WASHINGTON, D.C. — George Washington men’s soccer head coach George Lidster has announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2011 season after 24 years at the helm of the Colonials’ program.
“During his 23-year tenure, Coach Lidster has mentored hundreds of student-athletes who have represented the university and athletic department with class and dignity both on the field and in the classroom,” GW director of athletics Patrick Nero said. “He has done a tremendous job developing the GW men’s soccer program into a successful one both athletically and academically. We look forward to supporting him and the men’s soccer program through a successful season this fall and wish him well in his retirement.”
Lidster, who came to GW in 1987 after serving as an assistant coach under Gordon Bradley at George Mason, has coached the Colonials for 23 years from 1987-96 and 1998 until present. He is the program’s all-time leader in victories with 191, a total that ranks him 45th among active Division I head coaches.
“I am very fortunate to have spent 23 seasons at this exceptional academic institution coaching a sport which has been my passion since childhood,” Lidster said. “I would like to thank the athletic administration at GW for their tremendous support during my tenure, and also thank all the talented student-athletes and assistant coaches I’ve been involved with.”
“On behalf of the athletic department, I want to congratulate Coach Lidster on a successful career filled with the excitement and highlights of 191 victories, three NCAA Tournaments and two A-10 championships,” said senior associate athletic director Mary Jo Warner, who has overseen the men’s soccer program during Lidster’s tenure. “George has been a great colleague and friend for more than two decades and we wish him the best in the future.”
A national search for GW’s next men’s soccer head coach will begin this fall headed by deputy director of athletics Chris Boyer, who also will now oversee the men’s soccer program.
“I very much look forward to working with Coach Lidster in his final season and supporting him in whatever ways I can,” Boyer said. “He has promised me his final season will be an exciting one. I also know he will be invaluable in ensuring a successful transition for his current student-athletes and incoming recruits, as well as being a resource for me in our national search for a head coach who will effectively build upon the foundation he has laid for GW men’s soccer.”
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Under Lidster’s direction, the Colonials have made three trips to the NCAA Tournament (1989, 2002, 2004) and 10 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament appearances, including winning league tournament titles in 2002 and 2004, and the 1992 regular-season championship. In 1989, he led GW to the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament and a team-record 14 victories, including a 3-1 decision against George Mason on Nov. 11, 1989, which marked the program’s first NCAA tournament triumph. Fifteen years later in 2004, Lidster guided the Colonials to their second NCAA victory, a 1-0 upset at North Carolina in the first round, and an improbable 10-9-4 record after starting the season 1-8-3.
Lidster has been named the A-10 Coach of Year twice. He was recognized for the first time after the team’s highly successful 1989 campaign — his third season at the helm of the program — and he earned co-Coach of the Year laurels after leading GW to its first regular-season A-10 title in 1992. In addition to his conference honors, Lidster was named the NCAA South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 1987, his first season in Foggy Bottom, after piloting the Colonials to a 10-5-3 overall record. He was one of only eight regional coaches selected nationwide.
Early in his stint at GW, Lidster mentored two-time All-American Mario Lone, and had three of his players earn A-10 Player of the Year honors (Kenny Emson in 1987, Lone in 1989 and 1991, and Marcelo Valencia in 1992). In addition, 22 players have earned a total of 39 all-conference accolades and 10 players have earned A-10 all-rookie honors on his watch.
Many of Lidster’s charges also have been recognized on the regional level, including Lone, Valencia, Ben Ferry, — who owns the NCAA single-season assist record (24 in 1997) — Matt Osborne and most recently, Andy Stadler, who earned NSCAA Middle Atlantic All-Region honors in 2008 and 2009.
In addition to their on-the-field success, the Colonials also have been successful in the classroom under Lidster. His 2002 and 2008 squads earned the prestigious NSCAA Academic Team Award for exceptional academic performance and the program has earned the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores four consecutive years from 2007-10. In 2002, Matt Osborne was named the Academic All-America Player of the Year for men’s soccer. In 23 seasons, Lidster has had 26 players earn A-10 Academic All-Conference recognition.