NCAA Tournament In Second Season

Coach Mel Heinz

“TitleTown” has a new contender.

Mel Heinz didn’t realize the tradition she stepped into in January 2010 when she was named the first coach of the Valdosta State University women’s soccer program.

Hired more than a year before the team’s first season in 2011, Heinz, the former head coach at Winthrop University and assistant coach at Birmingham Southern, quickly discovered Valdosta, Ga., was the place for her.

Armed with a championship mind-set befitting a city that takes pride in its high school football and the success of VSU athletics, Heinz has positioned the Blazers to be the school’s next in line to win a championship.

“I am a competitor,” Heinz said. “I am old school. I love to work hard. I know that term is so easily said, but a lot of people don’t know what hard work is.

“My parents didn’t give me everything in the world. My parents always said if you want something in life you have to go work for it. If you want something and you work hard for it you will appreciate it more.”

This season, Heinz guided VSU to a 13-5-2 finish and its first appearance in the Division II NCAA tournament. Although the season ended with a 1-0 first-round loss to the University of North Alabama, Heinz isn’t going to let the inexperience of her players or the lack of tradition of her program hold her back.

Heinz spent seven seasons as head coach at Division I Winthrop, which is in Rock Hill, S.C. Not only did she start the program at Winthrop, but she built it into a contender in the Big South Conference. The NSCAA named her Division I Coach of the Year for first-year programs in 2003 after she led her team to a …
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