Grant Named C-USA Men's Soccer Coach of the Year
Nov. 14, 2000
CHICAGO - Memphis head soccer coach Richie Grant was recognized by his fellow coaches in Conference USA by being named the 2000 men's soccer Coach of the Year. In his second season at the helm of the Tiger soccer team, Grant led the Tigers to a tie for the most wins in a season, finishing with a record of 14-6. It is only the third time in the 19-year history of Memphis soccer that the Tigers have won 14 games. Also, 2000 marks the first time since the creation of C-USA that the Tigers have finished with a record better than .500, going 5-3 in conference play this season. All three conference losses for the Tigers came in matches that went to overtime, and of the six losses in the season, only one was by more than one goal.
Grant was not the only Tiger recognized by C-USA for his efforts this season. Memphis also had five players receive honors from the conference for their contributions on the field.
Junior forward Sean Fraser, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, was named first team All-C-USA, while fellow juniors Justin Stralka (CBHS), and Stephen Lewis (Houston HS), were named to the second team. Junior forward Lars Thorstensen received third team honors, and freshman goalkeeper Clark Talley (Houston HS) was named to the all-freshman team.
Fraser led the Tigers and C-USA in goals scored and in points in 2000. Fraser finished the season 16 goals and nine assists for 41 points. He finished second in C-USA in assists, and set a school record for points in a season. Fraser had two hat tricks on the season, and he was a dominant force up front for the Tigers.
Stralka, a midfielder, was a physical and emotional leader in the center of the field for Memphis this season. He finished with five goals and seven assists, but was most valuable to the Tigers in the middle of the field, fighting for every ball that rolled within ten yards of his feet.
Stephen Lewis, a co-captain for the Tigers and a staple in the Tiger defense, was a vocal leader for the Tigers this season and exemplified the hustle and heart that Grant preaches to this Tiger team. Lewis set up attacks and guarded some of the best forwards in the country from his position as left defender, and tallied three goals and two assists on the season, as well.
Thorstensen is finishing his first season as a Tiger after transferring from Lambuth University after two seasons there. He scored 13 goals and added eight assists in his inaugural season for the Tigers, and, combined with Fraser and Tommy White, made up the most potent offensive attack in C-USA.
Talley, a true freshman from Houston HS, started every match for the Tigers this season in the goal, and was a vital part of many Tiger victories this season. He finished with 81 saves, second most in C-USA, and held a goals-against-average of 1.41 in his rookie season.
This is the most players to receive conference honors for the Tigers since joining C-USA, and the first time a Tiger coach has won Coach of the Year honors for soccer. Though the Tigers are not going on to the NCAA tournament this season, they return seven starters and a wealth of young talent which gives Tiger fans much to look forward to going into 2001.