Derek Pittman returns for his third season as head coach of the Idaho Vandals women’s soccer team. Pittman helped the Vandals to unprecedented success during the 2015 season, leading Idaho to its first ever regular season championship and earning Big Sky Coach of the Year honors. Idaho finished the season 9-0-1 in Big Sky play, becoming the first BSC team ever to win nine games. The Vandals closed the regular season on a 14-game unbeaten streak and did not lose a game in regulation over the final two months of the season. Idaho went 14-4-3 on the year, tying the school record for wins.
Idaho dominated the conference as the highest scoring offense and stingiest defense. The Vandals landed eight athletes on All-Big Sky teams, including Goalkeeper of the Year Amanda Poertner. The squad rewrote the Idaho record books, as it recorded more goals, assists, points and shutouts than had ever been done before. The Vandals would go on to be ranked ninth in the Pacific Region by the NSCAA, one of the toughest regions in college soccer.
Several individuals also moved up the school and conference record books under Pittman’s tutelage. Poertner set the school records for most shutouts in a season, with nine, and goals against average, at 0.82. Junior Clara Gomez set both the school and conference record for assists in a season with 13.
Kavita Battan was tremendously successful in 2015, as she scored 10 goals and finished the season with 25 points on her way to earning First Team All-Big Sky and NSCAA All-Pacific Region Second Team honors.
Pittman led the Vandals to a 4-4-2 record in conference play in his first season, including a 2-1 win over eventual Big Sky Tournament Champion Northern Arizona. The fourth coach in school history, Pittman was the first to win multiple conference games in his first season with the program.
Four Vandals earned All-Big Sky honors in 2014, tying the previous program record for all-conference accolades.
Prior to joining Idaho, Pittman had 13 years of collegiate coaching experience. He came to the Vandals after spending four years as the associate head coach at Gonzaga Universty. While at Gonzaga he was responsible for the day-to-day training of the defenders and oversaw the goalkeeper training. Under his guidance the 2013 Gonzaga goalkeeping corps recorded its best goals-against average in the last seven years.
Pittman, a native of Tulsa, Okla., was a four-year starting goalkeeper at the University of Tulsa. While with the Hurricanes he earned All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team honors as a junior and he later led Tulsa to a national ranking as a senior. Pittman graduated from Tulsa with a degree in business administration in 1998 and served as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s soccer program at Tulsa from 2001-03. Under his direction, Tulsa’s goalkeepers had career bests in saves, shutouts and goals against average in a season. During the 2002 season, the Hurricanes were ranked 12th national and fifth in the Midwest Region.
Pittman played professionally for the Amateur Football Club in England while studying at Lancaster University. After training with the Division I Sheffield United and Burnley Football Club, he returned to the United States and played with the Columbus Comets and the Savannah RugRatz in the Eastern Indoor Soccer League.
Pittman, who is licensed by the United States Soccer Federation with a USSF “A” coaching license, has also coached on the club level including stints with the Pride Soccer Club of Missouri, the Tulsa Soccer Club of Oklahoma and the Little Rock Futbol Club of Arkansas.
In Pittman’s first year at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs put together an impressive run that saw themselves as contenders for a spot in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. Before the 2010 season began, the Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh in the WCC preseason. Gonzaga finished fourth in the standings, earning three league victories.
Before joining Gonzaga, Pittman spent three seasons as the head coach of the Arkansas State women’s soccer program, leading the Redwolves to a Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals appearance in 2009 for the first time in school history. He also led ASU to a program best eight wins along with program season-highs in points, goals, assists, shutouts, saves and goals against average.
Prior to his stint at ASU, Pittman served as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri (2004-06) and at the University of Georgia (2003-04). Pittman helped both programs achieve season-bests in shutouts and goals against averages during his time with the Tigers and Bulldogs. In 2003, the Georgia Bulldogs finished 13-10-0 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Pittman and his wife, Amber, have two daughters, Emma, and Jozy.
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