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May 27, 2024 9:54 am

Bugariu is new UMO head women’s soccer coach

MOUNT OLIVE – With more than 20 years of coaching experience including being a former head coach in the Conference Carolinas, Glad Bugariu was announced as the head coach of the University of Mount Olive women’s soccer team April 19.

Bugariu comes to UMO following a short stint with USL W-league club Wake Futbol Club, where he led the first-year franchise to a winning record and a third-place finish in the South Atlantic Division. The W-league is one tier below the National Women’s Soccer League, the top professional female soccer league in the United States.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity to lead the women’s soccer program at the University of Mount Olive. I want to thank Assistant Director of Athletics Kristen Gurley and Director of Athletics Joey Higginbotham for trusting me to continue the success of the program,” said Bugariu. “I am impressed with the facilities and the importance placed on the sport and look forward to working with a talented group of players who are focused on winning and performance.”

A native of Bucharest, Romania, Bugariu brings more than 20 years of coaching experience at all levels of the game and an overall career NCAA coaching record of 162-137-32 with five regular season or conference tournament championships at both the NCAA Division I and Division II levels.

“This is a great day for the Trojan family and our women’s soccer program. Glad is a highly regarded coach who has previously worked with very strong women’s soccer programs and has done an impressive job,” Gurley said. “I have no doubt that he will work tirelessly to maintain the momentum of UMO women’s soccer. His commitment to building a community and striving for success in the classroom as well as on the field aligns with the student-focused mission of UMO athletics. We look forward to the great things to come from Glad and the women’s soccer program.”

He is very familiar with the Conference Carolinas, having captured two regular season championships and two tournament championships during his three seasons at the helm of the Belmont Abbey women’s soccer program, in addition to being recognized in the top three of the 2005 NCAA “Most Improved Team” statistics and still holding the current conference record for least goals allowed in a season (one).

His most recent NCAA coaching experience was at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, a Division I team competing in the Western Athletic Conference. Having started the program from scratch in 2014, Bugariu led UTRGV to a second-place finish in the WAC in 2018 and helped the program reach the semifinals of the WAC Tournament for the fifth consecutive time while finishing with an overall record of 12-6-3 and registering a victory over the University of Miami of the ACC.

As the first women’s soccer head coach in program history, Bugariu made an immediate impact, leading the team to five winning seasons in eight years of existence, with multiple seasons containing double-digit wins.

While the spring of 2021 was different for everyone, Bugariu maintained his excellence as he brought in 16 new players, 13 of them freshmen, and still guided the program to its third double-digit win season. Bugariu led the Vaqueros to a program-best 8-2 record away from the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex on their way to a seventh straight appearance in the WAC Tournament.

Bugariu also continued to prove that his defense was one of the best in the WAC as the Vaqueros allowed just 18 goals in 2021, which was the second-fewest in the WAC, while also recording seven shutouts on the season.

In 2019, Bugariu’s defense continued to be a staple of the program allowing the WAC’s third-fewest goals while posting the second most shutouts in the WAC with nine. Behind its defense, the Vaqueros posted a 7-3-1 record at home proving the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex was an impenetrable fortress in recent years.

Bugariu guided the program to its sixth straight WAC Tournament appearance while advancing to the semifinals for the second year in a row. Bugariu helped four players to All-WAC honors as seniors Sarah Bonney, Kinga Szemik, junior Gina Steiner and sophomore Emily Zapata were selected to the All-WAC Second Team.

In 2017, UTRGV not only posted a winning record for the second year in a row, but a winning record in WAC play for the first time (4-2-1), finishing a program-best third place. UTRGV’s only loss came on the road by one goal to the eventual WAC Champions. UTRGV played defending WAC Champion Seattle University to a draw on the road. The defense was a strong spot for UTRGV, which went on a 441:32 shutout streak at the start of WAC play and finished the season with a goals-against-average of 0.95.

The 2016 season saw UTRGV lead the NCAA in shots on goal per match (9.11) while ranking eighth in shots per match (18.11), 27th in goals per match (2.05), 35th in points per match (5.84), 38th in goals against average (0.915), 42nd in total goals (39), 44th in assists per match (1.74), 46th in total points (111), 57th in total assists (33) and 68th in shutout percentage (.421).

UTRGV set program records for margin of victory and goals scored in an 11-0 win at Hampton. UTRGV also set new program records in shots (43) and shots on goal (28) while holding Hampton to one shot. Bonney burst onto the scene during this game, notching the first 12 points of her career and becoming the 30th player in NCAA history to score at least 12 points in a match. The effort helped Bonney earn the program’s first National Player of the Week award.

UTRGV also qualified for the WAC Tournament for the third year in a row.

