SAINT LEO, Fla. – Mario Rincon has been an assistant coach with women's soccer programs that battle in some of the toughest Division I conferences in the nation: the SEC, the ACC, and the Big 12.
Now this veteran coach with Florida roots and a Sunshine State Conference pedigree will lead Saint Leo University women's soccer as its new head coach, competing in the toughest Division II conference in America.
Rincon was named the Lions' new head women's soccer coach on Wednesday by Director of Athletics Francis X. Reidy, tasked with building on Saint Leo's history of seven NCAA tournament appearances in pursuit of a national championship.
"We are excited to welcome Mario Rincon to our staff. His winning experience at various institutions around the country were a deciding factor as we look to continue our success in women's soccer," said Reidy. "His previous success at a Sunshine State Conference member Lynn, appreciation of our core values and athletic ideal all factored into our decision to select him as the next leader of our women's soccer program."
Follow the arc of Rincon's coaching career, and a few things become evident.
He's a hard worker, well known and respected throughout the ranks of collegiate women's soccer. He's an outstanding recruiter, responsible for bringing in highly-ranked freshman classes at several different programs.
And he's been with programs that have become winners – in no small part due to Rincon's contributions, and his emphasis on helping to create a championship culture at every coaching stop.
Rincon comes to Saint Leo from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., where he spent the past five seasons on the Razorbacks' touchline with head coach Colby Hale. He was a part of three NCAA tournament teams at Arkansas, including this past season when the Razorbacks set a program record 18 wins and were ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation.
"I want to thank Fran Reidy for his assistance through a great process, and the opportunity to coach the program at Saint Leo University," said Rincon. "I also want to thank the University of Arkansas – Jeff Long, Jon Fagg, and Colby Hale in particular – for the experiences and opportunities they provided me. I'm excited to be returning to Florida, and coaching an outstanding program at Saint Leo."
"This program has done some great things in recent years, but I think bigger and better things are ahead. I'm looking forward to being on campus, meeting the athletes, and getting starting right away," said Rincon.
Prior to his arrival at Arkansas, Rincon was an assistant coach at fabled West Point – the United States Military Academy – where he helped guide Army women's soccer Patriot League titles in 2010 and 2011, including an NCAA tournament berth in 2011.
At Florida Gulf Coast University from 2007 to 2009, Rincon helped start the Eagles' Division I women's soccer program with long-time head coach Jim Blankenship. FGCU posted a 32-16-6 record over Rincon's three seasons with the start-up program, whose roster included the 2007 Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year in Lindsay Haw.
Rincon was on the touchline at Wright State University for the 2005 and 2006 campaigns, with the Raiders posting a combined 23-8-5 record over those two seasons. He joined Wright State after three seasons at Baylor University, where he brought in a nationally-ranked recruiting class in 2004. As the Bears' goalkeeper coach, he helped Baylor keeper Ashley Holder earn an invitation to the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team training camp.
Rincon helped reel in a top 10 recruiting class during his one season on the women' soccer staff at Duke University (2001), helping develop for the Blue Devils an All-ACC keeper who was a member of the Icelandic National Team at the pre-World Cup qualifier. He spent the 2000 season at the University of Miami, and he was the interim head coach during the Hurricanes' spring 2001 slate of training sessions and games.
Rincon earned the opportunity to coach at the professional level with Major League Soccer's NY/NJ MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) during the 1999-2000 season, serving as a team administrator, scout, and coach. He got his start in coaching at Lynn University from 1996 to 1998, during which the Knights posted a combined 58-4-0 record. Rincon was on the touchline as Lynn won the 1998 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer National Championship, the program's first NCAA title after winning three titles at the NAIA level.
A 1999 graduate of Lynn University with a Bachelor's degree in business administration, Rincon played collegiately at Central Florida from 1990 to 1993. He holds a United States Soccer Federation National "A" License, as well as an NSCAA Advanced National License.
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