The face of the AUM men’s soccer program since 2007, Wulf-Dieter Koch enters his ninth season at the helm of the men’s soccer program and 12th overall at AUM.
During his tenure with the Warhawks, Koch has posted a 107-45-14 overall mark with the men’s program, after compiling a 48-19-3 record in three seasons coaching the women’s team. During his collegiate career, Koch has posted a record of 218-148-25 as a men’s coach, while adding 71 wins as a women’s coach. He sports a career win percentage of .590 and has led nine teams to the NAIA National Tournament.
Under Koch’s leadership, AUM has finished the season ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll seven times, including the past three seasons. He led AUM to the NAIA National Tournament for three straight seasons, including in 2013 when the Warhawks finished as the NAIA National Tournament runner-up. In 2012, AUM won the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Quarterfinals. He also led AUM to the 2007 NAIA Region XIII tournament championship and to the NAIA National Tournament Final Four in his first season.
Last season, Koch guided the Warhawks to a 13-6-1 overall record, including a 5-2-1 in the highly-competitive SSAC. AUM made its third consecutive postseason appearance and finished the year ranked 24th in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll. In addition to their on-field success, the Warhawks also received the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the fifth consecutive season.
Several individuals earned recognition following the year, as junior Yannic Fallack was selected a NAIA Second-Team All-American and Fallack, junior Sebastian Wladyko and freshman Dominik Budic earned First-Team All-South Region honors from the NSCAA. Koch also collected his 100th victory as AUM’s men’s coach with a win at Millsaps. He became just the third coach in the program’s history to reach the milestone.
In 2013, Koch helped AUM to a 15-7-2 record, despite starting the season 2-4. The Warhawks rallied and went 10-1 during a rigorous SSAC schedule, earning an automatic berth into the NAIA Tournament as the league’s regular-season champion. Entering the national tournament as the No. 11 seed, AUM defeated the second, third and sixth-seeded teams en route to the championship match, with all five of its matches being decided in overtime periods or in a shootout.
The Warhawks had a nation-high four NAIA All-Americans, while also having four named to the NSCAA All-American squad. Senior defender Taian Souza was selected the NSCAA’s NAIA Player of the Year and Koch took home NAIA Coach of the Year accolades from the organization. Four student-athletes, Souza, Cesar Kestring, Christian Holthaus and Elvar Sigurdsson, were named NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Souza was also voted the SSAC Defensive Player of the Year, while Alan Harwell was chosen the league’s Newcomer of the Year.
Koch also enjoyed a coaching milestone during the 2013 season, when he earned his 200th men’s coaching victory with a 2-1 result over rival Mobile. He was also selected the SSAC Coach of the Year.
In 2012, Koch guided the Warhawks to an 18-4-2 record, with their four losses coming to the four national tournament semifinalists. Three AUM players earned NAIA All-American honors, including goalkeeper Vignir Johannesson, who was named a first-team selection. Additionally, five student-athletes earned all-conference honors, four were named to the SSAC All-Freshman team and six were selected to the league’s All-Academic Team.
The Warhawks faced 11 teams ranked or among the others receiving votes in 2012 and responded with a 6-4-1 record. The 18 victories by the team, 11 of which were shutouts, were the most by a team since the 2005 squad went 23-2 and reached the Final Four.
In the classroom, the men’s soccer program was equally successful. The Warhawks posted a team grade point average of 3.11, including a 3.26 in the 2013 Spring semester. Three student-athletes were named NAIA Scholar Athletes, while Holthaus earned AUM’s nomination for the SSAC Honor Student-Athlete award.
During the 2011 season, Koch led the Warhawks to a 12-5-4 record. AUM reached the finals of the SSAC tournament, and was only a penalty shootout away from winning the conference and returning to the NAIA tournament. Five players earned spots on SSAC all-conference teams, including two first-team selections. Men’s soccer also continued to have success academically, with 10 players making the SSAC All-Academic team. At AUM, the team received the Team GPA award, given to the program which has the highest average overall for the year. With a 3.19 team GPA, it was the second straight year they had earned the top spot.
In 2010, the Warhawks struggled with injuries, inexperience and a difficult schedule, posting the first losing season in Koch’s time as head coach at AUM. The Warhawks posted a 7-9-2 record on the season, after facing six teams that finished the season ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, four others among the others receiving votes and seven teams that qualified for the NAIA National Tournament.
Despite the on-field results, the Warhawks were recognized for their sportsmanship on the pitch, in the classroom and in the community with the 2010 Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award, one of 23 given out by the NAIA for each of its 23 championship sports. The team was also presented the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Team Academic Award, after posting a team grade point average of 3.27 during the previous academic year.