Bugariu’s success extends beyond the playing field, as his team won the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award every single season since 2015.

Bugariu started making history the moment he was hired, as the team went 8-9-4 in 2014, tying for the ninth most wins by a first-year NCAA Division I program in the state of Texas. Bugariu and the team rode that momentum into their second season of existence, as UTRGV qualified for the WAC Tournament for the second year in a row, while also increasing the total number of conference wins by 50 percent.

Additionally, Bugariu was invited to work with the Women’s National Team of St. Vincent and the Grenadines during the spring of 2015 and was instrumental in their preparation and success in winning the Windward Islands Football Championship. He continued as a technical advisor and national staff coach for the federation in 2016, a position that assisted in further developing the program.

During Bugariu’s inaugural season, UTRGV tied for the third-best 11-match start in Texas history by going 7-1-3. The team remained undefeated through its first six matches (4-0-2), making it just the third inaugural program in Texas to accomplish that feat. The team won its first match on the road, 2-0 at Southern, its first match at home, 2-1 over Huston-Tillotson, its first WAC match, 3-1 over New Mexico State, and its first match in the then-brand-new Soccer and Track & Field Complex, 3-0 over Chicago State.

Bugariu’s team, which featured 16 true freshmen, one sophomore and one junior among those who played, racked up the honors, as Andreya Barrera earned Madness WAC Freshman of the Year and Madness All-WAC Second Team honors, freshman Aimie Inthoulay earned Madness All-WAC Second Team and a WAC Offensive Player of the Week award, freshman Hanna Spets earned a WAC Offensive Player of the Week award and freshman Aubrie Coley earned three WAC Defensive Player of the Week awards in the net.

Bugariu spent five seasons as the head coach at South Carolina State University, where he is the winningest coach in the program’s history and captured a conference title in 2010, while also named coach of the year.

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Bugariu has worked at the professional and international level in the CONCACAF region, both on the men’s and women’s sides. In 2019 he served as head coach of the Under 15 Women’s National Team of Moldova and led them to the AFC/UEFA U15 Development Tournament Championship. In 2004, he was named the assistant national team coach of Grenada, engaging in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. There, the team reached the second round of World Cup qualifying, narrowly losing to the United States, in addition to advancing from the “Group of Death” during Gold Cup qualifying. These achievements resulted in a 13-place rise in the FIFA rankings, the most significant advancement in the history of the country. From a developmental standpoint, Bugariu created the Grenada National Goalkeeper Development Program and the goalkeeper coach education curriculum.

In 2000, at only 25 years of age, he was named technical director of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a country with a population of only 108,000 people. Bugariu was responsible for the development of the game in the country, creating programs that resulted in a 120 percent rise in soccer participation, in addition to creating national teams at every level. International headlines were made with the formation of a women’s program at both senior and under 19 levels for the first time in the history of the country. Both teams had significant success, with the senior women’s national team reaching the second round of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region. Additionally, he was in charge of all national teams, concentrating on the youth programs. Using mostly players under the age of 20 for all senior national team games, Bugariu achieved the first-ever rise in the men’s FIFA Rankings for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Having coached in more than 30 international matches against nations such as the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Surinam, Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas, Monserrat and Guyana, among others, Bugariu also holds foreign and domestic coaching licenses, including the USSF “A” license, UEFA “B” license, NSCAA “Premier” Diploma, USSF “Youth” License, and the FIFA “Sports Medicine” Certificate.

In the summer of 2011, Bugariu worked with Carolina Cobras of the W-League, serving as the inaugural coach of the new professional women’s soccer franchise. Although he was able to lead them to their first-ever win, the purpose of the job was to develop the playing and coaching staff and create a competitive team for the future, paving the way for his longtime assistant, Sandy Burris, to take over after his initial stint with the team.

Bugariu also served as a head coach at Meredith College during the 2000 season and the men’s soccer assistant coach at Louisburg Junior College during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

In addition, Bugariu has established an outstanding legacy in club and the Olympic Development Program, serving as the director of coaching for the Northern Soccer Club in Santa Fe, N.M. (Jan. 2003-Aug. 2005) while also working as head coach of the ’88 NM ODP Girls team, and later as the director of goalkeeping for the New Mexico Youth Soccer Association. He has also been on the ODP staff in North and South Carolina and has worked on the state coaching education instructional staff and as an NSCAA regional staff coach.

Bugariu came to the United States at the age of 10 and has since earned his citizenship and holds a degree in Recreation and Leisure Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his master’s in sports science from the United States Sports Academy. He was an All-Region goalkeeper at Brevard College in N.C. and had a stint with the Romanian fourth-division club, Soimii Sibiu, before playing for the C.D. Chapel Hill Dragons.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics