WINTER PARK, Fla. (March 23, 2010) – After leading Rollins women’s soccer to national prominence, Tars head coach Tony Amato has resigned to take over the women’s soccer program at Stephen F. Austin University, it was announced on Tuesday.

“We cannot thank Tony enough for his love and service to Rollins and building the women’s soccer program to where it is today,” said Director of Athletics Pennie Parker. “As a student-athlete, graduate and coach at Rollins, Tony exemplified all of the values, commitment and dedication that we expect from our students and staff. He will be missed, but we wish him nothing but success at SFA and throughout his career.”

Assistant coach Alicia Milyak will lead the team through its spring season while a national search is conducted for the next head coach.

“It was a very tough decision to leave Rollins because of the love I have for the institution, the program, and the girls,” said Amato. “I am extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish the past seven seasons, and am excited to see the team go even further next year.” 

Rollins is in the midst of an era of unprecedented success, which includes a current run of back-to-back Sunshine State Conference titles and NCAA postseason appearances. In 2009, Amato led the Tars to a 16-2-2 record, which includes SSC regular season and tournament titles as well as a trip to the third round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. Amato has a career record of 82-32-11 in seven seasons and was twice named Sunshine State Conference Coach of the year.

Amato is no stranger to the SSC or Cahall-Sandspur Field.  He graduated from Rollins in 2000, where he was a four year letterman and three-time All-SSC selection.  Amato currently ranks among the Rollins career leaders in goals (sixth - 41), assists (seventh - 26) and points (fifth - 108).  During the 1999 season he led the conference in scoring and was named the SSC Player of the Year, becoming the first Rollins player to receive that honor.  Amato also was a first team All-South Region selection and the Rollins Male Athlete of the Year.  In the summer of 2007, he was inducted to the SSC Hall of Fame, becoming the third Tars soccer player to earn the honor, joining legends John Smith (’97) and Chris Schmitt (’75).

In addition to being a standout on the field, Amato was also an outstanding student and garnered second team GTE Academic All-America honors as a senior.  He was also named the Rollins Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the SSC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.  He graduated with a 3.71 GPA as an Area Studies major.

He earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Central Florida and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a health fitness instructor. 

“I want to thank the players for their dedication and hard work to put the program into the national spotlight,” added Amato.  “I am grateful for the support of our AD Pennie Parker, Keith Buckley, Alicia Milyak, and all of the staff members at Rollins.  It has been a privilege to coach at my alma mater and I will always cherish the time I spent here.”