San Jose, Calif. - Jeff Leightman has been named the head coach of the San Jose State University women’s soccer program, it was announced by San Jose State Deputy Director of Athletics Kellie Elliott.
Leightman comes from his alma mater, Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., where he compiled an overall record of 102-66-1 as the women’s soccer head coach over the past 10 seasons. He led the Bearcats to the 2004 America East Conference regular-season and tournament championships and an NCAA Championship berth with a 14-6-1 record after the team was picked to finish eighth, earning America East Coach of the Year honors.
“I would like to thank (San Jose State Director of Athletics) Mr. (Tom) Bowen, (Deputy Director of Athletics) Ms. (Kellie) Elliott, (Associate Athletics Director) Ms. (Etienne) Thomas and San Jose State University for this wonderful opportunity to become the new leader of the Spartan women’s soccer program,” said Leightman.
“I would also like to thank (Binghamton University Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics) Dr. (Joel) Thirer, (Senior Associate Athletics Director) Jim Norris and Binghamton University for 10 great years as the head coach at Binghamton and all the successes we had there together. I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Bearcats.
“I am incredibly excited to begin a new chapter of San Jose State Women’s Soccer. This new chapter will be about excellence and achieving great success both on the field and in the classroom.”
In all, Leightman has worked at the collegiate level for the past 15 years, having coached a nationally-ranked NCAA Division III program, a regionally-ranked Division I Big East Conference program at Villanova University and a Division I national champion at the University of North Carolina prior to coaching a Division II powerhouse and Division I America East champion and NCAA Championship participant at Binghamton.
At Binghamton, Leightman seamlessly transitioned the program from a mediocre Division III team into a regionally-ranked Division I force. The 2004 America East title and NCAA Championship berth came in just the Bearcats’ fourth season at the Division I level.
In 1998, Leightman’s first year in charge at Binghamton and the program’s first year in Division II following a move up from Division III, the Bearcats were ranked nationally and finished with a 14-3-1 record and an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) crown. Over seven years at Division I, Leightman directed his squad to top-10 rankings in the Northeast Region by both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer Buzz Magazine. In 2001, Soccer Buzz ranked Binghamton as the top first-year Division I program in the nation.
In addition to the 2004 title, Leightman led Binghamton to the America East semifinals in 2007 and 2005, and the quarterfinals in 2006. The Bearcats were ECAC runners-up in 1999 and semifinalists in 2003 and 2001. Leightman has served as the America East Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Chair from 2005-07, the National Chairman for the NSCAA/adidas rankings and the East Region Chairman for the NSCAA Scholar-Athlete All-America Committee.
Leightman has also been involved with the Olympic Development Program since 2002 as a United States Youth Soccer Region I staff coach at the U-13 and U-14 levels, and was the Director of Coaching for the BC United Fusion, a premier girl’s youth soccer program, since 2004. He was previously the girl’s soccer head coach of the New York State West ODP U-16 and U-17 teams in 1999-2000.
As an assistant coach at Villanova during the 1997 season, Leightman helped guide the Wildcats to an 8-8-2 record, the Big East Tournament semifinals and an ECAC tournament appearance. At North Carolina in 1996, he assisted in a national championship as the Tar Heels finished with a 25-1 record and the Atlantic Coast Conference title.
Leightman’s coaching career began at Binghamton as an assistant coach from 1993-96. The Bearcats went 39-13-8 overall during that span of three seasons, earning a SUNYAC crown and a berth in the NCAA Division III Championship in 1995.
Leightman earned a bachelor of arts degree in biological sciences from Binghamton in 1995. He holds an NSCAA Premier Diploma.
“I am very excited about welcoming Jeff Leightman to Spartan Athletics,” said Elliott. “His technical knowledge, organizational skills and genuine enthusiasm will be a very positive influence on our women’s soccer program. Throughout his professional experience, he has been part of top programs that he has parlayed into an impressive career winning record. I believe that in the near future, he can bring a new level of success to Spartan Athletics and enhance our student-athlete experience as well.”
“We are excited to have someone of Jeff’s caliber and qualifications join the Spartan family and assume the leadership role in our women’s soccer program,” said San Jose State Associate Athletics Director and soccer sport supervisor Etienne Thomas. “Jeff has been a successful Division I women’s soccer coach and brings a tremendous amount of expertise both on and off the playing field, that we believe will greatly benefit the current and future members of this team and the women’s soccer program. The team has been preparing for Jeff’s arrival with rigorous workouts and are ready to get to work preparing for the fall season.”