Westmont Magazine Giuliano Moves to the NCAA
Mike Giuliano, one of the most successful soccer coaches in NAIA history, has left Westmont to become the head women’s soccer coach at San Diego State University, an NCAA Division I team that plays in the Mountain West Conference.
“The past 13 years at Westmont have been the happiest of my life,” said Giuliano. “It’s hard to overstate my feelings about the quality of this institution. At the same time, we are excited about this opportunity and the possibilities that are ahead of us.”
Giuliano helped build Westmont into a NAIA power-house with a 194-42-15 record in 11 seasons and four NAIA national titles, including three straight. The first coach at any level of college soccer to win three straight National Coach of the Year awards, he won four NAIA honors in all.
The soccer team has a streak of 59 matches since it last lost a match in regulation time. Westmont is 17-0-1 in the NAIA national tournament in the past five years, with a penalty kick shootout in 2000 being the only blemish.
Giuliano’s athletes include three NAIA National Players of the Year, 30 NAIA All-Americans, 16 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and 55 All-GSAC selections.
“To say that losing Mike is difficult would be the understatement of the millennium,” Athletic Director Dave Wolf said. “Mike has been successful in every conceivable way. Certainly the results are incredible when you consider three consecutive national championships and a winning percentage that rivals any coach in the country. It is, however, Mike’s success as a teacher, a mentor and a molder of young lives that is of even greater value.”
Giuliano, who holds a Ph.D. in communications from Northwestern (Ill.), has taught communication studies at Westmont since 1992.
Dan Ribbens, the top assistant women’s soccer coach, will replace Giuliano on a one-year, interim basis.
“I am thrilled to have someone of Dan’s talents and experience as our new head women’s soccer coach,” Wolf said. “He has been an integral part of the Westmont soccer family for many years, and I’m extremely excited about his transition into this important position. I have full confidence in Dan’s ability to lead this incredible group of young women and I’m confident that the legacy of Westmont women’s soccer is in great hands.”
After being involved in the local soccer scene for many years, Ribbens helped coach the 2003 squad, which went 22-1-1 and captured the NAIA national title. He was a four-year letterman for the Warriors men’s team and earned NAIA All-American honors in 1976. Ribbens was instrumental in starting the Football Club of Santa Barbara in the early 1990s and has coached several age groups.
“I’m so excited about this opportunity,” Ribbens said. “Working with Mike (Giuliano) was terrific, and I learned a lot about building team chemistry. We won’t look just like the teams in the past, but will have many of the same characteristics.”
Despite graduating eight seniors, the team returns six starters and several top reserves, and a stellar recruiting class arrives on campus in the fall.
“I believe in this team and I think we will surprise some people,” Ribbens said.