Jennifer Rockwood further cemented her legacy in women’s college soccer earlier this season by reaching her 300th coaching win in a 1–0 victory over Pepperdine on Oct. 17. But her players will swear up and down that her win total is only a small part of her success story.
“I feel so blessed and fortunate to have been here at BYU so long. This is my dream job and has been a great opportunity to work with wonderful young women,” Rockwood said.
Rockwood is the seventh BYU head coach over all sports to win 300 games and is the fifth Division-I coach to do so all at the same institution.
To list all of Rockwood’s accomplishments throughout her career, beyond 300 wins, would fill a book worthy of a semester’s study. She has coached 38 All-American award recipients, won regional and conference coach of the year honors, won several conference championships and led the Cougars to national rankings in five of the last eight years.
Rockwood is the No. 5 winningest active coach in the nation by percentage, No. 7 winningest coach all-time by percentage and No. 24 winningest coach of all-time by total number of victories. To sum it up, she’s among the best, a sentiment echoed by all of her players.
“For everything she has done for this program, it was very satisfying for us as a team to bring Jen this win,” said senior goalkeeper, Erica Owens.
Despite such remarkable records and statistics, Rockwood’s greatest accomplish aren’t limited to the Cougars’ on-field play. Rockwood enters every year with goals of positively influencing her girls beyond soccer.
“As coaches, our job is to win but soccer isn’t what is most important. We want our girls to get the most out of their experience here. We emphasize dedication to school work,” Rockwood said. “We want them to be great representatives of the (LDS) Church and school. Our girls take pride in that.”
Unlike the numerous, on-field accolades Rockwood has received, her impact off of the field is hard to measure. However, there is no doubt that the influence she has on the lives of her girls matches, if not exceeds, the recognition she has received for program success.
When asked, players were quick to recount experiences when Rockwood has helped them away from the soccer pitch.
“Jen has this ability to handle situations in really good ways. She is a natural motivator,” senior Cloee Colohan said. “I feel like I can talk to her about anything. I have talked to her about my personal life and she gives the best advice. I feel so comfortable.”
If the relationship Rockwood has built with her players is any indication of the level of success she has, and will, enjoy, there are definitely exciting things to come for this program.
“She cares a lot about us and I think that is why she is so good at motivating us,” junior Annie Amos said. “She knows each one of us so well and cares about every one of us.”
Few coaches in the NCAA reach a milestone as significant as 300 wins and fewer reach it at the same university. Even fewer coaches than that have the lasting impact on their players that Coach Rockwood has.
“I want to be remembered first as someone who cared about the girls, provided an environment where they can realize their potential and had fun,” Rockwood said.