Q&A with a Razorback Coach
By Andrew Reynolds UA Media Relations Erin Aubry is entering her first season as the head soccer coach at the University of Arkansas and was named the seventh head coach in program history on Dec. 23, 2008. During the previous four years, she served as the head coach at Morehead State in Morehead, Ky. Aubry inherits a Razorback team that finished 2008 with an 11-8 record, tying the school record for wins in a season. During the 2008 season at Morehead State, Aubry guided the program to uncharted heights. The Eagles captured the program’s first-ever Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) title and their first NCAA Tournament appearance. In four years at Morehead State, Aubry, the 2006 OVC Coach of the Year, compiled a 28-38-9 record. Morehead State finished the 2008 season with a 9-9-3 record, including a 4-4-2 mark in conference play. The nine-win total matched the program’s all-time high, equaling the mark of the 2000 and 2004 teams. The Eagles entered the 2008 OVC Soccer Championship as the tournament’s No. 4 seed, and defeated the top-seeded team from Murray State in the semifinals before claiming a 1-0 win over Tennessee-Martin in the championship game.
MR: It’s been kind of whirlwind past few months for you, right? I’m sure you’ve been running around like crazy trying to get everything settled before the beginning of the season. EA: Yes it has, but it’s been fantastic. There’s really no better place to come and have the support that I’ve had. It’s made the transition pretty easy, so I don’t think that aspect has been to much of a whirlwind.
MR: You talk about the support you’ve seen already, how was the turnout in Ann Arbor, Mich? EA: [laughs] It’s really funny, actually. We got re-routed on our flight up. We were supposed to go through Dallas, but ended up having to have a connection in Chicago. It was crazy, we had people coming up to us all throughout the airport yelling ‘Go Hogs’….this was in Chicago. But then having that big turnout at the match, it became overwhelmingly obvious to me that there is such a thing as Razorback Nation, and we got to see it pretty early.
MR: I imagine it was a sight to see. Would you say that’s one of your favorite things about being a Razorback is the fan support? EA: Oh wow, it’s hard to say what my ‘favorite’ thing about being a Razorback is. I don’t necessarily think the number of fans out there is what amazes me, but the pride, class and tradition that seems to go with it everywhere you turn. It’s really empowering, actually, and I think the girls would agree with me on that.
MR: Obviously being a Razorback has gotten you fired up, what particular aspect of your sport, soccer, really gets you fired up? EA: Scoring goals. Without a doubt, scoring goals. Watching an attack build and getting in behind a defense is what does it for me. That seems like the only time a crowd really gets into the game of soccer, and because of that I like to build our playing style around it.
MR: Tim Novak (assistant coach) was an opposing coach to you last season in the OVC. What did you see in him that you liked? EA: Ultimately, I had a lot of respect for Tim. When you have a lot of respect for someone you compete against, the line between wanting to face him and wanting him as a part of your staff is very thin. He’s very competitive, very classy and he’s a great coach.
MR: You brought Christine (Liberto) with you from Morehead State. Talk about her style and what you like about what she brings to the table. EA: She’s all energy. It’s very important to have someone who’s still young and relates to the girls. Even though I like to think we’re a relatively young staff, I like having that one person who is fresh out of the game. Also, she played in the SEC, so she knows what it’s about.
MR: I think the real question that everyone wants answered is, who would win if you three lined up at the touch line and ran to the other? EA: Me, for sure [laughs]. We would all say we would each win, there’s no doubt about that. Seriously though, in a sprint, Christine would win. Tim would win a longer run. Hopefully I’d be somewhere in the middle and at least finish.
MR: The season’s going to pick up in the next few weeks, how do you expect it to play out? EA: I know it sounds too much of a generic throw-phrase, but I want us to reach our potential. This team has a load of potential, so to say just a berth in the SEC tournament I don’t think would suffice. I think our goal is to reach the NCAA tournament. That’s every team’s goal.