The University of Akron stayed within the family in choosing its new men’s soccer coach.
Associate head coach Jared Embick, who joined the Zips coaching staff in 2007, agreed to terms on a three-year contract that will pay him $175,000 annually with incentives that could push the compensation higher.
“I was surprised,” Embick told the Beacon Journal via phone Wednesday afternoon. “I thought it would take more time, so obviously there’s excitement, a little bit of relief and part of me doesn’t think it’s sunk in either.”
Embick will take the place of Caleb Porter, who will leave the program to take over the Portland Timbers of the MLS after the season. Porter’s contract paid him $270,000 annually.
Embick is part of the staff that brought UA its first and only national championship in any sport.
“We have been well aware of Jared’s qualities as a coach and after searching the country, we determined that he is the best fit for our program moving forward,” Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said in a news release. “As our program’s associate head coach, he has been a fundamental part of our success and a reason why we have been able to attract some of the best soccer players in the world.”
Embick, who will take over the program Dec. 15, is undaunted in assuming the reins from Porter.
“Obviously there are some big steps to fill, but I’ve been working along the way,” Embick said. “But I know what we did to accomplish that and if there’s anyone who can continue it and make it better, I feel that I can do that,” he said.
Zips fans should not expect a lot of changes. Embick has been involved in all aspects of the soccer program.
Most notably, Embick has been the recruiting coordinator and has helped to bring in the talent that has made UA one of the more successful soccer programs in the nation the past several years.
He was named National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010.
“The transition can be smooth and we can keep it going,” he said.
Porter endorsed the hiring of Embick.
“Jared has been an invaluable member of my staff since I hired him as my right-hand man six years ago,” Porter said in a news release. “Clearly, during this time he has played a major role in shaping the Akron soccer program into what it is today — the nation’s premier program in college soccer. What makes Akron soccer unique is the philosophy that we both share and I’m pleased to know that this brand will continue under Jared’s guidance.
“Ultimately, this philosophy is the reason why, for the past seven years, the program has won so many games, developed numerous professional players, secured the nation’s top recruits, increased fan attendance and competed for national championships year in and year out. The future of the Akron soccer program is in good hands with Jared at the helm and I couldn’t be happier with this decision.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.