Legendary Florida State soccer coach Mark Krikorian leaving Seminoles for 'next chapter'

Curt Weiler
Tallahassee Democrat

Legendary Florida State soccer coach Mark Krikorian is leaving the program.

The stunning news, which comes mere months after he led the Seminoles to their third national title, was shared by Krikorian in an email to members of the local media Tuesday afternoon.

FSU released a statement two hours later as Director of Athletics Michael Alford announced that a national search for a new head women’s soccer coach will begin immediately.

“Coach (Mark) Krikorian has done a remarkable job over his tenure here and all Florida State alumni and supporters deeply appreciate not only what he has accomplished in terms of championships, but the caliber of graduates he has produced,” said Alford. 

“We all wish him and his family well."

FSU President Richard McCullough also praised the Seminoles’ legendary head coach.

“We’re saddened that Coach Krikorian will be leaving FSU,” McCullough said.  “He is one of the most successful coaches in collegiate women’s soccer history, and we are grateful for his years of service, his dedication to our student-athletes, and the glory he brought to our university."

Attempts by the Democrat to reach Krikorian for further comment were unsuccessful.

The timing of the announcements clearly indicates it wasn't a coordinated effort between the coach and school, and that Krikorian's release caught FSU off guard. 

Krikorian also sent his email moments after FSU announced the promotion of assistant Brooke Wyckoff to head coach of the women's basketball team, replacing the retiring Sue Semrau.  FSU held its introductory news conference for Wyckoff Wednesday morning in the Dunlap Champions Club. 

More:Brooke Wyckoff announced as new Florida State women's basketball head coach

According to FSU, Krikorian's contract expired Dec. 31, 2021, and his $450,0000 salary made him the highest-paid college women's soccer coach in the country. He was on a month-by-month salary during negotiations for a new contract. 

"I’d like to thank FSU and the community for my 17 years in Tallahassee," Krikorian's e-mail began.

Remembering FSU soccer's recent title:Sweet revenge! Florida State soccer wins third national title over BYU in penalty kicks

A look at what made Krikorian successful:Column: Mark Krikorian's formula for Florida State soccer success is no secret

More on FSU's recent NCAA title:Victorious FSU soccer returns home, celebrates its third national title in eight years

"Every coach has a shelf life and it is time for me to move onto my next chapter. While the university offered me a generous contract, my decision is not based on money.

"I want to thank Dave Hart and Kim Record for bringing me to FSU and teaching me how to be a leader and a professional. Coach Bowden for showing me the importance of being a gentleman. I’d like to acknowledge Monk Bonasorte for his undying loyalty to FSU and for the constant support that he gave to FSU soccer. I would also like to thank all of the players and staff that worked so hard over the years to help create a program that has been consistently at the top of D1 women’s soccer.

"Finally, I want to wish the team, the school and my fellow coaches continued success as you move forward in a new direction."

Florida State University Head Soccer Coach Mark Krikorian speaks during a reception held for the team in Doak Campbell's Champions Club as they returned from winning the NCAA National Championship Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

Mark Krikorian won 3 national championships at FSU

Krikorian leaves FSU after a 17-year career which saw him transform the Seminoles from an average program to perhaps the best in the entire sport.

He took FSU to its first three NCAA Championships in 2014, 2018 and 2021, 11 College Cup appearances, three ACC regular-season titles and six ACC Tournament Championships.

He coached 31 players to All-American honors and 46 players to All-ACC recognition. He has over 40 alumni now playing professionally, many of whom play at some of the highest levels including NWSL and the FA Women's National League in England.

"Mark is probably the coach that shaped my soccer career the most," Dagny Brynjarsdottir, who scored 44 goals between 2011 and 2014 at FSU and now plays for West Ham United in the FA League, told the Democrat.

"He helped me to become a better player, but most importantly a better person. He knows how to make average players good and good players outstanding. I cannot thank him enough for recruiting me to Florida State. Some of my favorite years were when I played for him."

In his 17 seasons atop the program, FSU won at least 13 games each season and won 18-plus games 12 times. The Seminoles made the second round of the NCAA Tournament in all 17 of his seasons, made 16 Round of 16 appearances and 15 trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals.

“Mark Krikorian is, first and foremost, a man of great character and integrity. He is a family man. He’s also an exceptional soccer coach, those qualities allowed him to build a soccer dynasty at Florida State," former FSU associate athletic director Kim Record, who supervised FSU soccer and retired last September after 12 years as UNC-Greensboro AD, told the Democrat.

"He cares about people first. But he’s competitive and doesn’t like to lose. He’s such a good person who values relationships."

Nothing else has been shared about what may be next for Krikorian, who turned 62 earlier this month. His announcement comes on the heels of Semrau's retirement after 24 years at FSU. Her teams made 16 NCAA tournaments and reached the Elite Eight three times.

More:Florida State women's basketball coach Sue Semrau announces retirement

Krikorian finished with a 310-67-36 career record with the Seminoles.

Krikorian's announcement also stunned the college women's soccer community. 

TCU coach Eric Bell, a former assistant at FSU, tweeted Tuesday "It's a sad day for women's college soccer." 

Alford is confident FSU will find a talented, capable replacement. He met with returning players Tuesday and told the Democrat he welcomed their thoughts into "the characteristics they desire in the next coach." 

“We have the best women’s soccer program in the country, and we will identify and pursue the best coach for our program," Alford said. "We have committed resources that are second to none and will continue to invest in the student-athlete experience.”

Reach Curt Weiler at cweiler@tallahassee.com or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.

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