From Staff Reports
Clayton College & State University athletic director Mason Barfield announced on Monday that six-year head coach John Rootes has resigned as the head men's soccer coach.
Rootes, one of the nation's all-time winningest coaches in NCAA Division II, has accepted a position as head coach at Savannah College of Art & Design, a NAIA school located in Savannah, GA.
"John (Rootes) is one of the top soccer coaches in the country, and his impact on our program will be felt for several years to come," said Barfield. "He led our young program to national prominence in a short period of time and will always be remembered for building and taking our soccer program to the next level."
Rootes has a 238-68-20 career record as a Division II coach and ranked as the all-time winningest coach in Division II prior to last year. He had a 69-38-9 record in six seasons at Clayton State, including four straight winning seasons. The program had only two winning years prior to his arrival.
"I would like to thank Clayton State for the support my family and I received during our six years here at the school," said Rootes. "This was a hard decision for me, especially hard for me to leave these players that I recruited and also difficult since I'm originally from the Atlanta area. But in the long run, this is the best decision for my family."
Rootes' top season at Clayton State came in 2000, as he led the Lakers to its first NCAA Division II national tournament with an 18-3-1 record. The Lakers won the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and finished the season ranked 14th in the country. In 2001, he led the Lakers to the school's first Peach Belt Conference Championship, to its second straight NCAA Tournament and a final ranking of 13th in the nation.
The Lakers opened the 2002 season with a 7-0 record, ranked fourth in the country and poised to gun for the school's first national championship before devastating injuries to the team's two leading scorers and arguably the program's all-time best scorers took their toll.
Prior to his arrival at Clayton State, Rootes coached 10 seasons at New Hampshire College, now Southern New Hampshire University. He had a 169-30-10 record and led the program to six NCAA Division II Tournament bids, four appearances in the Elite Eight and to a NCAA Division II National Championship. Rootes, who is originally from Stone Mountain, , holds a master's degree in sport science and played collegiately at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.