Author Topic: Women's soccer coach resigns  (Read 1099 times)

Offline David

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Women's soccer coach resigns
« on: February 01, 2007, 09:47:27 AM »
Mike Giuliano, the San Diego State women's soccer head coach, resigned yesterday after three seasons and controversy surrounding the end of his tenure.

When four players were dismissed in November, SDSU's Office of Diversity and Equality began an investigation into allegations that Giuliano had stressed religion on the team - a claim made by former players and parents, including Gary Mello, whose daughter, Jen Mello, transferred to USD after a fallout with the coaching staff.

But captains Ashley Young and Jessica Girdner said religion was never an issue, and Giuliano said his resignation was not influenced by the investigation. He said he could not comment on the specifics until it is over in "a few days."

Attorney Jessica Cook of the Office of Diversity and Equality said her office would not discipline him because he is no longer with SDSU.

Giuliano said his reasons for departing were personal and involved his family's financial struggles. His wife was offered a job in Lincolnshire, Ill., and yesterday Giuliano accepted the head coaching position for the men's soccer team at Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts institution in Wheaton, Ill.

"I would have told you three or four weeks ago that this is my last job," said Giuliano, adding that he had informal talks with Wheaton College administrators before visiting the campus on Friday. "I wanted to stay. I love it here."

But Gary Mello maintains that the timing of the move, as well as the location, are results of the program's rocky climate and Giuliano's philosophy.

"It sounds to me like the fire might have gotten very hot in the kitchen," Gary Mello said. "The thing that's probably the most disturbing to me is that the religion thing was just one part of the whole story."

For now, assistant coach Mike Friesen will oversee the program until the search for a replacement concludes. He is a candidate for the job, and the captains said the team is vying for him to take over a squad that finished 6-11-3 last season.

Although Giuliano didn't say in a phone interview yesterday that Wheaton College's faith-based values were his primary factor for going there, the Thunder's press release announcing his hiring showed his enthusiasm for his new occupation.

"This is a dream job," Giuliano said. "In my brief time on campus for the interview, I realized that Wheaton is a unique place. It is a unique combination of Christian commitment and academics. Plus, it is a place where you can win championships."