By Kayla Garner, Staff Reporter
Marcus Wood, HSU’s head women’s soccer coach for 20 years, has just celebrated his 350th win as a coach.
While this is an impressive milestone for Wood, this milestone should not surprise anyone who knows about his team’s accomplishments over the years.
The HSU women’s soccer team has won a total of 17 ASC Tournament Championships, with 16 consecutive wins. They have also advanced to the NCAA tournament on multiple occasions.
“We have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 on 10 occasions. The team advanced to the NCAA Final 4 in 2010 and 2017, winning the NCAA National Championship in 2010,” Wood said.
Due to their success in these many championships, the HSU women’s soccer team has an impressive winning average. “Our team has averaged a record of 18 wins and two losses for 20 years,” Wood said.
While these accomplishments are impressive, they are not what make Coach Wood’s 350th win so meaningful to him. Wood claims that the most meaningful part of his milestone win is the relationships he has built on the way to amassing 350 wins.
“On the milestone night, I heard from hundreds of people who played a massive role in building our great team. I have loved sharing Cowgirl soccer with our coaching staff of Brent Camp, Manuel Cordova and Maddie McAdams … [and] with all of our remarkable alumni,” Wood said.
For Wood, coaching is all about the bond between him and his players, both individually and collectively. “Coaching creates a special bond that lasts for a lifetime. We [the team] share the experience of overcoming adversity and big challenges, and the shared memories bind us,” Wood said.
Wood’s players feel this bond and appreciate it deeply, including senior right outside defender, Kendell Groom. “Woody is far more than just a coach to me. He has become a friend and mentor over the years, and I am so thankful for our relationship. He invests in every single player ... [and] spends countless hours away from his family to make sure we are as ready as possible for our opponents each week. He gives his all to the team and truly is the reason we are so successful,” Groom said.
The atmosphere of trust, love and determination Wood creates in his team as a coach, has allowed his team to grow closer to one another and build incredible friendships.
“This group of people are family to me, [and] I have met life-long friends who will be in my wedding in years to come. ... [Our team’s] culture is based on pushing each person to be the best they can be, helping one another through all of the trials of life and having a strong foundation to fall back on. I appreciate all of the time everyone, including Woody, puts into this team. Without a doubt, he deserves every single one of his 350 wins, and many more to come,” Groom said.
While Wood has done amazing things with his team so far, he is not stopping anytime soon. He looks forward to this year’s soccer season and has high hopes for this year’s team. “We are 1-0 in the conference and we are up for the challenge of competing for an ASC conference championship. Our leadership from our juniors and seniors has been exceptional. This conference will be the most hotly contested conference championship in the last decade. The top several teams are very evenly matched,” Wood said.
Wood shared what his future goals are now that he has obtained his 350th win. “My [main] goal is to have a positive influence on the young people God entrusts for me to coach at HSU,” Wood said.