University of the Pacific Athletics chose a unique approach this season with the women’s soccer program by naming two interim co-head coaches.
The innovation was so successful that Athletics Director Janet Lucas named Danesha Adams and J.J. Wozniak as co-head coaches going forward.
“The success on and off the field this season, combined with the collective 42 years of collegiate and professional playing or coaching experience of Coach Adams and Coach Wozniak, inspired this groundbreaking appointment of co-head coaches,” Lucas said.
Adams and Wozniak also were named WCC Coaches of the Year on Nov. 11. The voting was done by the league’s coaches.
“It is rare to find co-head coaches in the NCAA, and typically those are married couples,” Lucas said. “This decision was based on the commitment to identify the best path forward for our program, the university’s willingness to innovate and on the program’s stunning turnaround this season.”
This season the program achieved its best record in 12 years, finishing 10-6-3. The program averaged just fewer than four wins per season over the past 11 years.
The Tigers got off to a hot start, compiling an 8-1-1 non-conference record, including a seven-match win streak. Pacific quickly developed a stellar defense, recording six shutouts before WCC play began. Goalkeeper Brenna Crump was a three-time WCC Defensive Player of the Week selection. Finishing the year with nine shutouts, Pacific is ranked third in the WCC in that category and fifth in goals-against average.
Academically, the program achieved a 3.52 team GPA and recorded 100% graduation in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report.
“Pacific just got a lot better," said Gonzaga University women’s soccer head coach Chris Watkins. "Creating a winning culture is the hardest thing to do in coaching. J.J. and Danesha have created the culture within their program in an impressive way. The players know they can compete and play with anyone now.”
Jerry Smith, who in his 35 years as head coach at Santa Clara University led that program to 12 WCC titles and two national championships, called the hiring of the co-head coaches “a great decision.”
“I applaud this decision as I know Danesha and JJ will continue to do great things with this program,” Smith said.
Adams and Wozniak both came to Pacific in March 2020 as assistant coaches.
Adams joined the staff from the University of Houston where she served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. She also coached at Villanova University in 2016.
During her playing career, she helped UCLA to four NCAA Final Four College Cups. She was a three-time Pac-10 Conference First Team selection, a two-time Hermann Trophy finalist and a Pac-10 Player of the Year finalist.
“I could not be happier for this opportunity to run this program alongside J.J,” Adams said. “Being a head coach at this level has been a dream of mine and couldn't have done it without my family, colleagues and mentors. Knowing I get to do it at Pacific with this group of women is even more special.”
Wozniak came to Pacific after serving as associate head coach at UNLV. He spent five years with the Rebels, who had four double-digit win seasons during his time on staff. Prior to UNLV, he was the top assistant for the men’s program at Belmont.
Wozniak played collegiately at Saint Louis, 1992-95, before finishing at Fresno State. He was the 1995 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year while playing for the Bulldogs. He earned his degree from Fresno State in 2000, while playing professionally with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1997 and the San Jose Clash in 1999, mixed in with time in the USL and USISL leagues. He twice earned league goalkeeper of the year honors.
Of his new role Wozniak said, “the two of us together make a great team and we know that when we put all our experiences together and focus on the true mission of what this profession is, to make sure our players have the best student-athlete experience ever, the development of our team and program will meet and exceed expectations."