Grand Canyon University recently announced the hiring of Chris Cissell as the next head coach of its women’s soccer program.
His hire is contingent on official completion of university hiring processes, according to a press release. Mr. Cissell comes to GCU after nine seasons at University of Missouri --- Kansas City, where he claimed 102 victories, three Western Athletic Conference regular-season titles and two WAC Coach of the Year honors.
“I am extremely excited about this wonderful opportunity,” Mr. Cissell said in a prepared statement. “I am grateful to President Brian Mueller, Jamie Boggs, Nick Ojea and Jason Linders for trusting me with the leadership of the GCU women’s soccer family.
“When I was on campus, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I felt at home in this overall family atmosphere and faith-based culture, combined with the great passion and competitive spirit. Everyone I have met on campus has been friendly, authentic and genuine and has made me feel welcome and at home. I am excited and ready for the challenges ahead, and I look forward to serving as the leader of this GCU Lopes program. My family and I are excited to move to Phoenix to join the incredible Grand Canyon University Lopes family.”
Mr. Cissell’s UMKC teams posted three first-place finishes, two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a fourth-place finish in the Roos’ seven seasons in the WAC.
UMKC was a member of the Summit League for Mr. Cissell’s first two seasons, when he improved the Roos from a last-place finish prior to his arrival to a third-place finish in his first season. The seven-spot improvement in the league standings earned him the 2012 Summit League Coach of the Year nod.
“We are extremely excited to bring Coach Cissell aboard to lead our women’s soccer program,” Interim Vice President of Athletics Jamie Boggs said in a prepared statement.
“Chris is a proven winner at the Division I level and within the Western Athletic Conference. Throughout the interview process, Chris’ engaging personality and strong character were evident and will be a great fit on campus. We are grateful to President Mueller for the university’s commitment to athletics and women’s soccer to allow us to hire someone with as much experience and success as Coach Cissell.”
In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Mr. Cissell’s Roos went 14-1 in conference play en route to back-to-back WAC regular-season championships. In a 2018 season when the Roos set a program record for wins with a 16-5 record, Mr. Cissell led UMKC to wins over Kansas State and Iowa State.
The Roos made their program debut in the Pacific Region rankings and climbed as high as eighth. He finished his UMKC career with a record of 102-63-22 (.604), a release states.
Mr. Cissell was responsible for recruiting talent to Kansas City. In seven WAC seasons, the Roos had the conference’s leading goal-scorer in four seasons. The Roos had the WAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and featured the conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2018 and 2019.
Prior to his arrival at Kansas City, Mr. Cissell coached at his alma mater, Division II William Jewell, for 12 years. He took the reins of the women’s program in 1999 before also adding the men’s program to his duties in 2002.
The women’s team went 168-57-12 (.734) in his 12 seasons while the men posted a mark of 114-49-10 (.688) in nine seasons. He was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
As a player at William Jewell, Mr. Cissell was a four-year starter and the team MVP in his final three seasons. The team captain earned first-team all-conference recognition as a junior and a senior and was conference player of the year as a senior.
Mr. Cissell and his wife, Heather, who teaches kindergarten, have been married almost 25 years. They have four children, who all share a passion for soccer.
Their oldest son, Mitchell, works for Missouri Youth Soccer Association as Director of Communication and recently had a son. His younger sons, Trevor and Zach, play college soccer. Their youngest daughter, Sophia, will graduate from high school in the spring and plans to play college soccer.