Written by Chris Pendleton
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Southern Virginia University Acting Athletic Director Deidra Dryden today announced the appointment of Tony Caputo as head men's soccer coach.
Caputo replaces Jedd Zaring, who went 8-8 last year in his only season as head men's soccer coach at Southern Virginia University. Zaring accepted a full-time teaching position at Jefferson Forest High School in Forest, Va., where he has coached men's soccer for the past 19 seasons making him unavailable to return for a second season with the Knights.
"We're extremely fortunate that Tony has agreed to serve in this capacity," said Dryden. "He has more than a decade of coaching experience here at Southern Virginia, including four very successful seasons with men's soccer."
Caputo was initially hired as head men's soccer coach in the summer of 1998—prior to the team's second season—when he came to Southern Virginia University as director of continuing education.
After winning only one game during its inaugural season (1-11), the program improved dramatically under Caputo, climbing to six wins (6-11-1) in its second season and eleven wins (11-11) in its third.
During the program's fourth year—Caputo's third and final year as head coach—men's soccer recorded its first winning season, going 14-5 on its way to the 2000 National Small College Athletic Association National Championship. The following season, Caputo served as assistant coach to Dave Mercer while men's soccer repeated as national champions in the newly renamed United States Collegiate Athletic Association (formerly NSCAA).
Caputo stepped away from men's soccer after the 2001 season in order to lead Southern Virginia's newly created financial aid office, but remains the program's all-time winningest coach with a career record of 31-27-1.
"Tony Caputo is a fantastic recruiter," said Southern Virginia alumnus Ryan Lenahan, who played for Caputo from 1999-2000. "Without him I would have never come to Southern Virginia University. He gave his players the freedom to learn how to best play together, which created a unity within the team that remains to this day."
In addition to coaching men's soccer, Caputo will continue as head men's tennis coach, assistant men's basketball coach, and director of athletic recruiting, but he will transition out of his current position as associate dean of admissions.
"Tony will continue to concentrate on recruiting, but going forward he'll be a full-time member of our athletics team," Dryden said. "We realize that we are asking a lot of him with this request, but I have full confidence in his abilities—he's been one of the most successful coaches in Southern Virginia's history."
During the 2010-11 academic year, Caputo led men's tennis to its first winning season (12-5) and helped coach the men's basketball team that captured its first USCAA Division I National Championship.
"I'm excited about this opportunity," said Caputo. "It will be difficult to replace Jedd, but I look forward to working with the returning players, as well as adding some new pieces in the coming seasons."
Caputo says he hopes to build a well-conditioned, close-knit team that performs in the classroom and competes on the field.
Southern Virginia's current intercollegiate teams include men's baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, tennis and wrestling and women's basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.