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Annapolis resident Ray Leone will not return as Maryland women’s soccer coach

Ray Leone, an Annapolis resident and Severna Park High graduate, will not return as Maryland women's soccer coach. Leone, a member of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame, did not have his contract renewed following six seasons on the sidelines.
Ray Leone, an Annapolis resident and Severna Park High graduate, will not return as Maryland women's soccer coach. Leone, a member of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame, did not have his contract renewed following six seasons on the sidelines. (courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

Annapolis resident Ray Leone will not be retained as Maryland women’s soccer coach, the university’s athletic department announced Tuesday morning.

Leone, who’s from Arnold and starred at Severna Park High, will not have his contract renewed after six seasons on the sideline.

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Leone, who was inducted into the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame in 2018, was hired by Maryland in 2016 and guided the Terps to a 27-60-18 record. Leone led the program to its best season since joining the Big Ten Conference as Maryland finished sixth in the standings and qualified for the postseason tournament for the first time.

Maryland completed the 2016 campaign with 9-8-3 overall record, the program’s first winning season since 2012. The Terps also collected the President’s Cup in 2018 for having the highest grade point average among all Maryland women’s athletic programs.

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Overall, Leone has served as a head coach at six institutions — Berry College, Creighton, Clemson, Arizona State, Harvard and Maryland — and compiled a 309-212-63 career record in 31 years. His teams have captured six conference titles and he has been named coach of the year twice.

Leone led Arizona State, Clemson, Harvard to the NCAA tournament and posted 24 winning seasons. He ranks in the top 25 among active Division I coaches in career wins.

“I’m proud to have coached at the University of Maryland and will always be grateful for having the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to coach at my dream school since I was a kid,” Leone said. “Our team culture is stronger than ever. This team is filled with great young people. They give back to the community and are wonderful ambassadors for future young Terps.”

Leone was the captain and leader of the first Severna Park team to reach the state finals. The 1980 graduate scored 19 goals as a senior and sparked a magical run through the state playoffs that culminated with an epic game against Walt Whitman.

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Leone scored three goals in regulation and also converted a penalty kick, but Severna Park lost to Whitman, 4-3, in the Class AA state championship game before more than 3,000 fans at High Point High School.

Leone went on to become an All-Big South Conference performer during a standout collegiate career at Charlotte. His coaching career began in 1986 at Berry College, which was just starting a varsity women’s soccer program at the time.

Maryland women's soccer coach Ray Leone, who starred at Severna Park, won't return as coach for the Terps.
Maryland women's soccer coach Ray Leone, who starred at Severna Park, won't return as coach for the Terps. (courtesy photo / HANDOUT)

“I can honestly say I have given everything I can to bring sustained excellence but I have failed to do that. I believe it is time for a new voice to lead this program. There is greatness within this team and I know they will show that in the years to come,” Leone added.

Assistant Kerry Dziczkaniec will serve as interim head coach while the search for the next head coach is conducted. Maryland concluded its 2021 fall season on Sunday with a record of 4-9-5 overall and 0-7-3 in the Big Ten.

“We will identify the strongest candidates and hire a dynamic leader who will build our program to be nationally competitive,” Maryland senior associate athletic director Shawn Flynn said.

Flynn, who serves as the sport supervisor for women’s soccer, will be leading the search committee.

“I’m confident we will find an outstanding coach and educator who will help our student-athletes excel both on and off the field. I want to thank Ray for his efforts and dedication to Maryland for the past six years.”

The Terps have appeared in 13 NCAA Trnaments and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 three times, most recently in 2012. The new coach will be the 10th in the history of the program, which started in 1987.

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