40th Anniversary celebration, Winthrop would like to recognize any former players or coaches. If you attend a game, please let someone at the press box or one of the Winthrop soccer coaches know when you show up so you can be of a pregame recognition.