Loyola announces new soccer coaches

Athletic Director Jim Paquette announced Thursday that Steve Nichols and Naomi Meiburger would take over as the head coaches of the Loyola Men’s and Women’s soccer programs. The two take over soccer programs that have hit a rough patch after a long and storied history. The men won 12 MAAC titles from 1989 to 2009, nine more than any other MAAC school. In 1976 the Greyhounds won the Division 2 National title with a 2-0 victory over New Haven. Since moving to Division 1 in 1981, the Greyhounds have advanced to eight NCAA tournaments including back-to-back quarterfinal berths in 1986 and 1987.
The women’s side has had nearly equal the amount of success on the pitch. Loyola has won 10 MAAC titles in 17 appearances in the finals since 1994, with their last coming in 2012.
Nichols has a long history with Loyola and Baltimore area soccer. A product of the Boys Latin School of Maryland just down the road, Nichols played a year at James Madison before transferring to Loyola in 1989. He was part of a team that went 13-0-0 in MAAC play between 1989 and 1990 and 28-7-8 overall. He also played on the 1991 team, which won its third straight MAAC regular season and tournament title.
“We are thrilled that Steve Nichols is returning to his alma mater to serve as our head men’s soccer coach,” Paquette said. “Steve has had a strong presence in the Baltimore soccer community for more than 20 years, and he has helped developed some of the best talent in the state of Maryland. In addition, he has been recognized nationally for his accomplishments as a professional, high school and club coach. I firmly believe he is the right person at the right time to lead our men’s soccer program.”
After leaving Loyola, Nichols played professionally for the Baltimore Spirit of the NPSL and the Baltimore Bays of the USISL. After his retirement from professional soccer Nichols turned to coaching, his first stop was the McDonogh School in Owings Mills. He spent 17 seasons with the Eagles turing them into a national power and two national number one rankings. In 2013 he led the Eagles to a 21-0-1 record and a national championship. Only three times in his 17-year career had McDonogh not participated in the MIAA championship game.
Nichols was named the 2013 NSCAA Boys Private School National Coach of the Year. His coaching career away from McDonogh has included nine National Youth Soccer Championships and the national coach for the U-17 Chelsea Tour in England in 2009 and 2011. “This opportunity is a lifetime dream for me,” Nichols said. “I grew up in the area and, at the time, while I was playing high school and club soccer, Loyola was the top choice for kids in the area; that’s why I went there. This is a life-changing opportunity and my dream is to come back and make that happen again.”
Nichols earned his Bachelors degree in Communications and Public Relations from Loyola in 1992.
“Steve is a proven winner at every level he’s coached,” said Bill Wnek, Loyola’s associate athletic director who chaired the search. “He’s won numerous coaching awards and has developed countless players who have gone on to play college soccer at some of the top schools nationally.”
Meiburger joins Loyola as the fifth head coach in the programs short 22-year history. She comes to Loyola from Georgetown where she has spent the last 11 seasons, the last three as the teams associate head coach. The Hoyas have reached the past two NCAA College Cups and finished 2013 with a record of 16-3-2.
“I am thrilled to join the Loyola community, one that values education, athletic excellence and a quality student experience,” Meiburger said. “Jim (Paquette) has a great vision for Loyola Athletics, and I am excited and thankful for his trust in my abilities to lead this program. Teddi (Burns), Jim and the search committee have worked tirelessly in this process and I appreciate their thoughtfulness, patience and diligence. I am honored to lead Loyola women’s soccer into the future and am excited to begin working with team.”
Meiburger’s collegiate career started at George Mason where she was named the NSCAA Region All-America First Team Goalkeeper in 2002. After graduating in 2003 with a Bachelors degree in English she joined the Hoyas as an assistant coach. At Georgetown Meiburger worked specifically with goalkeepers and defenders, her defense finished ranked 42nd and 29th out of 325 division one programs in 2012 and 2013 respectively. “Naomi quickly rose to the top of our candidate pool as a coach who will make an immediate impact on our women’s soccer program,” said Teddi Burns, Loyola’s associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator who chaired the search process. “Her core values are ones that we share here at Loyola. Many people who we talked to about Naomi spoke about her work ethic, strong regional recruiting ties and integrity. Those are things that we appreciated when meeting with her throughout the interview process.”