Class of 1998
Costa Mesa, Calif. â€“ Rhett Soliday has been selected as the Head Menâ€™s Basketball Coach at Vanguard University, as announced today by the Vanguard Sports Information Department. Soliday has served as an assistant coach at University of California, Irvine for the last four years and four years at Concordia University prior to the UCI assignment.
"We are very excited to have Rhett accept our menâ€™s basketball coaching position," indicated Vanguard Athletic Director Bob Wilson. "He meets all of the criteria that we established in our coaching search. Rhett has a great passion for the coaching profession, has demonstrated a competitive nature both as a student athlete and coach, and has the leadership qualities to meet the challenges of rebuilding the basketball program. He has been in the Golden State Athletic Conference and the NAIA both as a student athlete and coach, and has been associated with excellent and successful programs."
Solidayâ€™s first experience with the Golden State Athletic Conference came as a player when he transferred to Concordia from Big Bend Community College. He joined the coaching ranks immediately after a successful two-year playing career for the Eagles, where he earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete and GSAC Player of the Week, among other awards. Becoming one of the youngest head assistants in the country at the time (22 years old), Soliday helped Head Coach Ken Ammann and the staff turn the Concordia menâ€™s basketball program into a national champion. He was the lead recruiter for the Eagles as well as carrying offensive and defensive duties on the court, scouting and game strategy, academic monitoring and mentoring, and strength and conditioning duties off the court. In his four-year term at CUI, the Eagles were the 2003 NAIA Champions, 2004 NAIA Runner-ups, 2005 GSAC Tournament Champions and 2005 NAIA Tournament participants.
Soliday moved on to the NCAA Division I level to join the staff of Head Coach Pat Douglass at UC Irvine, where he served as an assistant coach for the next four years. His recruiting efforts paid off once again as the Anteaters made it to the Big West Conference Tournament Championship game in 2008, for only the second time in school history. UCI was a BWC Tournament semifinalist in 2007 and a BWC Tournament participant in 2010, while finishing fourth in the BWC in 2009. In addition to recruiting, Soliday was active in every area of practice and instruction, as well as scouting opponents and game day preparation, and monitoring and mentoring players off the court.
With eight years of assistant coaching experience, Soliday leaves UCI to assume his first role as a collegiate head coach. Although rebuilding a program as a first-year coach could be extra challenging, Soliday is looking forward to putting his years of hard work and preparation into action.
"I feel honored and blessed to be named the head coach at Vanguard," states Soliday. "All of my personal and professional development to this point has been geared toward being prepared for this opportunity. Itâ€™s not just about being a head coach, but about working at an institution like Vanguard with the quality of leadership that makes it so special."
Aside from having extensive local and national recruiting connections, a positive passion and knowledge of the game, Soliday, CUIâ€™s 2002 Champion of Character Award winner, will be a great fit for the basketball program and overall mission within Vanguard athletics and the entire institution.
"I couldnâ€™t be more excited about the challenge that lies ahead for the menâ€™s basketball program," Soliday continued. "Whatâ€™s great about the journey ahead is that not only will we get to mentor young men, but we get to do so with the support of an amazing community of believers who are fully committed to seeing each of them succeed and find significance in their lives."
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