Minnesota Golden Gopher soccer’s Kate Cortis has been promoted to the position of Associate Head Coach, head coach Mikki Denney Wright announced today. Cortis, a native of Birmingham, Mich., had served the previous four seasons as an assistant coach for the Gophers.
“It is an honor to work for Minnesota Soccer and this incredible group of young women, and to be a part of such a talented, passionate staff,” Cortis said. “I have a great deal of respect for Coach Denney Wright and the standard of excellence she has established with this program. I am very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to bringing a Big Ten title back to Minnesota.”
As Minnesota’s associate head coach, Cortis will continue to oversee all of the Golden Gophers’ recruiting efforts as well as the team’s defensive strategy and training initiatives. Under Cortis, the Gophers have assembled three of the best recruiting classes in school history. In 2004, Minnesota signed the program’s first national top-100 recruit (Kelsey Hood) as well as players of the year from the states of Minnesota and Iowa. In 2005, Cortis’ efforts were even more impressive as the Gophers signed five top-100 national recruits as well as players of the year from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The Gophers’ 2007 signing class was the third straight to be ranked in the top-10 in the region and emerged as one of the Big Ten’s most talented corps of freshman last fall. Five Gopher freshmen earned starting positions during the 2007 season, with seven newcomers seeing significant playing as Minnesota made its second Big Ten Tournament appearance in the past three years. Katie Bethke and Molly Rouse were named to the 2007 Big Ten All-Freshmen Team, with Bethke also earning Soccer Buzz Great Lakes Region All-Freshman team honors.
The Gophers’ defensive performance has also improved markedly under Cortis’ direction. Minnesota posted a program-best 0.84 goals-against-average in 2005 and allowed just 23 and 22 goals in 2006 and 2007, respectively, the third- and second-lowest totals in Minnesota history. The Gophers’ 2007 defensive effort is even more impressive considering the team’s defensive back line consisted of three freshmen (Kylie Kallman, Jennie Clark and Julie Rezac).
Prior to joining the Gopher staff in 2004, Cortis served as an assistant coach under Denney Wright at the University of Missouri in 2003 and was the program’s director of Soccer Operations in 2001. Cortis also has coaching experience at Colorado College (2002) and the University of Chicago (2000). She graduated from the University of Chicago in 1999 and was a two-time NSCAA All-Region player for the Maroons.
“Kate is a tremendous coach, a great leader and has been instrumental in the building process of our program,” Denney Wright said. “Her efforts in recruiting and in training our defense have been nothing short of remarkable, and we are grateful for the four years of commitment, hard work and loyalty she has given the Minnesota Soccer program. The young women in our program are lucky to have Kate as a role model, mentor and teacher.”