Former UC Santa Cruz soccer coach Paul Holocher will take the reigns of Cal Poly’s men’s soccer team, Cal Poly Athletic Director Alison Cone announced on Friday.

Holocher was 109-24-8 during his seven seasons at UC Santa Cruz, but said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to coach in San Luis Obispo.

“This is an opportunity that I’ve been thinking about and dreaming about for a number of years and I’m thrilled to be here,” Holocher said at a press conference on Friday.

Holocher, a 2004 inductee into the Santa Clara University Hall of Fame, is the second men’s soccer coach in Cal Poly’s intercollegiate history of the sport. He takes over for Wolfgang Gartner, who was fired last November.

In all, there were 106 applicants and the list was eventually whittled down to five candidates that the athletic department considered to be the top choices, Cone said after the press conference.

“Paul (Holocher) is a perfect fit for our men’s soccer program,” Cone said in a press release announcing the hiring of Holocher. “He is a highly respected coach and is the right one to lead Cal Poly into national prominence.”

Holocher, who signed for three years and $63,000 per year, will have his work cut out for him to rebuild a program that has struggled in recent years.

One change from last year will be a different style of offense.

“My style is an attacking, passing style,” Holocher said. “I like to teach players how to move dynamically in a pack and to keep the ball on the ground with an emphasis on switching the point of attack from side to side. I was an attacking player growing up and throughout college and I love players with skill and technique.”

Last year, Holocher coached UC Santa Cruz to a 17-2-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking. He will be the second head coach in Cal Poly’s 25-year intercollegiate men’s soccer history.

Holocher is a two-time Coach of the Year recipient by the Association of Division III Independents and a West Regional Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/ADIDAS.

As a player, Holocher spent his college years with Santa Clara University, leading the Broncos to the 1990 NCAA Div. I National Championship with a 20-0-3 record. He was a two-time All-American and the school’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Holocher spent seven years playing professional soccer. He played for the San Francisco Blackhawks in the American Professional Soccer League, a team in Austria and with the San Jose Clash and Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer.

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