Impact of Tom Stone on Texas Tech Women’s Soccer Program

STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 25: The Texas Tech Red Raiders flag flies outside the stadium before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys September 25, 2014 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Red Raiders 45-35. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 25: The Texas Tech Red Raiders flag flies outside the stadium before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys September 25, 2014 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Red Raiders 45-35. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) /

Since being named head coach in 2007, Tom Stone has had a major impact on the Texas Tech women’s soccer program in several ways bringing the program to never-before-see heights.

The Texas Tech women’s soccer program has blossomed with Tom Stone at the helm of the program since 2007, and currently is off to another strong start at 7-2.  Prior to the start of Big 12 play, which will get underway this weekend for the Red Raiders, let’s take a moment to look at the job Stone has done in rebuilding the program.

Stone’s influence on the Texas Tech women’s soccer program has not only impacted the student-athletes he has coached but also the Lubbock community which has grown in its support for the Red Raiders. His impact since 2007 has come in four major ways; developing talent amongst all classes of players, postseason opportunities in the NCAA Tournament, creating enjoyable home game experiences and atmospheres, and building a winning tradition.

In fact, total attendance at home games at the John Walker Complex has been nationally recognized by the NCAA over the past few years as one of the top among Division I women’s soccer programs. Fans have continually filled the 1,500 seat facility and shown loyalty to the women’s soccer program like never before.

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According to the database, Texas Tech has had finishes of 21st (2014), 19th (2012), 13th (2011), and 12th (2010) among all NCAA Division I programs in attendance.  Most recently, Stone’s program finished the 2015 season with 13,627 total fans attending the Red Raiders’ women’s soccer home games. In 2017, that pattern has continued with strong success as 3,199 fans already have attended the Texas Tech women’s soccer games in the team’s only three home games thus far in the season.

It is obvious that Texas Tech fans are squarely behind the Red Raider soccer team and that is due in large part to the work Tom Stone has done over the past decade.  The following are the four key areas in which Stone and his staff have been able to improve the health of success of the program.

Impact No.1: Developing Talent amongst all classes of players in the program

In 2017, the Texas Tech women’s soccer program has already had key victories over some strong teams including Arizona State, San Diego State, and Cal State Northridge. The Red Raiders currently are 3-0 in home games as well as 3-0 on neutral fields in 2017.

The youth of the 2017 Red Raiders women’s soccer program has led the way for the hot start for Texas Tech.  The Red Raiders’ leading scorer Ally Griffin, is a true freshman who already has four goals on the year.  Kristen Davis, the second leading scorer with three goals also a true freshman while Savanna Jones, the third leading scorer on the team with two goals is only in her second year with the program.

As for the upperclassmen, a pair of juniors have proven their value thus far in 2017. Midfielder Carly Wickenheiser and goalkeeper Carissa Christensen are leading the charge. Wickenheiser, has appeared in 51 career games (34 starts) under Stone at the helm, while Christensen has appeared in 11 contests logging 551:40 Career Minutes played with only a 0.82 Goal Against Average (only allowing five goals).

The key to Texas Tech’s sustained success has been in how Tom Stone and his staff have continually stockpiled talent and developed those players in contributors from the moment the step on campus.

Naturally, that has led to an improvement in area number two.

Impact No. 2:  Earning postseason appearances in NCAA Tournament

The Texas Tech women’s soccer program under Tom Stone haas earned bids in the NCAA  Tournament six times in his 11 seasons. The Red Raiders have reached the Sweet 16 once in 2014, and Round of 32 four times in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

In the 13 seasons prior to Stone’s hiring, the Texas Tech women’s soccer program had zero earned bids in the NCAA Tournament.  Furthermore, it had only three winning seasons in history, including zero from 1997-2000 under previous head coaches Diane Nichols, Felix Oskam, Neil McGuire.

In order to change the culture of the program, Tom Stone had to make the Red Raiders into consistent winners.  Lubbock, like any other community, is a winner’s town and before success could be seen in ticket sales, success had to come on the pitch and that is exactly what Stone was able to do.

Now that his program is winning, Tom Stone and the Texas Tech athletic department have put an emphasis on giving fans a memorable experience.

Impact No. 3: Enjoyable Game Day Experiences at John Walker Soccer Complex

For 2017, the Texas Tech women’s soccer program fans who attend home Red Raiders’ games can enjoy a wide variety of great enjoyable game day experiences. Promotions for the 2017 season include:

  • Club Soccer Night & Red Raiders Supporting Red Raiders vs App State, 9/3
  • Soccer Scarf Night vs San Diego State, 9/15
  • Futbol vs Football vs Cal State Northridge, 9/18
  • Red Out/Camper Reunion vs Kansas State, 9/22
  • Father-Daughter Night vs TCU, 10/1
  • 80’s Night/HS Night vs Oklahoma State, 10/13
  • Senior Night/Black Out/T-Shirt Giveaway vs Oklahoma, 10/27

Ticket Prices: $5–Adults    $3–Youth

Creating enjoyable fan experiences on game days has impacted the program by helping with the success of the program since Stone’s arrival in 2007. In a football town like Lubbock and like a football state like Texas, women’s soccer is a tough sell for fans to attend games but creating game day experiences like those scheduled for the 2017 season allow a wide variety of demographics as well as Texas Tech students to come out to support a women’s soccer program.

According to a 2015 SIFA Trend Study for U.S. Team Sports, tackle football and touch football is down a combined  50.50 percent while indoor  soccer and outdoor soccer is only down a combined 20.0%. The same report shows that only 5,286 (in ,000) are playing both footballs combined while soccer combined has a higher than football, 9,828 (in ,000) as of 2014.

Impact No. 4:  A Winning Texas Tech Women’s Soccer Program under Stone

Tom Stone currently ranks first in Texas Tech women’s soccer program history in several categories; all-time wins (94), all-time Big 12 Conference Wins (31), most NCAA Tournament appearances (6), and highest average conference finish (5th).

Stone’s winning tradition comes from his playing days at Duke University from 1983-1987, where he led the 1986 Blue Devils men’s soccer program to a NCAA Tournament National Championship over Akron (1-0) on a Stone goal. Stone also finished as the 1986 NCAA Tournament leading goal scorer with 4 goals in Duke’s run with wins over South Carolina, NC State, Loyola (MD), Harvard, and Akron.

Most notably, a winning program has allowed several former players that Stone has coached at Texas Tech has given them an opportunity to not only professional but international careers as well. One such player is former forward Janine Beckie (2012-2015), Beckie who finished with career 43 goals at Texas Tech during her career would go on to be the eighth selection in the 2016 NWSL Draft and would also appear in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Beckie would go on to score three goals during Canada’s run in the Olympics that helped earn Beckie and Canada a bronze medal.

Other notable former players that Stone has coached during his time with the Texas Tech women’s soccer program that currently play professional include; Caity Heap (currently with Houston Dash), Jaelene Hinkle (currently with North Carolina Courage, USA national team), Taylor Lytle and Hayley McCall (each currently with Sky Blue FC).

Final Thoughts

Overall, Tom Stone has made an impact not only with Texas Tech women’s soccer program since his arrival in 2007 but with Texas Tech athletics as well. His impact has shown in developing of talent among all classes of players, earning postseason opportunities, having enjoyable game day experiences for fans, and building a winning program.

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Texas Tech fans should continue to rally behind the Texas Tech women’s soccer program because under Stone’s leadership the program has risen to never-before-seen-heights. A strong women’s soccer program and strong non-power sports are important not only to the success of the entire Red Raider athletic department but to the student-athletes  and coaches on the Texas Tech women’s soccer program who are proud to wear the red and black on game-days.