ENMU names women’s soccer coach

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Albuquerque native Todd Padgett has been chosen as the third coach in the nine-year history of the Eastern New Mexico University women’s soccer program.

Padgett succeeds Ray Nause, who resigned at the end of the 2010 season after three years at the helm.

“It’s a great opportunity for a young coach,” said Padgett, 31, a graduate of Sandia High School who spent the past three seasons as the women’s assistant at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.

Padgett helped Fort Lewis reach the NCAA Division II tournament each of the past two seasons. The Skyhawks went 49-13-2 during his three years there, including overtime wins over ENMU in 2008 (1-0) and 2009 (2-1).

“Eastern has the ability to compete in the Lone Star (Conference),” he said. “My goal is to compete for a conference championship next year and hopefully be in the NCAA tournament.

“Those are lofty expectations, but seeing the team play the last couple of years, they have the ability to do that.”

ENMU went 5-13 in 2009, including 2-9 in the LSC. The Zias have never won an LSC championship and have reached the conference’s postseason tournament once, in 2006.

Padgett also was a men’s assistant at Fort Lewis during the 2008 season. In 2003 and 2004, Padgett served as a boys assistant coach at Sandia.

Padgett said he expects everyone with eligibility remaining to be back in 2011. He added that he’s already received commitments from four high school prospects, and hopes to add two to four more.

“Todd has a tremendous record and is a proven coach in his capacity at Fort Lewis College,” ENMU athletic director Jeff Geiser said. “Fort Lewis has become one of the premier programs in the country in both men’s and women’s soccer.

“His New Mexico network for recruiting is superlative. He is a New Mexican, as is his family, which includes (several) alumni of Eastern New Mexico University.”