Soccer's Holeman signs new 4-year contract

The only head coach ever for UM women's soccer appears to be solidifying his desire to stay in Oxford following his program's third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. It was announced today that Steve Holeman has signed a new four-year contract to continue the winning ways of Rebel soccer.

After a record-breaking season in 2005, Ole Miss head soccer coach Steve Holeman has recently agreed to terms for a new four-year contract, pending approval of the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.

This past fall, Holeman coached the Rebels to the program's third Southeastern Conference West Championship and third trip to the NCAA Tournament. With a 14-5-2 overall mark, the young squad, which played with just two seniors and a total of six upperclassmen, set a new school record with 14 regular-season victories.

The 2005 season also saw a monumental 1-0 win over the national powerhouse Florida Gators, in which sophomore midfielder/forward Amy Gill scored the winning goal with just over two minutes remaining in the match.

A Wake Forest graduate, Holeman is the only head coach in program history, establishing women's soccer at Ole Miss in 1995 after doing the same for Auburn the previous year. In 12 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he has amassed 130 career wins, with 94 losses and 16 ties. His 11-year record at Ole Miss is 123-88-13.

"Coach Holeman has been able to accomplish what few people have been able to do, start a sports program and take it to national prominence," said Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone. "For the past few years Ole Miss' women's soccer team has consistently been one of the top four teams in the SEC. His team also ranks very high in its academic achievements. Extending this contract rewards Steve for his accomplishments and insures Ole Miss will have a great coach for several years to come."

In addition to the three Western Division titles, Holeman guided Ole Miss to the SEC Tournament Finals in 1999 and to the semifinals three of the last five seasons.

The Rebels' three NCAA Tournament appearances include a trip to the second round in 2003 by virtue of defeating the Texas Longhorns.

"We are very happy to keep Steve around here for another four years," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Lynnette Johnson. "He has been extremely successful with Ole Miss Soccer. He has always been very unassuming, preferring to deflect credit to his players and assistant coaches, and that is what makes him such a great coach."

Under Holeman's tutelage, sophomore midfielder Chrissy Strini became the first All-American in program history after a successful 2005 campaign. She was an honorable mention selection by Soccer Buzz. In addition to Strini's accolades, Ole Miss has had three Freshman All-America selections, two SEC Freshman of the Year honorees and 12 All-SEC players.

Ole Miss players have also been among the nation's elite in their academic success. The Rebels have had six Academic/Scholar All-America honorees, while 16 of Holeman's student-athletes have received Academic All-Region recognition.

This is not surprising, considering Holeman himself maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA while earning his master's degree in exercise physiology at Auburn, where he was coaching the men's club soccer team and beginning to construct the women's varsity program.

With Ole Miss returning all but one letterwinner from last year's successful campaign and with solid commitments prepared to join forces with the Rebels in 2006, the future looks very bright for Holeman's next four years at the helm in Oxford.

"Ole Miss has been very supportive of everything we have done with the program here," Holeman said. "Ole Miss has made a commitment to myself and my staff, and we are excited for the opportunity to continue our success here."

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