The University of Toledo has hired former Southwest Minnesota State head coach Thomas (TJ) Buchholz as its head women’s soccer coach, UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced Friday.“I’m thrilled to welcome TJ Buchholz as the head women’s soccer coach at The University of Toledo,” O’Brien said. “TJ is a proven winner at the collegiate level. He built Southwest Minnesota State into a competitive regional team. His teams have excelled on the field, in the classroom and in the community. He is a great choice to lead our women’s soccer team.”
“I’m truly overjoyed for the opportunity to lead this well-respected program,” said Buchholz, who will be the third coach in the 20-year history of the program. “The UT soccer program has a strong history, winning four conference tournament titles, and has consistently been one of the top teams in the region. I’m very aware of their past accomplishments, and I look to continue the great tradition.
“It was very tough to leave Southwest Minnesota State. I had four special years there, but The University of Toledo is also a special place, and I can’t wait to get started.“
Buchholz posted a record of 38-32-5 in four years at NCAA Division II SMSU, including 29-24-5 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. He helped the Mustangs establish 17 school records during his stay at SMSU.
This past fall, Southwest Minnesota State finished 10-8-1 overall, 9-5-1 in the league. Autumn Hayes and Miranda Cadena were tabbed to the All-Central Region second team. In total, five players were named to the conference team.
In 2013, SMSU reached new heights by earning a berth into the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. The Mustangs earned two postseason victories along the way, defeating No. 1 seed Minnesota State to snap the Mavericks’ 36-match home winning streak and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16. SMSU wrapped up the year with a school-record 16 wins and was ranked No. 18 in the Top 25 poll. For the squad’s efforts on the pitch, Buchholz was tabbed the conference coach of the year.
SMSU had six players garner all-conference accolades in 2013, including Brienna Dehkes, who earned goalkeeper of the year honors. Cadena also was named the NCAA Division II Central Region Player of the Year and became the program’s first ever All-American. SMSU had a total of five players earn all-region laurels in 2013.
Buchholz laid the foundation during his first two seasons, producing a 5-10-1 record in 2011, the program’s highest victory total since 2004, and improving again in 2012, finishing with a 7-9-1 mark.
Academically, SMSU maintained at least a 3.0 team grade-point average every year since 2011 and earned multiple National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Awards.
Buchholz, who has 12 seasons of head coaching experience at the collegiate level, came to SMSU after spending 2010 as assistant women’s soccer coach at NCAA Division I California-Riverside.
Prior to his stint at UC-Riverside, Buchholz spent two seasons (2008-09) as the head women’s and men’s soccer coach at NCAA Division III Wartburg College in Iowa and seven seasons (2001-08) as head coach of the men’s program at Northwestern College in Iowa. He also served one season as the Northwestern College head women’s soccer coach (2007).
His career head coaching record in women’s soccer is 76-47-9 in six seasons and 99-69-7 in nine seasons as a men’s head coach.
During his two seasons as Wartburg’s women’s head coach, the team compiled a 31-5-4 overall record, won the program’s first-ever conference championship in 2008 and achieved the first-ever national ranking in 2009. He led the Wartburg men’s team to a pair of conference tournament championships, two NCAA Championship appearances and an overall ledger of 31-10-2. In the classroom, both programs received National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Awards in 2008 and 2009.
Prior to arriving at Wartburg, Buchholz was at the helm of the men’s soccer program at Northwestern College for seven seasons, compiling a record of 68-59-5. During his tenure, the Red Raiders won one conference title, advanced to four National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) region tournaments, won the 2007 championship and secured a spot in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history. He was named the 2007 NAIA Region Coach of the Year.
Buchholz began his coaching career in 2000, spending one season as the assistant men’s coach at Northwestern College. He also served as the head women’s soccer coach at Northwestern during the 2007 season, leading the squad to a 7-10-1 ledger.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Northwestern College in 1999 and earned his master’s degree in sports management from California University of Pennsylvania in 2008.
Buchholz and his wife, Candace, have three daughters, Season (10), Chloe (7) and Sophie (3).