Montana Grizzlies soccer coach Mark Plakorus resigns

Posted at 5:01 PM, Jan 30, 2018


MISSOULA – The University of Montana announced on Tuesday that Mark Plakorus has resigned from his position as head soccer coach. Plakorus led the Grizzlies from 2011-17.

“Ever since I was stationed in the Air Force, I knew that I wanted to become the head soccer coach at the University of Montana,” Plakorus said. “Being a Grizzly is a unique privilege, and it has been an honor to lead the soccer program over the past seven years.

“I love this place, which makes this incredibly hard, but sometimes you have to sacrifice what you love in order to do what you’re destined to be. It’s time to step down to open up new opportunities that will allow me to grow as both a coach and person.”

Plakorus’ teams went 65-56-24 during his seven seasons, advancing to the Big Sky Championship on six occasions. The Grizzlies won three Big Sky titles under Plakorus’ leadership, including an unbeaten stretch through league play in 2014. In both 2016 and 2017, Montana earned regional rankings by the United Soccer Coaches.

During his first season, he secured Montana’s first NCAA tournament berth in 11 seasons after turning around a program that went just 3-12-3 the previous season.

“We definitely appreciate Mark and his contributions to our soccer program, and the success they’ve enjoyed both on and off the field,” director of athletics Kent Haslam said. “We wish Mark well in his future endeavors.”

Since 2011, Montana has garnered 26 first- or second-team All-Big Sky Conference accolades, in addition to six MVP awards. Plakorus was named the league’s coach of the year in 2014.

Off the field, Montana has been one of the best in the country, qualifying for the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award every year under Plakorus, in addition to 121 Academic All-Big Sky Conference selections – the most in the league during that span. The team’s GPA rose from 3.23 during his first season to 3.53 in 2016-17.

“These young ladies have excelled in everything they do, and that’s a credit to the people they are. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and what they’ll continue to do at the University of Montana and in all aspects of life.”

Assistant coach Katie Benz will oversee the soccer program during the spring. A national search for a new head coach will begin as soon as possible.