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Notre Dame women's soccer coach steps down

Randy Waldrum resigned as the Notre Dame women's soccer coach to pursue a professional opportunity with the Houston Dash, the National Women's Soccer League's expansion franchise, the university announced Friday.

Houston will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Monday to announce Waldrum's hiring.

"This is a very difficult day for me as I'm leaving the absolute best university in the country, yet excited about a new challenge that lies before me," Waldrum, a native of Irving, Texas, said in a news release.

"My decision basically came down to me wanting to get back to Texas and spending some time with my family. I've been away for a long time, and I am about to become a grandfather for the first time. I want to be there to watch my granddaughter grow up and I hope that everyone can appreciate that.

"The opportunity to do this was provided by the Houston Dash, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of building a new expansion team, and all that goes along with coaching in a pro environment.

"At the same time, I will never forget...everything we did here at Notre Dame. I'm proud of every player, past and present, who has worn the Fighting Irish uniform and will miss all of them immensely. Please know that Notre Dame will always be in my heart, and will always be special to me."

Waldrum came to Notre Dame in 1999 after stints at Tulsa (1989-94) and Baylor (1996-98). He went 399-108-29 in 24 years as a college coach.

Waldrum went 292-58-17 in 15 seasons with the Irish, guiding the program to eight NCAA Women's College Cup appearances.

The Irish won the national championship in 2004 and 2010, and made five trips to the title game under Waldrum.

Notre Dame also won 12 Big East regular-season titles and seven Big East postseason titles under Waldrum, who was named the national coach of the year twice and the Big East coach of the year five times.

He is one of only seven coaches in any sport to lead Notre Dame to multiple national championships. Other coaches to lead programs to multiple national titles are former football coaches Knute Rockne (3), Frank Leahy (4) and Ara Parseghian (2), former fencing coaches Michael DeCicco (4) and Yves Auriol (2) and current fencing coach Janusz Bednarski (3).

Notre Dame assistant coaches Dawn Greathouse and Corey Holton will oversee the women's soccer program on an interim basis while a national search is conducted for the team's next coach, the university said.

"Randy has taken our women's soccer program to new heights, both on the field and in the classroom," athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. "He has been such a great leader for us, precisely because he built a truly elite program in a way that reflects Notre Dame's core values.

"His passion for this University and its women's soccer program is unquestioned and is further reflected in his willingness to assist us as we transition to new leadership for the program.

"We wish Randy all the best as he begins this new chapter in his very successful career. We also look forward to building upon the tremendous foundation that he laid as we continue to compete as one of the elite women's soccer programs in the country."