Vito Higgins, who made the move from the field to the coaching box for Gonzaga University in 2008 following an outstanding career in the nets for the Bulldogs, returns for his 10th season.
The native of Kailua, Hawai'i, joined head coach Einar Thorarinsson's staff after a foot injury cut short his professional career. He is second all-time in saves with 305 at GU, and had signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS in the spring of 2008 following a tryout, but decided to forego his professional career when Thorarinsson offered him a spot on his staff.
Higgins was instrumental in the Bulldogs reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2007, posting a 0.71 goals-against-average for the season which still ranks second on the single-season list behind fellow Hawaiian Josh Fouts and his 0.68 in 1998. Higgins also posted a 1.34 career GAA that still ranks third behind Fouts (0.83) and another Hawaiian, Mike McCarthy (1.16). His 14 career shutouts rank second behind Fouts. He started 70 of his 72 appearances and played more than 6,500 minutes in his career.
Under his tutelage, current keeper Ben Willis is ninth all-time with 65 career saves and fourth with a 1.39 goals against average. He has only allowed 32 goals in three years, which is fifth all-time, and his three shutouts are already seventh. He coached all-time saves leader Ryan Caballero, who passed Higgins for first with 322 saves.