|Title:||Head Coach (2013-)|
Cory Hand, the director of the Girls Youth Development Westside Timbers program and a staff member of the Portland Timbers Olympic Development Program, has been named the new head women's soccer coach at George Fox University, becoming only the third coach in the 22-year history of the sport at the school.
Hand replaces Andy Hetherington, who announced his resignation this past November after 11 seasons and a 66-130-18 record from 2002-2012. Hetherington left to concentrate on his work as executive director of the Northside Community Health Clinic, which provides free dental and medical health care for the uninsured of north Portland. Byron Shenk, still an assistant athletic trainer at George Fox, initiated and coached the program during its first 11 years from 1991-2001, going 96-87-11.
After graduating from Wilsonville (Ore.) High School, Hand went to Whitworth University in 2001 before injuries ended his own soccer-playing days. He attended Portland Community College from 2002-05, and began his coaching career during that time by serving as the goalkeepers' coach at Wilsonville High. He also worked as a staff coach for Portland City United from 2001-06 before becoming a staff coach for the Westside Timbers Soccer Club, which he continues to do. Players from his club teams have gone on to compete at every level of college soccer.
Hand worked at Horizon Christian School in Tualatin, Ore., from 2006-11, where he served as a middle school teacher for two years, a high school teacher for four, and started and coached the girls' soccer program. In six years, he created and developed Horizon Christian's team into one of the best in the state at the 1A/2A/3A level while being competing with teams at the larger 4A, 5A, and even 6A levels. From 2009-11, the team made the state playoffs each year, and advanced to the quarterfinals in both 2010 and 2011. Many of his players went on to be recognized as First Team All-Conference and Conference Players of the Year.
This past year, Hand began his duties with the Portland Timbers' Olympic Development Regional Training Center. As both a licensed coach and personal trainer, he was a volunteer coach at the U.S. National Training Center in 2011, and has served as a personal trainer at Trinity Sports Soccer Camps from 2006-present.
Hand has conducted outreach soccer camps with Hispanic youth from 2005-present, worked with youth in Nicaragua in 2011, and for the past three-and-a-half years has trained both coaches and players in the African nation of Rwanda as a part of Play for Hope, a non-profit aimed at bringing professional-level coaching and hope to vulnerable children through soccer. The program's outreach academy grew from 200 youth to over 800 in a year-and-a-half, with Hand serving on the academy's board of directors.
Hand was a volunteer leader for Young Life in Wilsonville from 2001-04, and was the student staff/area director of Young Life in Wilsonville from 2004-06. He earned his bachelor of science degree in Leadership in Ministry from Multnomah Bible College in 2012. He and his wife, the former Samara Thornburg, who played women's soccer at George Fox from 1999-2000, attend Grace Chapel in Wilsonville and have a one-year-old son, Ezra.
"I first heard about the opening from the father of one of George Fox's current players, Hannah Smith, who I coached on my U-18 and U-19 state semi-final and state champion teams," said Hand. "Then I contacted Dale Isaak, the Bruins' athletic trainer whom I knew from my Young Life days in Wilsonville, and he encouraged me to apply.
"Coaching, for me, is more than just a game; it is a conduit to help young athletes understand and explore their God-given talents and abilities, to learn how to express those skills in life, and to disciple young people into spiritual maturity. George Fox, as a Christian institution, has the same values I have, with a desire to minister to students not just in their athletic pursuits but in every aspect of life, and I am excited about this new opportunity to pursue my passion for both soccer and discipleship at the college level."
"We are definitely excited about Cory joining our staff and about the next chapter in Bruin women's soccer with him on board," said George Fox director of athletics Craig Taylor in announcing the hiring of Hand. "His soccer credentials are impeccable, and he is a great fit with the values and mission of this institution. He is a high-energy person with an infectious enthusiasm for the game, and we are looking forward to what he can build with our program."