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Florida State women’s soccer coach Mark Krikorian leaves an incomparable legacy

Mark Krikorian has served as the Florida State women's soccer head coach since 2005.
Will Brown
Used with permission
Mark Krikorian has served as the Florida State women's soccer head coach since 2005.

Mark Krikorian’s resignation as the Florida State University women’s soccer coach Wednesday afternoon sent reverberations throughout collegiate soccer.

Krikorian had become an institution in Tallahassee, leading the Seminoles to a trio of national championships and four regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference titles in his 17 years on the touchline. He won 310 games, the last of which was a penalty kick victory over Brigham Young, to clinch the 2021 national title.

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

In his statement, Krikorian specifically thanked former athletic administrators Dave Hart and Kim Record for bringing him to Tallahassee after the Women’s United Soccer Association folded following the 2003 season and a stint coaching the United States Under-19 team at the 2004 U-19 Women’s World Cup. He also cited the late Bobby Bowden and Monk Bonasorte for their guidance and wisdom.

Krikorian, like Bowden in football and JoAnne Graf in softball, transformed a sport where FSU had smattering success into one of the best programs in Division I. Krikorian produced a 310-68-34 record at Florida State and advanced to the NCAA College Cup 11 times.

“We’re saddened that Coach Krikorian will be leaving FSU,” said Florida State University President Richard McCullough in a statement. “He is one of the most successful coaches in collegiate women’s soccer history, and we are grateful for his years of service, his dedication to our student-athletes, and the glory he brought to our university. We wish him all the best in the future as we look forward to our soccer program’s continued success.”

Krikorian’s three national titles are second in the history of Division I women’s soccer behind North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance. Krikorian also won two national titles at Division III Franklin Pierce in 1994 and 1995. He produced a 478-117-40 record in 28 collegiate seasons at Florida State, Hartford and Franklin Pierce.

Florida State Athletic Director Michael Alford said the program will conduct a national search for Krikorian’s successor.

“Coach (Mark) Krikorian has done a remarkable job over his tenure here and all Florida State alumni and supporters deeply appreciate not only what he has accomplished in terms of championships, but the caliber of graduates he has produced,” Alford said in a statement. “We all wish him and his family well.

“We have the best women’s soccer program in the country and we will identify and pursue the best coach for our program. We have committed resources that are second to none and will continue to invest in the student-athlete experience.”

Krikorian’s last team is widely believed to have been his best. The Seminoles finished 22-1-2, conceded 13 goals all season and produced three All-Americans. Midfielder Jaelin Howell won the MAC Hermann Award, as the nation’s best collegiate soccer player for the second straight year. Midfielder Yujie Zhao and defender Emily Madril were also named All-Americans.

Meanwhile, defender Gabby Carle, who was late to preseason training because she helped Canada win an Olympic gold medal, was named the ACC’s Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Krikorian, who turned 62 on Tuesday, did not announce what is next for him. He did note that he does not plan to retire.

“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 (Division I) women’s soccer,” Krikorian wrote. “…I want to wish the team, the school and my fellow coaches continued success as you move forward in a new direction.”

Krikorian is the latest high-profile FSU departure. Head basketball coach Sue Semrau announced a week ago her plans to retire; and the longtime voice of FSU Football, Gene Deckerhoff announced his retirement plans earlier this month. The school recently announced Associate women's basketball coach and 2001-All American Brooke Wyckoff as the new head coach for women's basketball. No replacement for Deckerhoff has been named yet.

Will Brown has served as a reporter at newspapers in Florida and Texas since 2007. He has earned journalism degrees from Florida A&M University and the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. He is based in Fleming Island.