Great Falls native will be in Rochester this weekend for a tryout with the Western New York Flash
Lauren Costa named First XI, Erin Craig Second XI, Kristen Hoon Third XI
2012 Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP named NSCAA Scholar All-West Region
Griz soccer photo gallery :: Big Sky Tournament
Griz soccer photo gallery :: Idaho State, Weber State
Montana vs. New Mexico State (9/14/12)
Griz soccer photo gallery :: TCU/BSU
Griz soccer photo gallery :: Wyoming-Air Force
The 2013 season is Mark Plakorus's third year as head coach at the University of Montana and his 15th year as a coach at the NCAA Division I level. He was hired in January 2011 after previously serving as the associate head coach at TCU.
Plakorus is just the third coach in the history of the Montana soccer program, following Betsy Duerksen (1994-2003) and Neil Sedgwick (2004-10).
Plakorus was hired to return a program that had slipped from among the Big Sky Conference's elite teams back to a championship level. He did so in short order.
In Plakorus's first year, Montana doubled its wins total from three to six and more than tripled its goal output from 8 to 27. In 2012, the Grizzlies upped their win total to 12, the most wins in a season in more than a decade.
Montana's spot on the NCAA's season-ending RPI experienced a jump that's been just as dramatic. When Plakorus took over, the Grizzlies ranked No. 288. Following the 2012 season Montana was up to No. 147.
In his first two seasons Plakorus has led Montana to back-to-back Big Sky championships. In 2011 it was a tournament championship; in 2012 a regular-season title.
Playing as the No. 4 seed in the 2011 tournament, Montana upset No. 1 Northern Colorado and No. 3 Weber State to advance to its first NCAA tournament since 2000. The Grizzlies lost a competitive first-round match to eventual national champion Stanford.
A year later Montana shared the regular-season title, its first since 2000, and lost in the tournament championship match in a shootout to Idaho State. The Grizzlies ended their season on an eight-match unbeaten streak and matched a program record with a dozen shutouts.
The team tied for 11th nationally in shutout percentage (.571).
Plakorus coached Lauren Costa, Erin Craig and India Watne to first-team All-Big Sky Conference honors in 2011, the most first-team selections for the program since 2006.
Costa and Craig were first-team repeats in 2012, with Costa being named the Big Sky Defensive MVP and Craig the co-Offensive MVP.
Montana has also excelled academically under Plakorus. The Grizzlies earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award in both 2011 and 2012 and placed 13 athletes on the 2011 Academic All-Big Sky Conference team and 17 on the 2012 squad.
Montana's 2011 and 2012 success at a glance:
2011 NSCAA Team Academic Award (3.23 GPA)
2011: 13 Academic All-Big Sky Conference selections
2011 Big Sky Conference Offensive Players of the Week: 3
2011 Big Sky Conference All-Tournament team: 5 (including MVP India Watne)
2011 All- Big Sky Conference: 3 first team, 2 honorable mention
2012 Senior CLASS Award finalist: Lauren Costa
Big Sky Conference statistical leaders
Plakorus spent three seasons (1999-2001) at Air Force, two at Iowa (2002-03) and one at Tulsa (2004) before joining the TCU staff. He finished his sixth season with the Horned Frogs in 2010 before joining the Grizzlies.
TCU had had four straight losing seasons prior to the arrival of head coach Dan Abdalla and Plakorus in 2005. By 2008 the Horned Frogs were 14-4-2, had become a nationally ranked program and had set a program record with 47 goals in 20 matches, making TCU the 18th most prolific offense in the nation.
Plakorus, who spent 11 years in the Air Force, has ties to Montana that date back nearly two decades.
He was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls from 1994 to 1999 and has been one of the directors of the Flathead Soccer Camp in Kalispell since 1998.
In addition to his Air Force duties at Malmstrom, Plakorus became the director of coaching and player development for the Electric City Soccer Club, started the boys soccer program at Great Falls High School and rose to the role of director of the Montana girls Olympic Development Program.
In those roles, Plakorus saw a number of his former players go on to play for the Grizzlies, who at the time were being coached by Duerksen.
Plakorus graduated from Kansas in 1990 with a degree in computer science. He played club soccer at KU and was a member of the ROTC. He added a master's degree in sport administration from Western Kentucky in 2012
Montana year-by-year under Plakorus
Plakorus's coaching resume
02/11/2013 - W. Soccer
12/31/2012 - W. Soccer
12/28/2012 - W. Soccer
12/18/2012 - W. Soccer
12/13/2012 - W. Soccer
12/10/2012 - W. Soccer
11/07/2012 - W. Soccer
11/04/2012 - W. Soccer
11/02/2012 - W. Soccer
11/02/2012 - W. Soccer