Chris Gnehm Assumes the Helm of PBA Women's Soccer
June 12, 2014
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Palm Beach Atlantic University Director of Athletics Carolyn Stone announced on Thursday afternoon the hiring of Chris Gnehm as the new head women’s soccer coach. Gnehm has most recently served as the lead assistant coach at Coastal Carolina University and returns to South Florida where he spent nearly a decade on staff at Florida Atlantic University.
A seasoned and gifted coach who has found success at nearly every level of soccer ranging from youth and club programs up through the NCAA Division I ranks, Coach Gnehm separated himself from a deep pool of qualified candidates with his passion and vision for the program.
“Palm Beach Atlantic is excited to welcome Coach Chris Gnehm to the Sailfish family as the next leader of our women’s soccer program,” said Stone. “His track record of success in recruiting well-rounded student-athletes and continuing their development through soccer into impactful college graduates is what stood him apart from our other candidates.”
With local family ties to the area of South Florida the transition to PBA and his new role as leader of the Sailfish made perfect sense to Gnehm and his wife, Tiffany.
“I want to thank President Fleming and Carolyn Stone for believing in my vision for the program and affording me this opportunity,” said Ghehm. “From the moment I stepped on campus, met with the committee members and learned the vision of Palm Beach Atlantic University I knew this would be a perfect fit for me and my family.”
“This is an exciting time for the entire University as we open the Rinker Athletic Campus and move toward membership in the Sunshine State Conference,” continued Gnehm. “Our facilities, location, and Christ-centered academic reputation will allow us to attract the game-changers we are looking for on and off the field.”
With only a few shorts months until the official kickoff of the 2014 season Coach Gnehm will now look to implement his plan for success in achieving short term and long term goals.
“I am excited to connect with my players and build the foundation of what our program will look like, “said Gnehm. “We will be committed to the process of getting better everyday, playing to our identity, and competing in everything we do. I know we will all be excited, and ready for the challenges that the Sunshine State Conference will bring our way.”
Coach Gnehm has spent the past two seasons as a part of Paul Hogan’s staff at Coastal Carolina where he has been an integral part of rebuilding the Chanticleers program.
In his first season on staff he helped guide CCU to eight more victories than the previous season while competing as a member of the Big South Conference. This past season CCU once again reached double-digit wins while qualifying for the conference tournament for a second straight season and posting a school-record of 10 shutouts along the way. Coach Gnehm’s time in Myrtle Beach, S.C. also saw him help oversee 10 player selections to the Big South All-Conference teams in just two seasons.
Prior to his time on staff with CCU Gnehm coached for one season at the University of Colorado while serving as a member of the FAU women’s soccer coaching staff from 2001-11.
Gnehm, who has a background in goalkeeping, played a key role in directing an excellent FAU defense. In 2006, the Owls led all NCAA Division I teams in shutout percentage (.762), holding opponents scoreless in 16 of 21 matches. A year later, FAU's second year in the Sun Belt Conference, the team posted nine shutouts and allowed just 15 goals.
His collegiate coaching career started at his alma mater, Averett (Va.) University, where he was an assistant coach from 1996-98. He then became the assistant coach for the men's soccer program at Monmouth (N.J.) University from 1998-99 before heading to Ferrum (Va.) College to be the head men's soccer coach as well as a women's tennis coach from 1999-2001.
Gnehm earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1997 from Averett, where he was a four-year starter at goalkeeper and team captain from 1993-96. He still holds Averett's school record for most saves in a single season and career.
Gnehm is originally from Bayville, N.J., graduating from Central Regional High School where he earned first team All-State soccer honors as a senior in 1992.
The Sailfish are set to return 16 letter-winners and nine starters from last season’s team that finished 8-7-3 under previous head coach James Kryger. They will open the 2014 season on Sept. 5th versus Nova Southeastern University at the Flagler College Tournament in St. Augustine, Fla.