In his previous three seasons, Koch helped the Warhawks to a 42-14-3 record, the NAIA National Tournament in 2007, a No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll the week of Sept. 16, 2008, and eight weeks ranked within the top 10.
Koch, who now has 18 years of experience coaching on the men’s side and 24 years at the college level, began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Maine-Fort Kent in 1991 and 1992. He then moved on to the University of Maine-Machias, where he led the men’s program for four seasons. He spent four seasons in South Dakota at National American University where he led the Mavericks to four consecutive NAIA post-season appearances, reaching the NAIA Region III semifinals all four seasons, and advancing on to the NAIA National Tournament once.
While at NAU, Koch was selected to the 1998 NAIA and National Soccer Coaches Association of America Regional Coach of the Year and was the 2000 NAIA Region III Sectional Coach of the Year.
Koch moved south following the 2001 season, taking over the men’s and women’s head coaching position at Spring Hill College, where he spent two seasons before coming to AUM. Koch was hired as the AUM women’s head coach for three seasons, where he posted a 48-19-3 record, a NAIA National Tournament Sweet 16 appearance and a SSAC championship in 2004.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Koch enjoyed a stellar four-year career at UMFK, where he led the Bengals in scoring as a freshman and sophomore, and captained the squad during his junior and senior years. He finished his career with 32 goals and 28 assists, and was a member of UMFK’s 1988 championship soccer team, which captured the North East College Athletic Conference championship and the NAIA District 5 semifinal. He was named to the All-North East College Athletic Conference team his junior and senior campaigns, was named to the All-Maine Collegiate Team and was honored as the Male Athlete of the Year during his senior year. In 2007, Koch was inducted into the UMFK Sports Hall of Fame.
Koch earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1989 and his master’s in athletic administration from Springfield (Mass.) College in 1991. He also holds his teaching certification from the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
In addition, Koch holds the prestigious Master’s Diploma, the highest level of coaching education offered by the NSCAA, as well as “A” and “Youth” licenses from the United States Soccer Federation.
Koch is married to the former Jane Desjardins. The couple has three children - Ben, Alanna and Joshua - and a grandson, Eli Jack.
Spencer Jacoby is in his second season with the AUM men’s soccer coaching staff in 2014, as he will serve as one of the program’s graduate assistants.
A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Jacoby spent the previous two years working in the marketing department of the O’Rourke Sales Company in Davenport, Iowa. He also played for the Quad City Eagles of the National Premier Soccer League, where he helped the team win the Central Division of the Midwest Conference for the first time in club history in 2013. He also coached the U9 and U10 boys for FC America to a pair of undefeated seasons.
Prior to his time in Iowa, Jacoby was a four-year starter on the men’s soccer team at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. During his tenure with the Bengals, he helped the team to a 74-4-4 record and three NAIA National Tournaments. Playing primarily as a defender, Jacoby scored four goals and assisted on 14 others during his career. He was selected a USCAA First-Team All-American and the UMFK Male Athlete of the Year as a senior. He was also invited to the USL Pro Soccer Combine at the IMG Academy in Florida, and the SUSA-Pro Combine in Santa Ana, Calif. He graduated Cum Laude from Maine-Fort Kent in 2012 with a degree in business management.
Jacoby has been involved in coaching numerous summer camps, including camps with FC America, First-Touch Soccer Academy and St-Ambrose University. He holds a NSCAA Junior Level V Coaching License.
Jacoby is pursuing his master’s in sports management at AUM. He is married to the former Marie-Michele Lachance.
Chris Blight is in his second season as a graduate assistant coach with the AUM men’s soccer team.
Blight joined the staff after spending one season as the head girl’s soccer coach at Auburn High School. During his lone season, he helped the Tigers to a 22-4-1 record and the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 6A Area 5 championship. AHS advanced to the third round of the AHSAA State Tournament, where it fell to eventual state champions, Oak Mountain High School. The Lady Tigers outscored their opponents 51-1 in area play and 144-25 on the year.
Originally from Guildford, England, Blight moved to the United States in 2009, where he attended Huntingdon College and played for the men’s soccer team. During his four years, he was a two-time team captain, a member of the Great South Athletic Conference All-Academic team and helped the Hawks to the GSAC Tournament championship match in 2011. In 34 career games, Blight scored five goals and assisted on four others. He graduated from Huntingdon with a degree in physical education.
Blight has also been active in coaching club soccer, where he has coached teams with Blast Soccer Club, FC Torjager and the Capital City Streaks. He was the Assistant Director of Soccer and won several state championships while with the Streaks. He also holds a USSF D License and an NSCAA National Diploma.
Earlier this year, Blight married the former Katie Grizzard. The couple lives in Montgomery.