Paula Wilkins
Paula Wilkins

Head Coach

Paula Wilkins enters her seventh season with the Wisconsin women's soccer program in the fall of 2013.

In just six seasons, Wilkins has already made giant leaps in rebuilding and sustaining the women's soccer program at UW. In 2012, Wilkins guided Wisconsin an appearance in the NCAA tournament, the team's third in the last four seasons, and eclipsed 10 wins for the fourth-straight year.

In 2011, the Badgers made their third-straight appearance in the Big Ten Tournament. Wilkins guided UW to the NCAA Tournament in 2010, the school's best finish in 15 years, after reaching the third round of the NCAA tournament in just her third season with the program.

In her second season, UW finished with a 9-9-1 record finishing the season at .500, and narrowly missed a berth into the Big Ten Tournament. In her first season Wilkins led the Badgers to a 6-11-1 record, marking a three-game improvement overall and a one-game improvement in the Big Ten from 2007 to 2008.

Following the conclusion of her first season Wilkins scored one of the top recruiting classes for 2008, ranking 21st in the nation and marking the highest ranking in UW history. In her first recruiting class, two were named to the 2008 Big Ten All-Freshman Team, Laurie Nosbusch and Erin Jacobsen.

Wilkins has compiled a remarkable 177-64-28 (.710) record in her 12 seasons as a head coach. Prior to her start at Wisconsin, Wilkins was the head coach at Penn State for six years. The Nittany Lions earned six NCAA tournament berths, which included two College Cup appearances during her tenure. In addition, Penn State won the last six Big Ten regular season championships, along with a pair of Big Ten tournament titles.

Penn State dominated Big Ten women's soccer for most of the 13 seasons of the school's sponsorship of the sport and Wilkins was part of the coaching staff the entire time. She joined the Nittany Lions as an assistant coach when the program debuted as a varsity sport in 1994 and served in that role until she was named head coach at the end of the 2000 campaign.

Wilkins coached nine All-Americans at Penn State, including four-time All-American Christie Welsh, the 2001 player of the year and winner of the prestigious M.A.C. Hermann Trophy. Wilkins also recruited and guided Tiffany Weimer, a three-time All-American, two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year and the conference's record holder in career goals.

The Nittany Lions won their ninth straight Big Ten regular-season title and fourth league tournament crown in 2006, finishing the conference slate with an 8-1-1 mark. Penn State was knocked out of the NCAA tournament quarterfinals by top-ranked Notre Dame. Wilkins was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the fifth time. The team also boasted two All-Americans in senior captain Ali Krieger, a first-team selection for the second consecutive year, and sophomore Sheree Gray, a third-team honoree.

In 2005, Wilkins guided Penn State to a 23-0-2 record before losing to Portland in the NCAA semifinals. The Nittany Lions attained a No. 1 national ranking during the campaign, finished the season ranked No. 2 and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Three players from that team earned All-America recognition, including Weimer, who was runner-up for the Hermann Trophy for the second straight year after breaking the Big Ten goal-scoring record. Weimer was one of six Nittany Lions to earn All-Big Ten honors that season. Additionally, Wilkins was named national and Big Ten coach of the year.

In 2004, the Nittany Lions claimed their seventh straight Big Ten title and made their 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. Penn State claimed three Big Ten honors that year, with Wiemer collecting offensive player of the year honors, Natalie Jacobs earning defensive player of the year laurels and Wilkins being named conference coach of the year. Weimer additionally was runner-up for the Hermann Trophy and was one of three players who were named All-Americans.

Penn State made its sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals in 2003 and won another Big Ten championship. Midfielder Joanna Lohman gathered Big Ten Player of the Year accolades and was runner-up for the Hermann Trophy. Ali Krieger was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Wilkins collected coach of the year honors.

Wilkins helped Penn State to its ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance in 2002 as the team reached the "Elite Eight" for the fifth consecutive season. Four Nittany Lions captured all-conference honors, including Weimer, who became the fourth PSU player in five years to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year laurels. Christie Welsh also became the first player in program history to earn NSCAA All-America honors all four years.

In her first season as head coach, Wilkins led the Nittany Lions to a No. 2 ranking to close the season. The team also was second in the nation in scoring with 3.19 goals per game, a mark that broke Big Ten records for goals (83), assists (67) and points (233) in a season. Welsh became the first player in school history to garner the Hermann Trophy. Welsh additionally was the first player named the NSCAA player of the year and the first to win Big Ten Player of the Year honors for three straight seasons.

Wilkins' Penn State teams also had tremendous success in the classroom. During her tenure, 41 of her student-athletes garnered Academic All-Big Ten accolades. In addition, six Nittany Lions were named NSCAA Scholar All-Americans and former Penn State standout Joanna Lohman was a two-time NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year and an NCAA postgraduate scholarship winner in 2003.

A defender at the University of Massachusetts from 1991-94, Wilkins captained the 1993 squad that went 17-3-3 and reached the NCAA College Cup semifinals. When she led Penn State to the 2002 College Cup, she became the first person in NCAA history to both play and coach in the event. During her collegiate career, Wilkins scored seven goals and collected 18 assists and was named NSCAA first-team All-American and to the Soccer News All-America first team in 1993.

Wilkins earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from UMass in 1994 and was a CoSIDA Academic All-American. She later received her master's degree in physiology from Penn State.

Wilkins, a native of Middletown, Pa., was an NSCAA youth All-American at Middletown Area High School. She also played on a national Olympic Development Program team.

Wilkins' Year-by-Year Head Coaching Record

Year W L T NCAA Tournament (Institution)
2012 12 8 1 First Round (UW)
2011 10 7 3 N/A (UW)
2010 11 4 5 Second Round (UW)
2009 10 6 6 Third Round (UW)
2008 9 9 1 N/A (UW)
2007 6 11 1 N/A (UW)
2006 18 5 3 Quarterfinals (PSU)
2005 23 0 2 College Cup Semifinal (PSU)
2004 19 3 1 Second Round (PSU)
2003 19 3 3 Quarterfinals (PSU)
2002 19 4 1 College Cup Semifinal (PSU)
2001 21 4 1 Quarterfinals (PSU)
Totals 177 64 28 9 Apperances

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