Texas A&M vs University of Missouri
September 28, 2007
Bryan Blitz begins his 17th season at the helm of the Tigers soccer program and enters 2012 with a 174-142-17 record at Missouri since he was hired as the program's first head coach in 1996. A dedicated coach, there is little time off the field when he is not working to improve his team. Making an immediate impact to the program with his stellar recruiting techniques, Blitz has set a standard by enlisting some of the nation's top players each season.
After a 7-10-2 season in 2010, Blitz led the Tigers to a 12-8-1 record in 2011 despite 13 players who were new to the program. Mizzou set a new program record for non-conference winning percentage (.909) during the year and tied the team's consecutive wins record (seven).
In 2009 Missouri reached new highs as the team claimed the Big 12 Regular Season title for the first time in school history. Blitz was honored as the Big 12 Coach of the Year for his work to mark the second time in his career he earned the honor.
In 2008 when the Tigers had arguably their most successful season in program history. Blitz directed his team to a 16-5-2 mark, the Big 12 Conference Tournament championship and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. Over the course of the year, Mizzou set school records with wins (16), fewest losses (five), shutouts (12), fewest goals allowed (19) and goals against average (0.80), among others. The Tigers advanced once again to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, an event Missouri hosted for the fourth time, but fell to Illinois in a penalty kick shootout after 110 minutes of play.
In 2007, Blitz directed his young Mizzou squad to a 13-8-1 record and the third NCAA Tournament berth in program history. Playing once again at friendly Walton Stadium, Mizzou advanced to the second round of the tournament for just the second time after defeating Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) in a shootout. The Tigers came up just short in the second round, falling to eventual national champion USC, 1-0, in overtime.
Over the course of the season, Missouri reached No. 5 in the national rankings, its highest-ever, and received unprecedented accolades from the Big 12 Conference. Freshman Alysha Bonnick became the first Tiger to earn a post-season award after winning Big 12 Rookie of the Year honors and Blitz was honored as the Big 12 Coach of the Year. Additionally, sophomore Kristin Andrighetto was just the second Missouri player to earn a spot on the All-Big 12 first team. Four Tigers were named to the second team and three players were selected to the All-Newcomer team. On the national level, Andrighetto earned All-America fourth team honors from Soccer Buzz and Bonnick was a Freshman All-America second team selection from two different publications.
In his first year with Missouri, Blitz began putting his skills to the test during the inaugural season of Tiger women's soccer. MU finished the year 6-14 and 4-5 in league play.
The Tigers continued to improve under Blitz's tutelage and logged a 7-12 record, going 3-7 in Big 12 play during the following season. Missouri's second year also saw the national spotlight as Jennifer Kram was named to the Soccer America National Collegiate Team of the Week--MU's first national recognition. The accolades would not stop there however as Mizzou placed two athletes, Nikki Thole (third team) and Kristin Boeker (honorable mention) to the Soccer Buzz Freshman All-America team.
In 1998, Blitz led Missouri to its first winning season going 11-9-1 and 6-5 in the Big 12. The Tigers also placed Thole and Boeker to All-Big 12 teams and had five athletes (Thole, Boeker, Jackie Adamec, Amy Timmermann and Erin Grimsley) honored as all-tournament team members.
MU's fourth season proved to be a record-setting campaign for the Tigers as Blitz led Missouri to a 14-8-1 season record and posted a 6-3-1 Big 12 mark in 1999. The Tigers also advanced to their first NCAA Tournament. The Tigers fell to Marquette in their national post-season debut, but put forth a strong showing as they took the Golden Eagles to a 3-2 quadruple overtime loss.
Despite the loss, Blitz coached his athletes to an astounding season. Thole received All-America accolades from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), SoccerBuzz and College Soccer Online.
By 2000, Blitz had conditioned his squad into a fine tuned machine. The Tigers earned their highest ranking in the NSCAA poll after defeating No. 18 ranked Florida State and No. 12 ranked Wake Forest in back-to-back games to win a 12th-place ranking. The Tigers split the season 10-10 with a 5-5 Big 12 record.
In 2001, Blitz reloaded the Tiger program known for its physical intensity with nine newcomers. The young squad quickly made its mark going 13-8, with a 5-5 Big 12 mark, and set a new precedent with six shutouts on the season. In addition, the Tigers defended their first perfect game in school history outshooting Indiana State 34-0 on their way to a 4-0 victory.
In 2002 the Tigers posted an 11-7-2 record with a 5-4-1 mark in the Big 12 to finish fourth in league standings. The season proved arduous as the Tigers played a record six overtime games during the year. Mizzou had two athletes named to the SoccerBuzz All-Central Region teams in Lacy Moore and Jennifer Nobis.
Keeping stride in 2003, Blitz successfully navigated his squad through one of the toughest schedules in the country. Facing 10 opponents ranked in the nation's top-25 at some point during the season, Mizzou made a late season rally advancing to both the Big 12 Tournament championship final and the NCAA second round. Highlighting the push, the Tigers overcame the odds to record an amazing come-from-behind victory over No. 4 ranked Texas A&M (5-4). Mizzou also picked up the program's first win over No. 22 Nebraska rolling the Huskers ,3-2, during Big 12 Tournament play.
Rounding out the season with a 12-11-1 record and an eighth-place Big 12 finish, the Tiger's made history as the first No. 8 seed to claim a victory during Big 12 Tournament play.
In 2004, Blitz led the Tigers to a sixth-place finish in the Big 12. Mizzou defeated two ranked teams in 2004, including then-No. 6 ranked Texas A&M, recording the program's first-ever win in College Station, Texas.
In 2005, under Blitz's direction, the Tigers posted a 9-8-3 overall record and qualified for the Big 12 Tournamtent for the ninth time in the conference's 10 year history. In 2006 he took the Tigers to a 7-0 start as the squad reeled off five straight shutouts to begin the season.
Perhaps it is his constant contact with other collegiate and club coaches that has helped Blitz raise his reputation to the level it has. Maybe it could be his ability to get the most from his players on the field. Either way, he is widely considered one of the best recruiting and hardest working coaches in the nation.
Blitz began his head coaching career at Butler University (Ind.) as the program's inaugural head coach in 1991. In his fifth season, he took the Bulldogs from obscurity to the national spotlight in an undefeated run through the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and the team's first national ranking. Blitz earned the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year award for his work in the 1995 season and received an invitation to help coach the U.S. Women's National Team.
During his five years at Butler, he developed his beliefs in hard work and in intense scouting of the top soccer talent in the country. Propelled by that philosophy he was able to perform a minor miracle in his first two months on the job in 1991 getting the talented group of young women he did. Despite his early success, Blitz didn't stop there however and has continued to bring in many impressive recruits over the past seven years. Now with the continued growth of the program, the future looks even brighter.
Developing Blitz's unique collegiate coaching perspective, he has worked and played in soccer communities around the world improving his knowledge and abilities. Blitz traveled to England to play for one year while he was in college. He returned to the states and to the University of Tulsa, where Blitz helped start the Golden Hurricane women's program as an assistant coach in 1987.
He took two years off from coaching to play in the Southwest Indoor Soccer League and the Northeast Super Soccer League (in Dallas and New York) before a desire to earn a master's degree in business led him to Butler, where he met his wife, Alie. There, he became a graduate assistant for the men's team and two years later took the reins as a women's head coach for the first time.
Despite his love for his first coaching job, Blitz took the opportunity to coach Missouri as soon as it arose.
"I really have a dream job here," Blitz said. "We have a new field, a new stadium and we have an administration that has made up its mind to support us. There's nothing here to hold us back."