Paul Meehan was tabbed as the head coach effective January 1, 2018 when head coach Einar Thorarinsson announced his retirement after 23 seasons in November of 2017.
Meehan enters his sixth season with Gonzaga in 2018 after joining Thorarinsson's staff in the spring of 2013. He came to the Bulldogs after three seasons as the head men's soccer coach at Corban University in Salem, Ore. In addition to coaching, oversees the program's scheduling and recruiting.
In his first four seasons at Gonzaga, Meehan has helped the Zags to a third-place team finish in 2013 and a fifth-place team finish in 2014. The third-place in 2013 was the highest finish for GU in five seasons.
The 2016 season featured the Zags’ first national ranking since 2007, as they cracked the NSCAA NCAA Division I Men’s Top-25 Poll at No. 20 on September 13. The Bulldogs allowed two goals or fewer in their first nine games and forced four conference games into overtime. Jakob Granlund was selected Third Team All-Far West Region.
In 2015, Gonzaga battled to a 7-10-1 record which included seven losses by just one goal and a defense that tied for first in the league with just 21 goals allowed on the year. GU placed four players on All-WCC teams with Ben White (First Team), Conner Bevans (Second Team), Jakob Granlund (Honorable Mention) and Garrett Wilson (All-Freshman).
In 2014, Gonzaga earned a second consecutive fifth-place league finish with a 3-3-1 league record, including a pair of back-to-back overtime victories to end the season. The GU squad was led by six all-league honorees, including All-WCC first-teamer Lars Ludwigs, second-teamer Clark Phillips and a quarter of All-WCC Honorable Mention recipients.
One year prior, in 2013, Gonzaga made a charge into the top three of the league behind a pair seniors in Nick Hamer and Josh Phillips. Hamer earned WCC Player of the Year honors and Phillips was named WCC Defender of the Year on the way to a 5-4-3 league record. The squad earned a school-record eight All-WCC honors with Hamer and Phillips earning first team honors, and Clark Phillips (no relation to Josh), earning second team honors. Four others were named All-WCC Honorable Mention and one was selected to the All-Freshman Team.
At Corban, Meehan inherited a program that had 13 returning players and had gone 26-39-8 the four seasons prior to his arrival. In just his second season at the helm, he led the Warriors to an 11-8-1 record with an 8-5-1 mark in the Cascade Conference, good for third place. His squad finished second in the conference tournament in their inaugural title-game appearance. In 2012, Meehan's Corban squad went 8-7-3, including 7-6-1 in the Cascade Conference.
Prior to his arrival at Corban, Meehan spent three seasons (2006-08) as Oregon State University's Associate Head Coach to former head coach Dana Taylor. Working with Taylor, Meehan focused in the areas of recruiting, training and conditioning, budgeting and scheduling, community service, compliance, alumni relations and summer camps.
Meehan's recruiting efforts helped bring in former Beaver Danny Mwanga, who was named 2008 Pacific-10 Conference Freshman of the Year, 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year and No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the expansion Philadelphia Union.
Meehan is no stranger to Gonzaga's Luger Field, either. He was on the Beavers staff that played the first regular-season match on the new Luger Field in 2008, OSU playing CS Bakersfield to kick off the Gonzaga Nike Soccer Classic.
Meehan has also had coaching stints at NCAA Division I members Marshall University (1997-98, 2003-06) and Fresno State University (1998-99). With Fresno State, Meehan helped lead the Bulldogs to the 1998 Western Athletic Conference title and an appearance in the NCAA Men's Soccer Championships.
Meehan's collegiate coaching career began at Bellevue Community College in Washington, where he established an 82-43-16 record that included three Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) titles and two Coach of the Year honors.
After growing up in Seattle, Meehan played at then-NAIA member Western Washington University from 1980-82. He served as team captain and was an all-conference selection in 1981. He graduated in 1983 with a degree in physical education.
Following his time at Western Washington in 1984, Meehan helped lead Team USA of the American Indoor Soccer Association to a 4-5-2 record and played with the American Indoor Soccer Association's Milwaukee Wave reserve team.
Meehan and his wife, Pam, have three children: Zane, Zoe, and Zuri.
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.