Head coach Len Tsantiris embarks on his 35th year as the head coach of the women's soccer program at Connecticut in the 2015 season. In 2012, Tsantiris became only the second coach in collegiate women's soccer to reach the illustrious milestone of 500 career victories. Under his leadership, UConn has advanced to 29 NCAA National Tournaments, including 26 straight from 1982-2007. Four of those postseason appearances included visits to the NCAA Championship Game in 1984, 1990, 1997 and 2003. During his tenure, Tsantiris has created a women's soccer program that has received national attention for the team's successes on and off the field.
In his 34 seasons in charge of the UConn women's soccer program, Tsantiris, an inductee of the Class of 2012 for AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame, has compiled an outstanding 525-185-55 record.
After an uncharacteristic three-year hiatus, Tsantiris returned UConn to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 thanks to a 14-5-5 record. The Huskies received an auto-bid for the tournament after winning their first American Conference Championship. Entering the 2014 Tournament as the No. 4 seed, UConn knocked off Tulsa at home by a score of 1-0 and then defeated top-seed and nationally ranked UCF by the same score in the semifinals. Facing tournament host USF in the title game, UConn played the Bulls to a scoreless draw before advancing and winning the crown in penalty kicks. UConn went on to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament, falling at No. 8 Penn State after taking down New Hampshire at home.
Tsantiris guided UConn to an 11-9-0 record in the school's first year as a member of the American Athletic Conference in the fall of 2013. UConn finished fourth in the regular season league standings and hosted a home quarterfinal game in The American Tournament. The squad finished with a 5-4 record in league play
In 2012, Tsantiris led the Huskies to a 9-8-2 record and guided the squad to their eighth appearance in the BIG EAST Quarterfinal in the past 10 years. UConn went 4-5-1 in conference action in the team's final year in the BIG EAST, including a 3-1 win over Rutgers which clinched a trip to the quarters and earned Tsantiris his 500th win.
The Huskies struggled in the 2011 campaign posting a 7-8-2 record as it was the first time the squad failed to reach the BIG EAST Tournament with a 4-5-2 conference mark. Under Tsantiris' direction, Connecticut finished the season 4-2-2 at home at Morrone Stadium, including a thrilling 3-0 victory over No. 20 Boston University.
2010 saw Connecticut reach the NCAA Tournament for the 28th time. The Huskies recorded one of the most momentous victories in BIG EAST history on October 31 when UConn ousted eventual National Champion Notre Dame from the BIG EAST Tournament with a 2-0 victory in South Bend. UConn became the first BIG EAST team to defeat the Irish in 77 games. The 77-game conference winning streak was the longest of its kind in any sport. UConn continued the long history of academic success as well. The Huskies finished the year with the highest GPA of any team at Connecticut. 22 players earned BIG EAST All-Academic Honors while graduate student Annie Yi was named the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year.
In 2009, the Huskies made their return to the NCAA Tournament. UConn finished their regular season with a 10-7-1 record going 9-1-1 at home in Morrone Stadium. Under Tsantiris' direction, in the first game of the NCAA Tournament, a double-overtime game winner by Brittany Taylor handed the Huskies the 500th program win and Tsantiris his 474th career victory.
Under Tsantiris' direction in 2008, a young squad returned to the BIG EAST Championship match for the first time since 2005. After starting the season slowly, the team rallied back earning some key road victories which helped the Huskies into the BIG EAST tournament for the 15th time in program history. During the BIG EAST Championship game, the Huskies forced overtime with the nationally ranked No. 1 Notre Dame shutting the Fighting Irish out in regulation, the only team to do so during the 2008 season. The Huskies fell during the overtime period ending their season prior to the NCAA tournament for the first time in the school's history.
The 2007 Huskies advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. It was their 26th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team finished with a 14-6-2 overall record, 8-2-1 in the BIG EAST. UConn advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on penalty kicks after playing to a 0-0 tie with Boston College. They then defeated Wake Forest 1-0 two days later in the second round. The following weekend they went across the country to defeat top seeded Stanford 2-0 in the third round. Traveling again in the quarterfinals, the Huskies led Florida State 2-1 with eight minutes to go before the Seminoles were able to score the tying goal. Florida State then won the game with a goal in the second overtime. During the course of the regular season, UConn shutout their opponents 11 times and allowed only 14 goals, the fewest they've allowed since giving up 12 in 1998.
The 2006 Huskies earned a berth in their 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after finishing the season with an 11-7-4 overall record, 7-3-1 in the BIG EAST. UConn reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, posting a 1-1 tie against top-seeded Texas. The Longhorns, however, advanced to the next round after winning in penalty kicks. In an early season tournament, the Huskies nearly defeated eventual national champion North Carolina. In that game, UConn took a 2-0 lead into halftime, handing the Tar Heels their first two-goal halftime deficit since October 18, 1999. Later in the year, UConn played to a 0-0 draw with national runner-up Notre Dame at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The scoreless draw marked the first time an opponent had held Notre Dame without a goal since October 22, 2004. The tie would be the only blemish on the Notre Dame record until falling to North Carolina in the national championship game.
In 2005, the Huskies advanced to their 24th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and earned a BIG EAST divisional regular season championship. The team held a 10-game unbeaten streak from Sept. 9 through Oct. 9 and posted a 15-5-2 overall record. In BIG EAST play, the Huskies finished 10-1.
