George Van Linder enters his fifth season as head coach of the Baylor women's soccer program in 2007.
In 2006, Van Linder led Baylor to its first Big 12 Conference Championship appearance in five years as he guided the Bears to post-season play for the first time since 2002. The 2006 season was highlighted by wins over nationally-ranked Missouri as well as Oklahoma and Iowa State as Baylor shut-out six opponents on the year.
Under Van Linder's guidance, junior goalkeeper Ashley Noah was selected first-team All-Big 12 Conference as she became the first Baylor player to earn first-team honors since Dawn Greathouse picked up the honor at goalkeeper in 2000.
A number of Baylor players earned academic honors in 2006 as the Bears landed eight on the Academic All-Big 12 Conference squad, including Missy McConnell, who became the 13th player in program history to be a three-time academic all-conference selection.
In his third season with the Baylor soccer program, Van Linder guided a young squad that featured one of the top defenses in the conference last season, holding opponents to 32 goals on the year.
A victory over Iowa State highlighted the season as Baylor also tied Big 12 Conference power Colorado.
Under his guidance, Baylor had a successful season in the classroom as well, as six members were selected to the Academic All-Big 12 Conference squad.
In his second season as Baylor's head coach, the team showed signs that it was continuing to improve under Van Linder's guidance and was heading back to the days where the Bears would be a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 Conference.
Despite finishing the season with a 7-9-2 record in Van Linder's second year, Baylor had several impressive wins and was a victim off falling just short on several occasions. Of Baylor's nine losses in 2004, six were by just one goal.
Wins over Texas and Nebraska highlighted the 2004 season, as Van Linder became the first coach in school history to claim back-to-back wins against the Huskers. The victory over nationally-ranked Texas in overtime gave Van Linder his second victory at Baylor over a ranked team.
Van Linder led a number of student-athletes to individual success in 2004 as Anna Schuch and Megan Sherrell were named to the Big 12 Conference All-Newcomer team. In addition, for only the third time in school history, a Baylor student-athlete picked up Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors when goalie Ashley Holder captured the award for her performances against in-state rivals Texas and Texas A&M.
In addition to the success on the field, a number of Van Linder's players excelled in the classroom as well. Seven athletes earned academic all-conference honors in 2004, including senior Kristin Ruef, who was also named to the academic all-district squad.
The 2004 season followed his first season as the Bears head coach where the team posted a 7-9-2 record under his guidance.
Although the season had numerous highlights, perhaps the biggest of Van Linder's first season with the Baylor program was the Bears 2-1 upset win over nationally-ranked Nebraska on Oct. 3, 2003, at Betty Lou Mays Field. The victory marked only the second time in school history the Bears had defeated the Huskers, and it was Baylor's first win over Nebraska since 1998.
The season-ending victory over Texas Tech provided another highlight for the Baylor program, as Van Linder reached a career milestone with the win. With the 3-0 victory, Van Linder recorded his 100th career coaching win as he improved his overall career record 100-56-13.
A number of Baylor student-athletes received recognition for their performance on and off the field in 2003. The Bears tied a school record with eight selections to the Academic All-Big 12 Conference first team. In addition, Melissa Humke and Emily Fukuchi earned CoSIDA Academic All-District VI honors, only the second time in school history at least two Bears were named to the all-district squad.
Despite finishing 7-9-2, the Bears showed the signs of a team on the rise. Baylor finished only one victory shy of qualifying for the Big 12 Tournament (all eight teams that made the conference tournament received bids to the NCAA Championships) and came close to victory against some of the nation's top teams. During the season, the Bears suffered one-goal losses to No. 23 Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, No. 19 Kansas and NCAA Tournament qualifier Missouri.
Prior to his arrival at Baylor, Van Linder coached at SMU, where he led the Lady Mustangs to four-straight conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Under Van Linder, SMU finished in the top 25 three times and compiled a four-year mark of 59-21-10 (.711) and a conference record of 24-3-2 (.862).
In 2002, SMU finished with a 13-5-5 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, as well as winning its fourth-consecutive WAC championship. The Mustangs finished the year with a No. 20 national ranking by the NSCAA.
Van Linder was named the 2000 WAC Coach of the Year after leading the Mustangs to a 13-5-1 record and their second-straight conference title.
In 1999 he led SMU to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and a No. 17 national ranking with a final record of 17-6-1. For his team's outstanding accomplishments, Van Linder was tabbed Central Region Coach of the Year by Soccer Buzz at the conclusion of the season.
Prior to his stint at SMU, Van Linder spent five seasons at Butler, the final three (1996-1998) as head coach of the women's program. He was named the 1996 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year after he led Butler to the MCC regular-season and tournament championships. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 22 in the final poll, the highest national ranking in program history.
He was an assistant with Butler's men's team from 1994 to 1995. Van Linder was head coach of the Linsley High School boys' team in Wheeling, W.V., in 1993. He also worked as an assistant coach at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., from 1988 to 1991. The squad was an annual contender in the Division II ranks.
Van Linder also has worked extensively with the Olympic Development Program. He coached the Indiana youth squad from 1994-98. He spent 1999 and 2000 working with the North Texas ODP team. Van Linder led the 2000 squad to a second-place finish at the national championships.
With his proven success as an ODP coach, Van Linder has spent the last four years working with the top high school players in the Southeast as the Region III Olympic Development Staff Coach.
Van Linder is a native of Galesburg, Mich., and a 1990 graduate of Western Michigan University where he played on the soccer team for two seasons. He and his wife, Chris, have one daughter, a girl, Mariska, three. The family resides in Hewitt.