Coach Anderson named 2016 NWAC Coach of the Year
PORT ANGELES – For the second time in his seven-year career as head women’s soccer coach, Peninsula College’s Kanyon Anderson was named Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Wednesday.
Anderson, who’s 2016 Pirates won the NWAC championship for the third time, also won that award in 2011. He will be presented with the award at the NWAC’s annual awards banquet in June.
The coach who was hired when Peninsula started a women’s soccer program in 2010, has won Region Coach of the Year awards in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016, as well as 2014 when he won the men’s soccer region coach of the year honor.
He credits his team for this year’s NWAC-wide recognition.
“First of all, it’s not too hard to win with this much talent,” he said. “We were loaded this year and literally had all-star caliber players coming off the bench at nearly every position. On top of the talent, this year’s team was so quick to pick up concepts that I found myself having to work hard just to stay ahead of them.”
And while Anderson downplays his success as a coach, it’s his hard work as a coach, and as a recruiter, that has led to his success.
“Kanyon is the premier women’s soccer coach in the NWAC and I’d put his credentials up against any junior college soccer coach in the country,” said Rick Ross, Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Life. “Because we play in the NWAC, he doesn’t get to compete for a national title, but the success he’s had over the last six years is unprecedented and ranks right up there with the best programs in the country. He’s very deserving of this honor.”
His 2016 Pirates finished with 19 wins, one loss and one tie. That record is the second best in the nation behind 25-0-1 Paradise Valley, the National Junior College Athletic Association national champions. Ironically, the Paradise Valley women’s only tie came to the NWAC’s third-place finisher Spokane in non-conference play.
Peninsula also ran off a streak of 18 straight wins in which they allowed only two goals. They finished the season scoring 93 goals and allowing six in 21 matches. It was also a team effort, as 21 of the 25 players who aren’t goal keepers scored goals.
“That is just mind blowing that a soccer team can play that well defensively,” Ross said. “This is a pretty special group, on and off the field, and all the credit goes to Kanyon and his staff for recruiting such outstanding young women.”
The Pirates placed a league-high nine players on the NWAC All-Academic Team.
Coach Anderson, along with former assistant Jake Hughes, and new assistant Dana De Vaughn recruited the sophomores and freshmen who made up the 2016 NWAC championship team.
While Anderson misses Hughes, who moved over to assist the men’s team this year, he welcomed new assistant De Vaughn, who left a coaching job at San Bernardino Valley College in California to assist the Pirates.
“A huge benefit was that I had great help from Dana,” Anderson said. “It is the first time since 2010 that I have had an assistant who is on campus, and is only focused on the women’s team. This allowed Dana and me to spend more time designing and discussing training sessions. Then we had the ability to divide tasks, split the team and work on specific areas of interest. Dana did a great job working with the strikers, goalkeepers and with keeping the players in a good head space all season.”
Anderson also praised the work of men’s coaches Cale Rodriguez and Hughes. Rodriguez, who’s Pirates fell in a quarterfinal playoff shootout, was named North Region Coach of the Year.
“I thought Cale and Jake did a great job with the men’s team and got them to play a fantastic style of soccer this year,” Anderson said. “I watched closely what they were doing, as did our women’s team, and we tried to find ways to adapt much of what they did to our game. If we saw something we liked, we would discuss it and adapt it.”
Finally, Anderson credited his wife, and former assistant Amanda Anderson, for her contribution to the programs’ success.
“Lastly, my wife was incredible this year,” he said. “Amanda would give me little pep talks throughout the season when she saw my energy getting low or when she thought I might overlook something. She kept me motivated and supported me when coaching cut into family time. She kept encouraging me to not feel guilty about the incredible amount of time we all spent this year. She kept telling me, “this is a special team. Do what you need to do.”