UC Davis reloads roster with five Californians and a Texas native
Coach led UC Davis to Big West Conference North Division title in 2017
Duo becomes the first all-region selections for the Aggies since 2014
Head Coach Dwayne Shaffer, Associate Head Coach Jason Hotaling, and Assistant Coach Chris Leer honored
Cal State Fullerton wins shootout, 4-3, after the two teams battle to a scoreless draw
Since taking over as head coach in 1997, Shaffer’s career on the sidelines has been highlighted by recruiting and developing top student-athletes, as the veteran coach has led the Aggies to three NCAA Tournament appearances -- including a pair in the program’s first two seasons of eligibility at the Division I level in 2007 and 2008 -- seen two of his charges play in Major League Soccer (Mark Schulte and Quincy Amarikwa), had another (Ryan Shaw) drafted by the MLS, coached three All-Americans, helped 15 players earn 19 All-Far West Region awards, and 12 first-team all-conference laurels.
In the classroom, 12 of his student-athletes have been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII Team, with four of those going on to earn Academic All-America honors. Highlighting that list is two-time Academic All-American Mustafa Chopin (2011-12) and a pair of recipients of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in Academic All-American Matt DeJong (2000-01) and two-time Academic All-District award winner Brian Ford (2014-15).
In the Aggies’ nine seasons in an always difficult Big West Conference, they have posted the second-highest conference win total (42) among the league’s eight schools and boast the third-highest overall winning percentage (.543) since their debut in 2007. During that span, they have 11 wins and seven draws against nationally ranked competition -- including four results against top-10 competition -- and victories over eventual NCAA semifinalists UCLA in 2011 and New Mexico in 2013.
Leading the only program to make the Big West Tournament in each of the last five seasons -- including a North Division title and an appearance in the championship match in 2012 -- Shaffer was named the conference’s Coach of the Year in 2007 after leading the Aggies to a 12-5-3 overall record, a 7-3-2 mark in conference play, and an NCAA berth in the program’s first official Division I campaign, falling to Bay Area rival California, 2-1, after two overtimes.
The next year, Shaffer led the Aggies to a program Division I-record 13 wins and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating Denver at home for their first postseason win before falling to No. 14 Michigan, 2-1, in the following round.
Individually, a total of 37 student-athletes have been named to the annual All-Big West honor roll, including Offensive Player of the Year in Amarikwa in 2008, Midfielder of the Year Dylan Curtis in 2008, Goalkeeper of the Year Omar Zeenni in 2013, and Freshman of the Year Matt Wiesenfarth in 2011. In addition, Amarikwa and Curtis went on to earn Division I All-America honors in 2008 -- making UC Davis one of just six schools to have multiple All-America selections -- while five student-athletes have earned NSCAA All-Far West Region laurels since that season. Curtis was also named a 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award First-Team Senior All-America selection. Professionally, Shaffer has helped a number of his UC Davis proteges to professional contracts or invitations to MLS training camps.
Aggie Soccer Field has become one of the toughest for opponents to play in, as shown by a nine game win-streak the Aggies posted from Oct. 27, 2007 until Sept. 13, 2009. Over the past eight seasons, Shaffer’s teams have posted a 44-23-14 (.630) home mark and were unbeaten at home during the entire 2008 season.
In his career at UC Davis, Shaffer’s teams have nearly averaged double-digit wins and have compiled an overall record of 182-146-47 (.548).
In the Aggies’ last six years in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, Shaffer guided the team to two first-place and four second-place finishes. In 1999, he led the Aggies to a school-record 16 victories and the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in 23 years. That year, he was named CCAA Coach of the Year as well as the NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year. The Aggies set a record in 1999 by going unbeaten in 13 consecutive games. In 2006, the university’s final year of the Div. I transition, Shaffer’s program proved itself worthy of collegiate soccer’s highest level. The Aggies won nine games, including a 1-0 victory over the year’s eventual NCAA champion, UC Santa Barbara. That win also served as a milestone for Shaffer -- it was his 100th at UC Davis.
Prior to coming to UC Davis, Shaffer spent one season as the head coach at Dayton, where he recruited future MLS player Mark Schulte. Four more of his players were drafted by the A-League. Shaffer’s season at Dayton followed a three-year stint as assistant head coach at Clemson, where he helped guide the Tigers to a 47-18-3 record and second-round appearances in the NCAA Div. I tournament. On two occasions, Clemson was ranked the No. 1 team in the nation. At Clemson, Shaffer helped recruit and coach a total of nine players who would go on to play in the MLS. He also helped mentor the nation’s leading scorer in 1993 and 1994.
Prior to Clemson, he served four years as head coach at Santa Rosa Junior College where his teams won 52 games. Shaffer coached two All-Americans in his four-year stint at Santa Rosa JC. He also coached the leading scorer in the state as well as the most valuable player of the Northern California region.
Shaffer’s standout collegiate playing career, which featured a .795 winning percentage, began at Santa Rosa JC where he was named all-conference and led the team to a two-year record of 39-7-2 and a pair of conference championships. As a sophomore, Shaffer played central defender on a unit that allowed just seven goals in 24 games, including 13 consecutive shutouts. Following Santa Rosa, he went on to play two seasons at Chico State and helped lead the Wildcats to a 29-9-2 record and an NCAA Div. II Tournament appearance as a junior. He has also served as a Region IV Olympic Development Program staff member.
Shaffer earned his bachelor’s degree and his master’s in physical education with a teaching/coaching emphasis from Chico State in 1988. He enjoys fishing and watching and supporting Major League Soccer. Shaffer and his wife, Lara, have two daughters: Shay and Skye.