Jacksonville University has tapped in to the Colonial Athletic Association to find its new men’s soccer coach and has hired Virginia Commonwealth assistant coach Ryan Pratt.
Pratt has extensive coaching experience with four programs in a sideline career that began in 1997.
“We are very fortunate to find a coach of Ryan’s caliber to lead our men’s soccer program,” said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. “Thanks to the work of our committee members, we have found a coach who has a proven record of success and can build a program that the entire JU family will take great pride in watching.”
An abundance of potential is what drew Pratt to the Dolphins
“I’m very excited to join the JU athletic family,’’ Pratt said. “I’m looking forward to working with the student-athletes, boosters, alumni and the soccer community in Jacksonville. The potential is there to be had,’’ he said. “The potential is endless. I look at JU as a sleeping giant.’’
Pratt began with VCU in May 2010 and was part of a team that had a two-year 19-14-6 overall record and 11-7-4 in the CAA. The team finished second in the conference in 2010 leading to its first appearance in the CAA tournament since 2007.
During his tenure, the team had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003-04 and he was responsible for coaching three National Soccer Coaches Association of America All Region players, 10 All CAA selections including three first team All-Conference, one second team All-Conference and three third team All-Conference members along with three on the All-Rookie Team.
Prior to moving to VCU, Pratt spent nine seasons as head coach at the University of Montevallo (Ala.) which played in the Gulf South and Peach Belt conferences.
His teams had an overall record of 99-61-12 and conference marks of 43-17-2. Among the highlights was the recording of a program-high 18 wins in the 2007 season and a perfect conference record (6-0) in 2008. Pratt is the institution record holder for all-time wins and all-time winning percentage with .610 (minimum five years).
While at Montevallo, Pratt’s Falcons went to the playoffs several times.
The Falcons went to the Division II NCAA Tournament four times and were Division II national semifinalist in 2007 after winning the Division II South Region championship. They also were the Gulf South regular season champions in 2008 and tournament champions in 2004. The program was ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II national poll five consecutive years reaching number four in 2007 and 2008. Pratt was a NSCAA Division II Coach of the Year finalist in 2007 and Gulf South Co-Coach of the Year in 2005. He was voted second-team GSC all-time coach and was a Division II NCAA South Regional Selection Committee member from 2003-05.
Under his coaching, the Falcons were well represented in player honors and awards.
Pratt coached one Major League Soccer draft pick (2008 supplemental draft), four NSCAA All-Americans, 21 NSCAA All-Region team members, 21 first team All-Conference members, 24 second team All-Conference players, three Gulf South Conference Players of the Year, three Daktronics All-Americans, two Daktronics South Region Players of the Year, four Daktronics first team All-South Region members, three first team GSC All-Time members, two second team All-Time GSC members, the GSC All-Time men’s soccer player and goalkeeper, four Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award winners and 14 conference All-Academic team members.
Pratt began his coaching career at Alabama-Birmingham as an assistant women’s coach in 1997 where the team compiled and overall record of 30-28-3 while competing in Conference USA. In 2000, he went to Alabama Huntsville as a men’s assistant.
In his playing days, Pratt starred at UAB and led the team to an overall 54-21-3 record which included the team’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, a C-USA regular season title and a Great Midwest Tournament championship.
Professionally, he played with both the Alabama Saints and Nashville Metros of the semi-pro United Systems of Independent Soccer leagues.
He graduated from UAB with a BA in Communications and a minor in sociology in 1998.
Pratt and his wife, Libby, have one child, Ellie, and will live in Jacksonville.