Athletic director: Longtime men’s soccer head coach will not return next season

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Athletic director: Longtime men’s soccer head coach will not return next season

SDSU Athletics Director John David Wicker.

SDSU Athletics Director John David Wicker.

Photo by Andrew Dyer

SDSU Athletics Director John David Wicker.

Photo by Andrew Dyer

Photo by Andrew Dyer

SDSU Athletics Director John David Wicker.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

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San Diego State men’s soccer will go under new leadership come next season after SDSU Director of Athletics John David Wicker announced on Dec. 6 that Lev Kirshner will not return as head coach after 23 years on the Mesa.

The announcement – which was made publicly via a press release – said Wicker felt, in order for the men’s soccer program to reach its potential, a change in leadership was necessary.

“I would like to thank Coach Lev Kirshner for his 23 years of service to San Diego State and his many contributions to our men’s soccer program,” Wicker said in his official statement. “Lev and his staff have many accomplishments to celebrate, NCAA tournament appearances and outstanding academics among them. However, I believe our soccer program has the ability to achieve better results across the board and that a change in leadership is necessary at this time to maximize the potential of the program.”

Kirshner joined the Aztecs in 1997 where he spent three seasons as an assistant coach before moving up to the head coach position for the 2000 campaign.

After spending 20 seasons as head coach, Kirshner finished with an overall record of 142-179-57.

Kirshner guided the Aztecs to make three NCAA tournament appearances in 2005, 2006 and 2016.

Kirshner was the longest-tenured coach in program history. The Aztecs finished with a .500 or better record in nine of his 20 seasons.

At the beginning of the 2005 season, Kirshner managed to drift the men’s soccer program away from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and into the Pac-12 conference.

The Aztecs had a 9-4-6 record in 2005, where they notably tied regular season matchups with then No. 5 St. John’s and No. 12 UCLA. SDSU went on to lose its first game of the tournament against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara.

SDSU finished as the No. 22 team in the country, which was the 11th time in program history the Aztecs were nationally ranked.

The following year and second season in the Pac-12, the Scarlet and Black ended with a nearly identical record of 9-6-4. Kirshner’s side had wins over No. 4 and No. 6 California but fell 2-1 to UCSB in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

During the 2016 campaign, the Aztecs started the year on a six-game winning streak while upsetting then No. 1 Akron in the process. The 9-4-6 record led to their most recent NCAA tournament appearance.

For now, it’s unclear who will replace Kirshner to start next season.

Both the team and athletics department declined to comment to The Daily Aztec.

In his final season as head coach, Kirshner posted a 4-12-2 overall record including a 1-9 record in Pac-12 play.

Since their last appearance on the national stage, the Aztecs have had three consecutive losing seasons and went 4-26 in Pac-12 games during that span.

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