Len Tsantiris Retires After 37 Years as Head Women’s Soccer Coach

Women's Soccer Coach Len Tsantiris talks to Danielle Schulmann in 2012. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Women's Soccer Coach Len Tsantiris talks to Danielle Schulmann in 2012. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)

Legendary UConn women’s soccer head coach Len Tsantiris ’77 (ED) has announced his retirement after 37 tremendous years at the helm. Tsantiris took UConn from its infant stages as a program and turned it into a national power.

“It has truly been an honor to work at UConn,” Tsantiris says. “I want to thank all the administrators and athletic directors who were supportive of my players and helped create and build the tradition of our program. Thank you to my family for their understanding and patience while I’ve been away from home trying to make our program better. Thank you to all my assistant coaches, players, and support staff for all that they did for the program. I appreciate all of their efforts.”

Women's Soccer Coach Len Tsantiris talks to the team in 1984.
Coach Tsantiris addresses the team in 1984. (Athletic Communications Photo)

Tsantiris finishes his career with 570 wins, ranking second all-time in Division I collegiate women’s soccer, while becoming just the second coach (after Anson Dorrance of UNC) to eclipse the 500-win mark. During his tenure, the Huskies advanced to 31 NCAA Tournaments, including 26 straight from 1982-2007.

Under Tsantiris’ direction, UConn had elite success in the NCAAs, with four NCAA Championship game appearances, seven trips to the NCAA semifinals, and 18 trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Huskies established themselves as one of the premier programs in women’s soccer, with eight-straight Elite Eight appearances spanning from 1993 to 2000.

Tsantiris, who was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003, collected numerous awards during his coaching tenure. After winning a program-record 23 matches and earning an appearance in the NCAA championship game, he was tabbed the 1997 NSCAA Division I National Coach of the Year.

“I would like to thank Coach Tsantiris for his 37 years of service to the University of Connecticut,” director of athletics David Benedict said.  “He built UConn women’s soccer into a national power and a source of pride for our state. Coach came to Storrs in 1973, and has been a valued member of the University community ever since. He will be greatly missed.

Former All-American and current associate head coach Margaret Rodriguez will serve as interim head coach, effective immediately, and a national search to hire a head coach for women’s soccer will begin immediately.

A four-time Division I Northeast Coach of the Year (1983, 1987, 1995, 1996), Tsantiris won four conference Coach of the Year awards in the Big East (1995, 1998) and American Athletic Conference (2015, 2016). Under his guidance, 45 Huskies earned NSCAA All-American accolades, along with Sara Whalen winning 1997 NSCAA National Player of the Year.

The Huskies have claimed 10 conference regular season titles, four conference tournament crowns, and 22 Conference Players of the Year with Tsantiris manning the sidelines.

In April 2018, Tsantiris will receive the Gold Key Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance for his contributions and excellence on the field.