As the 2012-13 academic year came to a close, so did the successful stint of VCU women’s soccer co-head coaches Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Tim Sahaydak.
The wedded duo announced their resignation in early May as they prepared to accept a new job at the University of Central Florida.
Roberts Sahaydak will assume head coaching responsibilities and Sahaydak will serve as the associate head coach with the UCF Knights. But those familiar with VCU’s program know that it is the couple’s collective effort that makes them such a desirable hire.
“Their hard work has positioned us to achieve our goals of winning championships and providing an excellent student-athlete experience,” said VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin in a release from the department back in May. “We can’t thank them enough for what they have done over the last six years.”
The Sahaydak’s departure from Richmond is one that will be tough to swallow for the Rams’ athletic program. Just six years after taking a risk on the couple with virtually no significant coaching experience, VCU will now move forward without two of its most influential coaches in recent memory.
The tandem team hit the ground running after replacing former VCU co-head coaches Denise Schilte-Brown and Chris Brown, who left for the University of South Florida, in 2007.
With a depleted roster in their first season in 2007, the pair led the Rams to an 11-8-3 record and an appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game. The effort helped generate a warm welcome for the couple who met while attending the University of North Carolina.
But it is their overall body of work that will leave a resounding impact on the women’s soccer program.
Over six full seasons, the Sahaydaks led the Rams to a 53-50-19 overall record.
After reaching the CAA Championship in their inaugural season, the duo guided VCU to back-to-back conference championship matches in 2011 and again in 2012 as a member of the Atlantic-10 Conference.
They totaled 21 victories in their final two years coaching the Rams, and established one of the east coast’s premier defenses.
Since 2011, VCU has posted a remarkable 20 shutouts. Their 2012 team ranked 22nd nationally in save percentage, while finishing 19th and 30th in goals-against average in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
During their tenure, the coaches mentored two CAA defenders of the Year, one CAA Rookie of the year, and 20-all conference players, including six first-team honorees.
The Sahaydaks were named co-coaches of the year following the team’s final season in the CAA after going 7-1-3 in their final 11 matches. The only loss during that run was against a nationally ranked William & Mary club in the conference championship.
After taking on a rising program hungry for regional success in 2007, the coaches have helped transform VCU women’s soccer into a national contender.
“It is difficult to move on from a VCU program that Tim and I have built over the past six years,” Roberts Sahaydak said in the same VCU Athletics press release. “Although I’m sad to say goodbye, I know the program is in a great place and I look forward to seeing the accomplishments of one of VCU’s strongest teams.”
Those are precisely the type of expectations that new hire Lindsey Vanderspiegel will ultimately face at VCU, inheriting a Rams team that finished three wins shy of the school record the previous season, while compiling an 11-3-4 record and a +27 goal differential during their final 18 games under the Sahaydayks.
As for their new job in Central Florida, the coaching duo faces a challenge of their own.
They will replace former UCF and current UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell, who departed from the Knights program with a 203-83-26 record and 11 NCAA tournament appearances in 14 years.