Larry Zelenz, the head men’s soccer coach at Gustavus Adolphus College for the past 24 years and the winningest coach in the program’s history with 280 wins, has announced that he will resign his position as men’s soccer coach and assistant athletics director for intramurals and club sports at the end of the current school year.
In announcing his resignation, Zelenz stated, “My wife, Margot, has an opportunity to further her career by accepting the position of Vice President for College Advancement at the College of St. Scholastica. We have decided to open this new chapter in our lives together, so I will resign my position at Gustavus effective at the end of my current appointment in order to be able to join her in Duluth.”
Zelenz added, “As difficult as it will be, leaving Gustavus at this time culminates a relationship with the college that has had a profound impact on my life and that of my whole family. My 24-year association with this institution, and the soccer program specifically, has been an experience that I feel incredibly proud and blessed to have undertaken. Countless Gustie students and colleagues have made my time here rewarding beyond expression. I am particularly grateful to the two Athletic Directors I have had the privilege to serve under, Jim “Moose” Malmquist and Al Molde, for their efforts in running an outstanding department. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I have had as a part of the Gustavus community as well the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.”
In his 24-year tenure with the Gustavus men’s soccer program, Zelenz led the Gusties to an overall record of 280-114-44 and a winning percentage of 68.9 percent. The all-time leader in coaching victories in the history of the Gustavus men’s soccer program, Zelenz led the Gusties to seven conference titles (1993, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and eight NCAA National Tournament appearances (1993, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007). He was named the 2006 NCAA National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III National Coach of the Year for his efforts in guiding Gustavus to a 17-3-5 mark and a trip to the NCAA Championship game. Zelenz was also named the NSCAA Division III West Region Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Zelenz’s teams have finished in the top five of the conference all 24 years he was the head coach, and his squads did not ever compile a losing record in conference play. He coached 36 players who earned a total of 62 all-conference honors, including four MIAC Players of the Year. In addition, he coached one CoSIDA Academic All-American and six NSCAA All-Americans.
Gustavus Athletics Director Al Molde stated, “Larry will be sorely missed because he is so much more than a soccer coach to me and everyone on our staff. He has been a valuable member of our athletic department, whose advice I have personally valued on many occasions. He is someone I count on as a friend and colleague. He is going to be a tough person to replace because he has been such an important and integral member of our team.”
Molde, who has been in contact with the administration to pursue the hiring of Zelenz’s replacement, will move immediately to fill the head coaching position in soccer. He stated, “We anticipate a broad and well qualified field of candidates of which to choose from due mainly to the strong program that Coach Zelenz has built at Gustavus.”