Three days after women's soccer head coach Kelly Blasius Knudsen '91 announced her resignation from the Big Green soccer team, the Athletic Department launched a search for her replacement as players continue to reflect on the impact her departure will have on future seasons.
Director of Athetics Dick Jaeger said that his office has already formed a search committee made up of faculty and coaches, as well as a sub-committee of players. He has also placed advertisements in publications and on the Internet, and has made phone calls to other academic institutions to let them know of the opening.
"We shouldn't have any trouble finding a replacement because right now we are at the end of the soccer season so inquiries like this will be taking place around the country," Jaeger said.
Citing her desire to spend more time with her family and her newborn child, Knudsen's resignation took both the team and the Athletic department by surprise.
"I think it was the last thing any of us were expecting to here," said Katie Roda '00, one of the team's three captains.
Roda said of the possible implications the resignation will have on next year's season: "There's going to be some changes. The best case scenario would be if [assistant coach Erica Walsh] would take the head coach position because she's a great coach and there would be some stability there. It's going to be a different dynamic no matter what."
Jaeger said that if Walsh does indeed to apply for the position, she will be given "full consideration."
One particular attribute that players said Knudsen brought to the team was her understanding of student circumstanes. A Dartmouth graduate herself, players said that she was sympathetic to academic and other demands at the College.
"She had a routed sense of Dartmouth," said Jen Murray '01. "And she did her best to get the team to come together as a whole, as opposed to being a team made up of just individuals."
Knudsen and her husband, Eric as well as their six-month old son, will now relocate to Burlington, Vt.
It was a year ago in Knudsen's sophomore season as Big Green head coach that she guided the Big Green to great heights as they set school records for wins with 16 as well as 12 for shutouts.
For Knudsen's efforts two years ago, she was named Northeast Region coach of the year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as well as the New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association coach of the year.
She concludes her three seasons as head coach with a 35-18-5 recors for a winning percentage of .646. Including her two years at the University of Vermont in 1995 and 1996, Knudsen has compiled a record of 54-30-9.
"She's a great combination of a neat coach, a neat person. It's sad, but we're going to move on from this and look for someone else," Jaeger said.