The 2004 Huskies had a remarkable run through the season and finished with an 18-7-1 overall record. UConn maintained a nine-game winning streak, a seven-game shutout streak in the middle of the season and captured their second BIG EAST Tournament Championship by beating Notre Dame. The Huskies advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament before being knocked out by Notre Dame, who went on to win the 2004 National Championship.
In 2003, UConn finished the season with an impressive 15-6-3 overall record. They won the Northern Division BIG EAST title and advanced to the NCAA tournament, fighting their way into the finals of the College Cup tournament. In the first two rounds, the Huskies faced local rivals Boston University and Central Connecticut. In the third round, the Huskies dominated Michigan with a 5-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals against BYU. After beating the Cougars, 3-1, the Huskies went on to defeat Florida State 2-0 in the semifinals to advance to their fourth NCAA title game against North Carolina.
The Huskies won their first-ever BIG EAST Tournament Championship in 2002, as they also claimed the regular season Northeast Division title. UConn made their 21st consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, being tabbed the fourth seed in the 64-team bracket. The team bowed out in the NCAA quarterfinals, ending the season at the hands of Penn State in a 2-1 loss. The Huskies compiled a 21-3-1 record for the year.
The 2001 season added another winning effort to Tsantiris' resume, as the Huskies finished 18-6-0 overall and captured their third straight BIG EAST Northeast Division title. In addition to leading the team to its 20th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, Tsantiris became only the second women's soccer head coach to win 350 games in his career.
In 2000, the team was nationally-ranked for the majority of the season, compiling an overall record of 17-7-2, and 5-0 in the BIG EAST. The Huskies were crowned the BIG EAST Northeast Division Champions and earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament. After upsetting No. 2 Nebraska in the Sweet 16 of the tournament, Connecticut advanced to the Elite Eight for the eighth straight season, the 15th time under Tsantiris.
The 1999 season was another in a long line of highly successful campaigns for Tsantiris and the UConn women's soccer program. The Huskies won the BIG EAST Northeast Division title and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the seventh consecutive season.
The Huskies won the BIG EAST Conference regular season championship in 1998 with a 10-0-1 record and Tsantiris was honored as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year. He also posted his 300th career win during the season and UConn concluded the overall year 21-2-2, advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.
In 1997, Tsantiris fielded one of his best teams ever as the Huskies posted a single-season school record 23 wins en route to an overall record of 23-4-0. Connecticut won four NCAA contests and advanced to the NCAA Division I National Championship game for the third time. For his efforts, Tsantiris was named the 1997 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division I Women's National Coach of the Year.
As the architect of the Connecticut women's soccer program, Tsantiris has also been honored as the NCAA Division I Northeast Coach of the Year four times (1983, 1987, 1995 and 1996) and BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1998.
In 1981, Tsantiris, a highly successful scholastic soccer coach, took over the reigns of the women's soccer program at Connecticut, his alma mater. Going into the 2008 season, the Tsantiris-led Huskies have averaged 16.9 wins per season.
The 26 consecutive NCAA appearances under Tsantiris resulted in an impressive three consecutive national championship semifinal appearances in 1982, 1983 and 1984 and four more semifinal appearances in 1990, 1994, 1997 and 2003. The Huskies were NCAA Tournament runners-up in 1984, 1990, 1997 and again in 2003. In addition to its seven NCAA national semifinal appearances, UConn advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1986, 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007.
Both Tsantiris' 1982 and 1983 Connecticut squads completed the regular season with undefeated records and the No. 1 ranking in the final NCAA National Top 20 poll, earning the top seed in their respective NCAA national tournaments.
In 1982, the Huskies went 14-0-1 in regular season play while the 1983 squad fashioned an 18-0-1 record at the end of the regular season and finished the season with a then school-record 19 wins (19-2-1).
In 1983, Tsantiris was awarded the Jorgensen Award, which is given by the UConn Alumni Association to an alumnus who has made outstanding contributions to the improvement of intercollegiate athletics at UConn.
Tsantiris holds an "A" coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation and serves on numerous soccer boards and organizations.
Tsantiris is also a member of the Connecticut Soccer Ambassadors, a statewide organization created to promote soccer at all levels. In October of 1989, Tsantiris received an award from the Connecticut Soccer Ambassadors in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development of women's soccer in the state of Connecticut.
Success followed Tsantiris to Connecticut in 1981 after a four-year stint as girls' head soccer coach at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Conn. While at E.O. Smith, his Panthers captured three straight state championships. The Panthers also set a Connecticut state record for most consecutive games without a loss (56) while out-scoring their opposition by an incredible 254-18 margin over a three-season span.
A 1977 UConn graduate with a B.S. in physical education, Tsantiris was a varsity soccer forward under former men's soccer mentor Joe Morrone. A four-year letterwinner, Tsantiris received All-New England and All-Yankee Conference honors. During those four seasons, the Husky squad qualified for the NCAA national tournament three times, advancing to the Final Eight in 1971 and 1974 and to the Final Sixteen in 1975.
Upon graduation from UConn, Tsantiris played professional soccer with the Connecticut Yankees in the former American Soccer League.
During the summer months, Tsantiris serves as the director of the Pioneer Girls' Soccer School at the University of Connecticut. He and his wife, Susan, reside in West Hartford, with their son Chris, 27; and daughters: Tina, 25, and Kathy, 22.