Sunday, August 1, 2021

Women's soccer head coach Tom Saxton announces retirement after 30 seasons

April 15, 2021
<p>Head coach Tom Saxton prepares his team for the overtime period Sept. 5, 2013, at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans tied the Grizzlies, 1-1, after playing two scoreless overtime periods. Khoa Nguyen/ The State News</p>

Head coach Tom Saxton prepares his team for the overtime period Sept. 5, 2013, at DeMartin Stadium. The Spartans tied the Grizzlies, 1-1, after playing two scoreless overtime periods. Khoa Nguyen/ The State News

Photo by Khoa Nguyen | The State News

Just after completing 30 years in the position, Michigan State women's soccer head coach Tom Saxton announced Thursday he would be retiring, per a release from MSU Athletics.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve Michigan State University, my alma mater, for the past 35 years," Saxton said in his announcement. "I have always felt that the people in the Spartan Family are what makes this place so special and I have had the opportunity to work with so many special people throughout my career. I want to first thank my wife, Suzie, and my three sons, Noel, Nick and Kellen. It is not easy to have a college coach for a husband and a dad, and I appreciate all their love and support through the years."

Current associate head coach Tammy Farnum, who has been a coach with the team for over 20 years and also played at MSU from 1989 to 1992, will take over as the interim head coach.

Saxton played soccer for Michigan State from 1980 to 1982 and then took over as head coach of the women's team in 1991 where he holds a career record of 274-252-56. The two-time Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year earned his 150th career victory in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, which was also Michigan State's first NCAA Tournament win.

Under his guidance, a handful of outstanding soccer players have gone through the program such as MSU's first Conference Player of the Year, Karen Winslow in 1994, and the 2008 Offensive Player of the Year, Laura Heyboer.

The 2021 season was a disappointing one with MSU finishing with a 1-10-1 record. Saxton's last game was April 8, a 1-0 double overtime loss to Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament.

"Tom Saxton's name is synonymous with Spartan women's soccer as he has been a part of the program since its first season in 1986, including serving as head coach for the last 30 seasons," Michigan State Vice President and Athletic Director Bill Beekman said. "He's impacted the lives of so many women in a positive manner during that time, helping them excel athletically and academically, while preparing them for a successful life once they leave Michigan State. Spartan soccer truly is a family environment, and Tom's stability and continuity have played a large role in creating that culture. What he's accomplished as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach have left an indelible mark in the history of Spartan soccer. It will certainly feel different next year without him on the sidelines, but we all wish Tom, his wife Sue, and the entire Saxton family happiness as he enters retirement."

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