PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania’s all-time winningest women’s soccer coach, Darren Ambrose, has announced his resignation to take the head coaching job at Vanderbilt University of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Ambrose has been Penn’s head coach for the last 15 seasons, accumulating 148 wins and the program’s three Ivy League titles (2001, 2007, 2010).
The official announcement was made late Thursday by Vanderbilt.
“Leaving Penn is the most difficult decision I have had to make to this point in my life,” said Ambrose. “The student-athletes, the coaches and the administration have been a major part of my life, both professionally and personally, for the past 15 years. I will leave behind a huge part of me as I make the transition. Penn and its athletic department will always hold a very special place in my heart.
“I am proud of how far the program has come since I arrived in 2000, and I know that the future for both the women’s soccer program and Penn Athletics is in great hands with Dr. Grace Calhoun at the helm. I wish nothing but the best for Penn and all of its athletic programs.”
“We are saddened to see Coach Ambrose leave, but at the same time excited for him, his family, and this new opportunity,” said Calhoun. “Darren has put together one of the outstanding careers among our coaches, and he has been a leader of the coaches group. On the field, his teams were fun to watch and almost always in the mix for Ivy League titles. Off the field, his student-athletes thrived in the classroom and as campus leaders, an accomplishment of which he was most proud.
“Darren is a major reason Penn is one of the premier women’s soccer programs in the Ivy League today. We will miss him, but we wish him well as he makes the move to another outstanding institution and the SEC.”
Penn never had a losing overall record during Ambrose’s tenure, going 148-71-35 overall (54-34-17 in Ivy League play). The Quakers have not finished lower than third in the Ivy League standings for the last six seasons and seven of the last eight campaigns.
Ambrose coached the only Penn players to earn NSCAA All-America honors, Katy Cross in 2001 and Croline Dwyer in 2013. Both of those women are the program’s only Ivy League Players of the Year, and Ambrose also coached the 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year (Kerry Scalora). Ambrose has had a total of 26 first-team and 22 second-team All-Ivy players during his 15 seasons.
A national search for Ambrose’s replacement will begin immediately.