It’s the end of an era.
For 26 years the Mizzou Women’s Soccer program has existed and for 26 years Bryan Blitz has been at the helm. From the MUTigers.com release:
The only head coach in Mizzou Soccer history, Blitz posted a 254-216-39 in 25 seasons along the Tiger sideline, and a 299-260-47 mark in 30 seasons as a collegiate head coach all-told. His 25-year head coaching tenure is the fifth-longest in the history of Mizzou Athletics behind John “Hi” Simmons’ 35 years in Baseball (1937-73), Norm Stewart’s 32 years in Men’s Basketball (1967-99), Rick McGuire’s 27-year tenure in Men’s & Women’s Track (1983-2010) and Tom Botts’ 26 seasons leading Men’s Track & Field (1946-72).
A four-time conference Coach of the Year honoree in three different leagues, Blitz was so honored by the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1995 while serving at Butler, and at Mizzou by the Big 12 in both 2007 and 2009, as well as in 2015 by the Southeastern Conference. He guided Mizzou to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, one regular-season Big 12 title and one Big 12 Tournament championship during his 25-year run in Columbia, and ranks 31st among active Division I women’s head coaches in victories.
Blitz leaves behind a big hole, but Jim Sterk has already pledged that a national search for his replacement will take place immediately.
More on Blitz’s incredibly time here at Mizzou from MUTigers.com release:
On Blitz’s watch, 10 players have earned first-team all-conference honors in either the Big 12 or the SEC, while Nikki Thole represents the program’s lone All-American, having been honored in 1999.
The 1999 campaign symbolized the official establishment of the Mizzou Soccer program, just four years after its founding, when Blitz led the Tigers to a 14-8-1 record and their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. That season, the Tigers also received their first-ever national ranking, reaching as high as No. 17. Additionally, Mizzou reached the Big 12 Tournament championship game for the second consecutive season. The first NCAA Tournament game in program history proved to be a thriller, as Mizzou fell to Marquette in four overtimes (3-2). At 141 minutes and 13 seconds, that game continues to be the longest in Mizzou history.
Blitz returned the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament in both 2003 and 2007, reaching the second round both seasons. He earned 2007 Big 12 Coach of the Year honors, and in 2008, led Mizzou to its first Big 12 Tournament title and the automatic NCAA Tournament bid that comes with it. The following season, Mizzou won the Big 12 regular season title for the first time in school history, and Blitz again received Big 12 Coach of the Year recognition.
In 2012, Blitz faced a new challenge as Mizzou transitioned into the Southeastern Conference. In the program’s first SEC season, the Tigers reached the NCAA Tournament once again and achieved a national ranking as high as 11th, the highest in program history. Mizzou would again reach the NCAA Tournament in both 2014 and 2016, while Blitz would earn 2015 SEC Coach of the Year honors after leading the program to a 7-2-2 conference record and a runner-up finish.
Thank you, Coach Blitz! And M-I-Z!