Head Coach Mottola quits mid-season

October 10, 2006

Olympia, WA - Paolo Mottola, head coach of the Evergreen State College women's soccer team for less than a season, resigned moments after the Geoducks 6-0 victory over visiting Warner Pacific College on Saturday, citing personal problems.

He gathered the women together right after the game and told them he was quitting, said Evergreen athletics director Dave Weber. Apparently, he walked into the office, left his keys on his desk and sent me an email letting me know about his decision. He didn't talk to me in person about anything on Saturday.

Mottola coached the Geoducks to a 6-9 record, including a 4-4 mark in the Cascade Conference, which should be enough for a berth in the league's six-team playoffs later this month. Sunday will be Senior Day as Evergreen plays its last home game of the season against NAIA Region I, but non-conference, rival Simon Fraser University. A final regular season conference game, at Northwest University, will be played on October 18 in Kirkland.

Long-time Evergreen assistant coach Luise Frank will step into the head coach's shoes for the remainder of the season. Men's head coach John Purtteman will act as a consultant to the women's program as well, attending all practices and games the rest of the way.

I resign effective immediately. I apologize but my personal life has turned into a fiasco, Mottola said in his email. The coaching director of the South Hill Revolution club team in Puyallup , Mottola also apparently signed on to coach the girl's team at Lakes High School after agreeing to replace Erik Gibson-Snyder at Evergreen.

That had to be a grind, too, said Weber, who had known about the turmoil in Mottola's personal life since August but believed he had a commitment from the coach to remain for the entirety of the 2006 season. �He had our women practicing at 6 a.m. so he could get to his high school practices in the afternoon. Needless to say we would have preferred to have his whole attention on Geoduck soccer, but sometimes part-time coaches need to diversify.

Gibson-Snyder's resignation in late May left Evergreen scrambling for a coach barely two months before the start of fall practice. Mottola, a highly-regarded member of the soccer community in Pierce County, seemed like a perfect choice to step right in and hit the ground running. The first week of the season, however, the issues that ultimately led to his resignation surfaced.

I feel very badly for players like Carly Stewart and Lisa Leadon, women who have played here four years and done a terrific job representing the team and the college, said Weber. They'll wind up playing for four coaches. Arlene McMahon recruited them, Erik was here for a couple of seasons, then Paolo, then Luise. Tough to do, but they have persevered.

Weber met with the team at a breakfast meeting on Monday morning and found them upbeat and ready to move forward positively.

Hopefully they will do well in their last couple of games and into the playoffs.

A decision on how to proceed with filling the head coaching position on a permanent basis will be made following the season.