Having coached the Westminster College men’s and women’s soccer teams concurrently since 2002 and the men’s team since 1998, Girish Thakar has won a combined 283 wins and eight conference championships, while making 12 postseason appearances.
Since Thakar took over both teams ten years ago, Westminster has qualified for the NCAA Championships eight times, including three for the men (2002, 2004, 2008) and five for the women (2002-05, 2007). In addition, the eight Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) titles the Titans have collected includes three for the men (2002, 2006, 2008) and five for the women (2002-04, 2006-07). Thakar was named PAC Coach of the Year four times, three for women’s soccer (2002, 2005, 2006) and one for men’s (2008).
Both teams won the PAC title in the same year in 2002 and 2006, with the latter considered Thakar’s finest year of coaching as both teams won the league crowns as underdogs and qualified for the postseason in the ECAC Division III South Championships.
Thakar enters his 15th season with the men and 11th with the women in 2012 for a combined record of 283-184-34 (.599).
Thakar’s 14-year record as Westminster’s men’s coach is 146-118-16 (.550), including a team-record 17-6 mark in 2008 after the Titans won the PAC title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Thakar took the reins of the Westminster women’s program on an interim basis in 2002, then was named permanent head coach prior to the 2003 season. During the past 10 seasons, the Titan women are a combined 137-66-18 (.661) with five PAC championships and four-straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2002-05.
Prior to coaching at Westminster, Thakar was the head men’s coach at his alma mater, Slippery Rock University, from 1993-96, after graduating from SRU in 1991 and later earning a master’s degree from the school. As a player at Slippery Rock, Thakar was a four-year starter who earned all-PSAC honors.
Thakar's Records as a Men's Soccer Coach:
|As Westminster's Men's Head Coach||Record|
|2008||17-6||PAC Champions / NCAA Division III Tournament|
|2007||11-7-3||ECAC Division III South Tournament|
|2006||12-7-2||PAC Champions / ECAC Divsion III South Tournament|
|2004||16-5||NCAA Division III Tournament|
|2002||16-4-2||PAC Champion / NCAA Division III Tournament|
|Record at Westminster (14 years)||146-118-16 (.553)|
|Career Record (18 years)||156-163-17 (.489)|
Stephen Engels enters his third year at Westminster as the men’s soccer assistant coach in 2012.
Engels, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, came to Westminster after graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., in the spring of 2010 where he earned a degree as a dual major in media production and film studies.
He is pursuing a master's degree in education at Westminster while coaching the men's team.
He holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) "D" Coaching License and is in the process of attaining additional USSF and National Soccer Coaches Assocation of America (NSCAA) certification.
He and his wife, Rachel, currently reside in New Wilmington.