Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – Monica Gerardo, Whittier College Head Women's Soccer Coach since 2011, has resigned to become a Vice Principal for Leadership and Operations for St. Mark's Lutheran School, located in Hacienda Heights, Calif.
Chris Moraga, current assistant coach, will now serve as the interim head coach through the national search.
"It certainly is bittersweet to announce Monica is moving on for another opportunity," Executive Director of Athletics Robert Coleman explained. "However, I wish her the very best in her future endeavors. I can't thank her enough for the tremendous effort over the past seven years in building our Women's Soccer program, culminating with a Conference Tournament Championship and participation in the NCAA Tournament. She will be sorely missed."
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that Rob Coleman afforded me seven years ago when I took over the Women's Soccer program at Whittier College," Gerardo explained. "Over time, I was able to rebuild the program in various areas helping them move in a positive direction. Rob's trust in me, as an individual, coach and leader, has allowed me to grow professionally in a variety of areas within the athletic department."
In seven seasons, Gerardo compiled a 36-84-9, 22-67-7 SCIAC record. She completes her tenure with a historic 2017 campaign where her team won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Post Season Tournament Championship, while earning a berth into the Division III National Championships for the second time in program history. The Poets this year qualified for the Post Season Tournament for the first time in program history knocking off the No. 1 (Cal Lutheran) and No. 2 (Pomona-Pitzer) seeds and finished 4th in the final SCIAC Standings, which is the highest finish under Gerardo.
Two years ago, Gerardo was promoted to an Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development position after Directing the Poet Student-Athlete Leadership Academy.
"The application of the Poet Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, has allowed me help build student-athletes for the greater challenges in life. I want to give special thanks to my team, staff and colleagues, all of who made this decision extremely difficult. But, for the last time, I hang up my coaching cleats in order to pursue an opportunity that I am also very passionate about, working as a K-8 Assistant Principal for Leadership and Operations at St. Mark's Lutheran School, in Hacienda Heights. I will forever be grateful to all of the players that I coached, as they constantly challenged me to be a better person, coach and mentor. I will continue to follow the team, as they push forward in the coming years, and wish them much success both on and off of the soccer field."
Gerardo was a four-year letter winner on the University of Notre Dame soccer team where she was part of the 1995 NCAA Division I National Champions. She finished her career as the third all-time leading point scorer in Irish history with 190 points (73g, 44a) and was a three-time All-Big East selection. In 1999 she participated in the Women's FIFA World Cup for the Mexico National Team and earned over 25 caps while playing from 1998 to 2003.
From 2001-03, Gerardo was a member of the Washington Freedom where she helped her team advance to the organization's first Founders Cup Championship in 2002. Gerardo holds a USSF 'C' License from the United States Soccer Federation and has served in roles such as Assistant to the Commissioner of the Women's Premier Soccer League, Sports Director of the International Center for Education and Sports and Director of Coaching at the American River Football Club. She also completed her Master's Degree in Coaching in Athletic Administration from Concordia University in 2014.
Chris Moraga, who has served as Gerardo's main assistant for the past five seasons currently works for the Fullerton Rangers as a staff coach and college advisor and holds a National C & National Youth License, a Premier Coaching Diploma and was a 30 Under 30 Program Selection.
Whittier College has now conducted a national search for the position.