Rhett Soliday is back on the sidelines for his fifth year as the head coach of the Vanguard men’s basketball program.
In just his fourth year at the helm, Soliday led the Lions to the 2014 NAIA National Championship, in addition to winning the 2013-2014 Golden State Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles. For his efforts, Soliday was named the 2013-2014 Rawlings-NAIA Division I National Coach of the Year.
The 2013-2014 season was the finest campaign ever by a Vanguard/SCC Men’s Basketball program. The Lions finished 32-6, breaking the school record for wins and earning the program’s third GSAC regular season title, its first in 25 years. The Lions cruised through the GSAC Tournament, defeating Hope International 90-80 in the GSAC Tournament final, which was broadcasted on Fox Sports Network’s Prime Ticket, televised nationally, live from The Pit.
Vanguard earned an automatic bid to the 2014 NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, where Soliday and the sixth-seeded Lions proceeded to knock off Life (GA) in the first round. VU then defeated Benedictine (KS) in the Sweet-16, in the process taking the program deeper than it had ever been in the National Tournament. Vanguard continued to roll, beating Georgetown (KY) in the Elite-8 to earn the program’s first trip to the final four. To reach the championship game, the Lions rolled St. Gregory’s (OK) 108-88, advancing to the NAIA Championship game, televised nationally on ESPN3. Soliday and the Lions completed their historic run to the title by defeating Emmanuel (Ga.) 70-65 to win the program’s first National Championship. Vanguard’s Preston Wynne was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Chris Gorman joined him on the All-Tournament team. In addition, Soliday and the Lions won the Dr. James Naismith-Emil S. Liston Sportsmanship Award, displaying the Gold Pride-character of Vanguard Athletics.
In four seasons at VU, Soliday has amassed an overall record of 72-54. He has recruited and coached four NAIA All-Americans, five All-GSAC honorees, and 12 NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
Soliday was selected as the Head Men's Basketball Coach at Vanguard University in April 2010. Soliday had served as an assistant coach at University of California, Irvine for four years and four years at Concordia University prior to the UCI assignment. Soliday's first experience with the Golden State Athletic Conference came as a player when he transferred to Concordia from Big Bend Community College. He joined the coaching ranks immediately after a successful two-year playing career for the Eagles, where he earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete and GSAC Player of the Week, among other awards. Becoming one of the youngest head assistants in the country at the time (22 years old), Soliday helped Head Coach Ken Ammann and the staff turn the Concordia men's basketball program into a national champion. He was the lead recruiter for the Eagles as well as carrying offensive and defensive duties on the court, scouting and game strategy, academic monitoring and mentoring, and strength and conditioning duties off the court. In his four-year term at CUI, the Eagles were the 2003 NAIA Champions, 2004 NAIA Runner-ups, 2005 GSAC Tournament Champions and 2005 NAIA Tournament participants.
Soliday moved on to the NCAA Division I level to join the staff of Head Coach Pat Douglass at UC Irvine, where he served as an assistant coach for the next four years. His recruiting efforts paid off once again as the Anteaters made it to the Big West Conference Tournament Championship game in 2008, for only the second time in school history. UCI was a BWC Tournament semifinalist in 2007 and a BWC Tournament participant in 2010, while finishing fourth in the BWC in 2009. In addition to recruiting, Soliday was active in every area of practice and instruction, as well as scouting opponents and game day preparation, and monitoring and mentoring players off the court.
"I feel honored and blessed to be the head coach at Vanguard," states Soliday. "All of my personal and professional development to this point has been geared toward being prepared for this opportunity. It's not just about being a head coach, but about working at an institution like Vanguard with the quality of leadership that makes it so special."
Aside from having extensive local and national recruiting connections, a positive passion and knowledge of the game, Soliday, CUI's 2002 Champion of Character Award winner, is a great fit for the basketball program and overall mission within Vanguard athletics and the entire institution.
"I couldn't be more excited about the challenge that lies ahead for the men's basketball program," Soliday continued. "What's great about the journey ahead is that not only will we get to mentor young men, but we get to do so with the support of an amazing community of believers who are fully committed to seeing each of them succeed and find significance in their lives."
Soliday is married to his high school sweetheart Kim, and they have two daughters and a son: Peyton, Lucy and Colton.
|RS||Brandon Wiehe||FR||G||6-2||170||La Mirada, CA||Mater Dei High School|
|1||Myles Smith||SO||G||5-8||155||San Pedro, CA||Mayfair High School|
|2||Noel Larkins||SR||G||6-2||185||Placentia, CA||Irvine Valley|
|3||Chris Gorman||JR||G||5-11||175||Oceanside, CA||Palomar College|
|4||Preston Wynne||SR||G||6-1||180||Wellpinit, WA||Spokane Community College|
|5||Selle Hann||JR||G/F||6-4||200||Dakar, Senegal||College Mansour Sy|
|10||Nuno Muandumba||JR||G||5-10||190||Scottsdale, AZ||Pinnacle High School|
|12||TJ Burke||SO||G||6-9||230||Honolulu, HI||UC Riverside|
|20||Logan Fougnies||FR||G||6-1||180||Tempe, AZ||Gilbert Christian High School|
|22||DeAngelo Jones||JR||G||6-3||213||Cheney, WA||Spokane Community College|
|23||Zach Allmon||FR||F||6-8||210||San Luis Obispo, CA||Cal Poly|
|24||Swing Chuang||SR||F||6-5||230||Hacienda Heights||Fullerton College|
|30||Kirk Sheplay||SR||G||6-3||185||Paso Robles, CA||North County Christian High School|
|32||Jordan Diandy||JR||F||6-6||200||Dakar, Senegal||La Maieutique High School|
|33||Tino Zaragoza||SR||F||6-4||220||Orange, CA||Northwood High School|
|42||Keith Mason||JR||F||6-8||260||Carson, CA||LA Harbor College|