Clarksville, Ark.-Veteran coach John Cossaboon was named the new head men's soccer coach at the University of the Ozarks, it was announced by Athletic Director Jimmy Clark.
Cossaboon, a native of Rochester, New York, brings a wealth of coaching experience to Ozarks, including head women’s coaching stints at NCAA I Southern Methodist University and University of San Diego. Cossaboon has spent the last two years as the assistant women’s coach at Gonzaga University.
Cossaboon replaces Dave De Hart, who stepped down after 10 seasons at the helm.
“I am excited to have him join our athletics staff,” said Clark. “He has a very rich history of accomplishments as a coach. I am excited we were able to hire a guy of his caliber. The fact that he has done this for a long period of time is important to the program. Without a doubt, he will be able to carry on the tradition of our men’s soccer program.”
Cossaboon joined Gonzaga from Southern Methodist University where he spent four seasons and earned Conference USA Coach of the Year twice. SMU won conference titles in each of those seasons, including 2006 when SMU went 17-5-1 overall and 8-1-0 in Conference USA for its seventh straight regular-season title. The Mustangs, tied for 24th in the final SoccerTimes.com poll, and received an at-large bid into the College Cup, advancing to the second round in their sixth straight College Cup appearance that year. In his first season at the helm, SMU recorded a 17-3-2 mark, finished 22nd in the nation and won the Western Athletic Conference.
“A number of things attracted me to Ozarks,” said Cossaboon. “Ozarks provided me with an opportunity to get back into the men’s game, something I have been looking at doing. I enjoyed the size of the campus and the closeness of the university. Ozarks is the kind of school where the student-athlete receives a lot of attention from the professors. The natural outdoor setting of the Clarksville area was attractive, too.”
“Dave did a good job of establishing a strong soccer culture, and I want to carry that on,” said Cossaboon. “There is a solid base of commitment within the program and the program has demonstrated success. I hope to take that and add to it."
Prior to SMU, Cossaboon spent six years as the head women’s coach at University of San Diego, guiding the Toreros to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1999-2002) while compiling an overall record of 73-43-6. His West Coast Conference mark was 25-15-2. Additionally, Cossaboon served as the women’s head coach at UC Santa Barbara from 1995-1997.
He also gained international head coaching experience as one of very few Americans to coach abroad professionally in the Japan’s women’s professional league from 1993 through the beginning of 1995. Before his stint in Japan, Cossaboon’s coaching experiences included the following positions: top assistant coach for the men’s program at Santa Clara University (1992-1993), the head men’s coach at Cal State Hayward (1991) and assistant coaching jobs at Duke (1978-82) and the North Carolina (1977).
He served as the Director of Coaching for the North Texas State Soccer Association from 1982-90, directing and training Olympic Development players and designing and implementing the state’s coaching education program. With a United States Soccer Federation “A” License, he has been a National Staff Coach for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America since 1983. From 1983 to 1985, he was a National Staff Coach for the USSF.
A 1977 graduate of State University of New York-Cortland, Cossaboon earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in sports psychology and exercise physiology. During his senior year at Cortland, he garnered first team All-Conference honors as a center midfielder. Cossaboon earned his master’s degree in physical education in 1978 from the University of North Carolina with an emphasis in exercise physiology, coaching, biomechanics and psychology. He received his Intermediate Level Coaching Certificate from the Brazilian Football Academy in Rio de Janeiro. He has authored five soccer publications, has studied soccer techniques in Brazil, Belgium and Holland, and has taught Martial Arts and Self-Defense classes for Women.
Cossaboon becomes the third head coach in program history.
Photos courtesy of Jeff Green