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Pantalione named nation's top coach

Courier file

Courier file

To the surprise of no one in the college soccer community, Yavapai College put the final stamp on its historic 2008 season.

The school announced late Friday night that men's soccer head coach Mike Pantalione won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas National Coach of the Year award at the annual NCSAA Convention in St. Louis, Mo.

It's Pantalione's fifth such award.

Pantalione founded the men's soccer program at Yavapai College 21 years ago and has been its only head coach. With seven national titles to his credit, Pantalione led the Roughriders to an historic 2008 season - even by the school's own successful standards.

Yavapai clinched its first perfect season in program history with a 26-0-0 campaign. The run marked the first time that a men's soccer team had achieved 26 single-season wins in the history of college soccer at any level.

The memorable season ended with a 1-0 win over San Jacinto, Texas, to capture the NJCAA national championship this past November in Phoenix.

Pantalione already had the most NSCAA National Coach of the Year awards among JUCO coaches with four. He is a 14-time NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year and has won seven NJCAA National Coach of the Year honors.

Pantalione is a member of the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame and he has the most career coaching victories in the history of Division 1 junior college. The Roughriders are 443-29-13 in his 20-year career, and bring an intact 33-game winning streak into the 2009 season.

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