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Texas Tech vs. Prairie View A&M
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The winningest coach in program history, Tom Stone enters his ninth season as the head soccer coach at Texas Tech after leading the Red Raiders to three-straight NCAA Championship appearances, including their first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 in 2014.
Stone, the fourth head coach in school history, has transformed the Red Raiders into one of the top programs not only in the Big 12 Conference during his tenure but nationally as well as Texas Tech has been ranked in the top 25 at the conclusion of each of the last three seasons.
In his eight seasons with the Red Raiders, Stone has amassed a 94-54-16 record for a .622 winning percentage that is the highest for any coach in program history. Stone is the only Texas Tech coach to lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament.
The Red Raiders have won 50 matches in the last three seasons, the most among Big 12 programs during that span. That success has pushed Texas Tech to three-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, a first for a program that had not previously advanced to the postseason in its existence until 2012.
Texas Tech is one of just two Big 12 programs to advance to the NCAA Championship the past three seasons and the only one to move past the opening round each year during that span. Tech is 4-2-1 all-time in the NCAA Championship under Stone.
The Red Raiders enter the 2015 season coming off a banner year where Texas Tech finished 16-4-1 overall after topping both Prairie View A&M (8-0) and Auburn (2-1) in the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship. Texas Tech came close to advancing to the Elite Eight as the Red Raiders overcame a two-goal deficit to No. 2 seed Florida before the Gators answered with the game-winning goal with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Texas Tech defeated three top-15 teams -- No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 11 California and No. 9 Kansas -- during the regular season en route to being the only team nationally to record three road victories over an opponent ranked in the top 25 of the final RPI poll. Texas Tech's success away from home led the Red Raiders to earning a No. 3 national seed in the NCAA Championship for the first time in school history.
Texas Tech once again hosted the first round of the NCAA Championship in 2014, routing Prairie View A&M, 8-0, at the John Walker Soccer Complex. The eight goals were Texas Tech's most ever in the postseason as the Red Raiders finished just two goals shy of the NCAA record for a tournament match.
The Red Raiders are 3-0 all-time when hosting a first-round match at home as Texas Tech downed North Texas, 2-0, in 2012, before dropping Minnesota, 3-0, in 2013. Texas Tech came close to advancing from the second round of the tournament in both of those years as it took double overtime for eventual Final Four participant Florida State to top the Red Raiders in 2012 and then penalty kicks from Texas A&M in 2013.
Texas Tech closed the 2012 campaign 16-6 overall, breaking the school single-season record for wins that was eventually snapped again a year later when the Red Raiders finished 18-2-3 overall which included an impressive 6-0-2 mark in Big 12 play.
The undefeated conference campaign in 2013 nearly earned the Red Raiders their first Big 12 title but a pair of draws left Texas Tech just a point back of eventual regular season champion West Virginia. The Red Raiders closed the regular season in second place, the highest conference finish in program history, after delivering shutout victories over both No. 9 West Virginia and in-state rival Texas.
The 2-0 victory over West Virginia marked Texas Tech's first ever over a top-10 team, giving the Mountaineers their first conference loss since joining the Big 12 prior to the 2012 season. It was one of a school-record 17 shutouts during the 2013 season alone for the Red Raiders, who closed the year ranked second nationally with a .739 shutout percentage. Texas Tech also ranked among the top 10 teams in the country for goals against average (third), save percentage (sixth) and won-lost-tied percentage.
Texas Tech's success on the field has been well rewarded at the end of the past three seasons as a school-record six Red Raiders were selected by the league coaches to the 2014 All-Big 12 teams. The end-of-year awards followed a successful 2013 campaign where a then-record five Red Raiders were honored. Texas Tech, which had four All-Big 12 nods in 2012, has garnered 31 all-conference selections altogether during Stone's tenure.
Stone has coached a pair of All-Americans in senior Janine Beckie and 2014 senior Jaelene Hinkle. Beckie, the Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year coming out of high school, made quite the collegiate debut in 2012, earning NSCAA second team All-America honors after connecting on 14 goals, the most ever for a Texas Tech freshman and third-most in program history. Hinkle, meanwhile, was a unanimous All-Big 12 first team defender and third team All-American in 2013 after pacing the Red Raiders with a team-high six assists from the back line.
The duo once again earned NSCAA All-America honors in 2014 with Beckie on the first team while Hinkle took second-team accolades. Texas Tech was the only program from the Big 12 and one of just four programs nationally to have multiple players represented on either the first or second team.
Beckie also earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2014 after leading the Red Raiders with 17 goals and 38 points, both of which that ranked among the top-20 players in the country. Her 17 goals were the second-most all-time in the Texas Tech single-season record book. Beckie is the first Red Raider in school history to be named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
During his eight-year tenure, Stone has steadily built the program with a foundation of strong recruiting, annually bringing some of the top talent in the state and the country to Lubbock. With that talent pool, Stone has guided to Red Raiders to eight-consecutive Big 12 Championship appearances, sending Texas Tech back to the conference tournament in just his first season (2007) for the first time since 1999. The Red Raiders have advanced to the conference semifinals in two of the past three seasons.
Not only has Stone built Texas Tech into a power on the field, but he has created an identity for the entire program - one that the Lubbock community has embraced. On fall Friday nights, thousands of fans flock to the John Walker Soccer Complex - one of the premier soccer facilities in the country.
Texas Tech hosted a total of 3,520 fans during the final weekend of the 2011 season, which included a thrilling double-overtime victory over Texas. The figure was a new stadium record for a weekend series.
In all, the average single-game attendance has ballooned by 194 percent during the Tom Stone era, increasing from an average of 349 per-game during the 2007 season to the 2012 mark of 1,027. The 2014 season marked the fourth consecutive season with an average attendance of over 950 fans per contest.
That inherent and unique home field advantage has been noticed on a national level as Texas Tech hosted the NSCAA/FOX Soccer Game of the Week on Oct. 26, 2012, where the Red Raiders shutout Oklahoma State 2-0. It was the first of several televised soccer matches at the complex in the near future.
The Red Raiders are an impressive 27-2-2 the past three seasons at home (.900 winning percentage) and 51-15-3 all-time at the John Walker Soccer Complex -- a .761 winning percentage since the facility was built prior to the 2008 season.
The 2010 season marked the most-significant step forward under Stone as the Red Raiders posted an 11-8-1 record, their first winning season since 1996, and advanced to their fourth-straight Big 12 Championship appearance.
Texas Tech had many firsts in 2010 as it posted its best start in school history at the time (5-0) and received votes in the top-25 polls for the for time in program history. The Red Raiders held each of their opponents scoreless during that 5-0 stretch, marking the first time in program history that a Texas Tech team has opened a season with five-consecutive shutouts.
With a full recruiting class on campus that regularly fielded around seven freshmen in the starting lineup, the Red Raiders finished the 2009 campaign 8-8-4, marking the first time since 1996 that a Tech team had a .500 or better overall record.
Tech's rise was recognized like never before, however, as four players were honored to an All-Big 12 postseason teams, led by Taylor Lytle, who became only the school's second player all-time to be named to the first team after a strong sophomore campaign where she broke the school's single-game and single-season assist records. Freshmen Dawn Ward, Tiffini Smith and Morgan Johnson were also named to the all-newcomer team, which gave Tech more freshmen honored than any other Big 12 program. With their success on the field, Lytle and Smith were selected to respective U.S. National Teams following the season as Lytle joined the Under-23 squad and Smith traveled to California and Spain with the U-18 program.
During his tenure, Stone has also been active on the national level as he was hired in 2008 as the assistant coach for the U.S. U-20 National Team. Serving under head coach Tony DiCicco, the 2008 team captured the FIFA World Championship. The 2010 squad, meanwhile, won the CONCACAF Championship before eventually heading to the FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Germany. On top of his national team duties, Stone has also served as the head coach of the southern region's U-19 Olympic Development team.
Stone rejoined the national team program as he was one of two collegiate coaches named as an advance scout for the 2015 FIFA World Cup held in Canada. Stone's responsibilities included traveling to several international tournaments prior to and during the tournament and scouting potential opponents for the Senior U.S. National Team that went on to win its third World Cup with a 5-2 victory over Japan in the championship match. It was the first time the U.S. had captured the World Cup title since 1999.
Prior to his arrival at Texas Tech, Stone spent one season as an assistant coach at Clemson where he helped lead the Tigers to the NCAA Elite Eight. Clemson ended its season 11-8-5 overall which was the best season in school history at the time.
Before beginning his career on the collegiate level, some of Stone's greatest accomplishments may have come from his time leading the Atlanta Beat of the Women's United Soccer Association during all three years of its existence. Being the first coach hired when the league formed in 2001, Stone proved his worth quickly, claiming the inaugural WUSA Presidents Cup Championship and advancing to the Founders Cup title match. The Beat also advanced to the title match in the league's final season.
When the WUSA ceased operations in 2003, Stone was named the technical director of the Top Hat Soccer Club in Atlanta, one of the top girls youth programs in the southern region. While with Top Hat, Stone was primarily involved in all areas of club and player development and the College Prep Program that prepares top players for college soccer opportunities. He was the head coach for the 2007 Gold Team that won the Georgia State Championship in 2004 and the Southern Regional Premier League in 2005, while also serving as the head coach of the Gwinnett Country Club team that won the regional championship and qualified for the national championship match in 2005.
Prior to beginning his professional career, Stone was the founding director of coaching at the Colorado Rush Soccer Club from 1991 to 2000. Under Stone's direction, the Rush would go on to win 35 state cups along with 12 regional championships and seven national championships, becoming arguably the most successful youth girls program in the U.S. from 1997-2000. Stone has also served as a volunteer assistant coach at Duke in 1997 and the University of Denver in 1996.
As a player, Stone may be most remembered for his game-winning goal in the 1986 National Championship match that helped Duke win its only NCAA title with a 1-0 victory. Stone, just a junior at the time, scored the match's lone goal, finding the open net in the 46th minute for his 16th goal of the season. He was later named the Offensive Most Valuable Player for the match.
In his four-year career at Duke, Stone was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection three times, while also setting the Duke record for most NCAA Tournament goals in a career and game-winners in a single season. Stone was also a team captain on the 1987 squad and still remains among the top 10 on the school's career points chart.
Following his career as a Blue Devil, Stone played professionally for Le Havre FC in France and the Washington Stars and Colorado Foxes of the APSL. A native of Irving, Texas, Stone was a three-year member of the U.S. Youth National Team and a two-time Parade All-American while attending MacArthur High School.
When not coaching, Stone has served as an analyst for various national television networks, covering everything from the NCAA College Cup to the FIFA World Cup. He has worked as the lead soccer analyst for both CSTV and Fox Sports, while also joining ESPN for its coverage of the 2003 Women's World Cup. Stone has also written guest columns for various soccer websites.
Stone holds a USSF "A" License. He and his wife, Lindsey, currently reside in Lubbock with their sons, Leyton and Landry, and daughter, Lily.
To contact Coach Stone, email him at email@example.com or call him at (806) 834-5844. Fans can also follow him on Twitter - @TomStone9.