Tim Lenahan

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Tim Lenahan
Personal information
Full name Tim Lenahan
Date of birth 06/11/1959 c. 1959 (age 6364)
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Position(s) Defender
College career
Stockton Ospreys
Managerial career
1990–1997 Stockton Ospreys
1998–2000 Lafayette Leopards
2001–2021 Northwestern Wildcats

Tim Lenahan is a retired soccer coach known for his 20-year tenure as the head men's soccer coach at Northwestern University starting with the 2001 season. He is widely regarded as one of the top program builders in NCAA soccer, as he rebuilt the Northwestern program from a team that had been winless over 35 games in 2000 and 2001 to a national power after previously rebuilding Lafayette and Stockton taking them to 6 NCAA Tournament appearances combined. His teams have made a total of 15 NCAA tournament appearances during his career. He is currently the President/CEO of Nice Guys Finish First, LLC, as an Executive Coach, leadership consultant, and motivational speaker. He serves as a color analyst for the Big Ten Network beginning since 2021. Lenahan retired as the only coach in Big Ten history with 20 years of service to also accumulate 300 wins.

In 2004, the 'Cats burst onto the national scene ending Indiana's 50-game Big Ten unbeaten streak. Northwestern had been 4–63–4 in Big Ten play up until the Indiana win and had not won a Big Ten game in 27 tries. The 'Cats won 15 games and qualified for the NCAA for the first time in school history. In 2006, Northwestern advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament, defeating Cincinnati, St.Louis, and UNC Greensboro in the first three rounds. They lost in the fourth round to UC Santa Barbara, 3–2 after leading the game 2–1. Northwestern finished 8th in the final rankings thanks to their impressive tournament run. In 2007, Northwestern climbed as high as No. 3 in the NSCAA polls and earned the first bye in their history when they were seeded No. 9 in the NCAA Tournament. Dave Roth was named the first All-American in Northwestern Soccer history. 2008 saw another run to the NCAA Elite Eight and a national ranking of as high as No. 2. They remained at the ranking of No. 2 for over a month and put together a 13-game unbeaten streak to start the season. After a tough final stretch, Northwestern rebounded in the NCAA Tournament to defeat Loyola, Notre Dame, and Akron before falling to North Carolina in the Elite Eight in Chapel Hill. Their final ranking of No. 7 was an all-time best including a lineup that had five players become medical doctors. In 2009, Northwestern responded with another strong season advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and a final RPI of 9th nationally. Mark Blades became the first two-time All-American in school history. Northwestern's RPI over the four seasons from 2006 to 2009 ranked as the 5th best nationally trailing only Wake Forest, Indiana, Virginia, and Maryland and are one of only five teams to make it as far as the Elite Eight twice in the three years between 2006 and 2008.

2011 saw Northwestern and Lenahan accomplish the rare undefeated double in winning the Big Ten Regular Season and Big Ten Tournament. In 2012, the Wildcats repeated as Big Ten Regular Season and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. It was the fourth time Lenahan and Northwestern had reached at least the Sweet Sixteen in a seven-year stretch. Two more NCAA Appearances followed in 2013 and 2014 with the 2014 team losing just four times in nineteen opportunities. Goalkeeper Tyler Miller became the only player in the country to be named All-America, and Academic All-America, and be invited to the MLS Combine. Miller is now the starting GK for Minnesota United in the MLS, has just 13 losses in his five-year MLS career, and has been with the US National Team.

Lenahan previously served as the head soccer coach at Lafayette College, where he turned their fortunes around winning four Patriot League Titles (Two Patriot League Tournament Championships and Two Patriot League Regular Season Championships) in his three years (1998–2001) after taking over a team that had gone 4–12 in each of the two years prior to his arrival. The 1998 team set a Patriot League record for wins with 16 and had the greatest turnaround in the NCAA for that year (+12 wins)

Before Lafayette, Lenahan built his alma mater Richard Stockton College into a Division III national power going to the NCAA Tournament in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996 and also capturing Richard Stockton's first NJAC Championship in 1996. Richard Stockton had been 2–15 the year prior to his arrival.

Lenahan has been named either conference or NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year in 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2004, and 2011. He is a two-time winner of the Bob Voigts Coach of the Year at Northwestern and the first male coach to win the award twice.

In 2013, Lenahan had the rare distinction of coaching in the Messi and Friends game as 10 Northwestern alums were called in the last minute to save the internationally broadcast event from cancellation. One former alum, Matt Eliason, became a worldwide internet sensation after scoring on a full bicycle kick to upstage the great Messi in the goal of the day. The goal, which was the No. 1 play on Sports Center that day, would go on to generate over 4 million YouTube hits. Eliason, who had been an assistant vice president and investment analyst at GE Capital, quit his job to pursue a professional career. His journey was being covered by a movie production crew for the documentary "Messi and ME". Lenahan served as an assistant coach for both teams in the match and the film is now available on both Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

In addition to coaching success, Lenahan's mentorship has proven to be a springboard for some of the nation's top coaches. His former assistant coaches include current head coaches Jeff Haines, Richard Stockton College; Fernando Barboto, NJIT; Dennis Bohn, Lafayette College; Justin Serpone, Amherst College; Erik Ronning, Colgate University; Tom Carlin, Villanova University; Andy Fleming, Xavier University, Rich Nassif, Benedictine University, Neil Jones, the University of Wisconsin, Mike Babst, Davidson University, and Mark Plotkin - DePaul University. Also, Jesse Marsch, current Head Coach at Leeds United in the Premier League, got his coaching start under Lenahan as a volunteer assistant at Northwestern while playing for the Chicago Fire. Probably the crowning achievement in an already very successful coaching tree came in October 2018 when former Lenahan's former Stockton University and Real Madrid player, Santiago Solari was named Head Coach at 3-time defending European Champions Real Madrid. Solari was then a record-setting coach for Club America in Mexico in Liga Mx. [1] In spite of this, Northwestern chose to go outside Lenahan's very successful coaching tree for his replacement.

His career coaching record ends at 305–215–79 (.575)

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  1. Kaufman, Michelle (September 27, 2019). "Here's why ex-Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari 'makes perfect sense' for Inter Miami". Miami Herald. Retrieved June 24, 2020.. The two coaches with both US College experience who have coached in the Champions League group stage, Solari and Marsch, have connections to Lenahan