Kulas Previously Served as Wildcats Associate Head Coach
The 2013-14 season marks the first as head coach and fourth overall for Fran Kulas, who was promoted to his current position in December 2013 after previously serving as the associate head coach for the past two years. Kulas, who is heavily involved in all aspects of the Wildcat program and additionally serves as the team's recruiting coordinator, is an experienced teacher of the game whose career has covered every facet of playing, coaching and directing programs at every level of soccer.
In his first three seasons at Villanova, Kulas has helped the Wildcats emerge as one of the most competitive in the BIG EAST Conference, qualifying for the Big East Tournament in 2012 after finishing tied for 3rd in the Big East National Division.
In addition to success for the program as a whole, several Wildcats have been honored for their performances on the field and in the classroom. Forwards Katie Ryan and Heidi Sabatura both were recognized as All-BIG EAST performers in 2010, while Ryan and Stephanie Myers each received all-conference honors in 2011. Ryan became the first Villanova forward since 2004 to earn first team All-BIG EAST accolades in 2010 and followed that effort up with first team honors again as a senior in 2011. She is one of only three forwards in the history of the program to earn first team BIG EAST recognition multiple times. Myers, meanwhile, came on strong as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team. In 2012, the program tied a single-season-record for All-BIG EAST honorees, as four players received recognition, with Heidi Sabatura and Taylor Houck earning second team All-BIG EAST, Jami Kranich earning third team All-BIG EAST, and Emily Damstrom named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
During Kulas' tenure at Villanova, a total of eight student-athletes have received All-Big East honors and fourteen have been recognized on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll. In addition to Big East recognition, in 2011, Katie Ryan was named the NSCAA National Player of the Week as well as to the Soccer America Team of the Week and the NSCAA University Scholar Athlete All-East Team. In each of Kulas' first three seasons with the Wildcats, the team has also earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award.
Kulas' distinguished career has included everything from coaching youth soccer to instructing international stars at the professional level. He is well-known not only for his coaching merits but also for his reputation as an educator within the game. Kulas has been invited to run clinics overseas and has been a featured speaker on leadership and parent education at recent U.S. Youth Soccer national workshops and conventions. He currently holds the United States Soccer Federation National `A' and `Youth' coaching licenses and is a member of the federation's national instructional staff for the `A', `B' and `C' coaching license courses.
From 2007-2011, Kulas served as an assistant coach for the U14 and U15 USA Women's National Teams and is currently involved as a scout for the United States Soccer Federation. Coach Kulas is also a senior staff coach for the Region I Girls Olympic Development Program (ODP), where he serves as the head coach for the U13 Regional Team, and from 2009-2013, served as the program's Director of Coaching Education and Staff Evaluation. In addition to his work with US Soccer and Region I Girls ODP, Kulas is also the Director of Coach and Player Development for the Concord Soccer Association youth soccer club in Wilmington, Del., a position he has held since 2008.
Kulas has spent time in Germany as a clinician for ODP Europe and during the winter of 2010 served as the assistant coach for the U19 Region I ODP team that traveled to Russia to compete in the FIFA International U19 Kuban Tournament, where the team advanced to the quarterfinals.
A native of the state of Delaware, Kulas joined the coaching staff at Division II Goldey Beacom College prior to the 2008 season. He spent that year as the assistant coach of both the men's and women's teams and was then elevated to associate head coach of the men's squad prior to the 2009 campaign. In that position, he helped lead the Lightning to its most wins and first appearance in the CACC Tournament in six seasons.
Kulas previously returned to his home state in 2005 as the Director of Athletics at Archmere Academy in Claymont. During a three-year tenure there (2005-07) he was responsible for several personnel and facility upgrades, including leading a $2.1 million athletics facility renovation. Kulas also led Archmere through a transition into a new athletics conference and overhauled the school's athletic logo and branding initiatives. His time at Archmere was punctuated by 20 of the school's 22 varsity sports qualifying for state tournaments and highlighted by three teams winning state championships. In addition, four head coaches earned state Coach of the Year honors under Kulas' watch.
In 2007, Kulas was a featured speaker at the 2007 National Catholic Educational Association National Convention and presented the topic "Realistic Expectations for Our Children in Today's Competitive Society." He has had articles published in Soccer America, Success in Soccer, World Class Coaching and Performance Conditioning magazines, as well as in the NSCAA's Soccer Journal and U.S. Soccer's Coaches Net Journal.
In 2006, while at Archmere Academy, Kulas was the head coach of the Delaware Dynasty during the team's inaugural season. The Dynasty was a part of the United Soccer League, a semipro professional development league. Four of his players from the 2006 squad advanced to play as full professionals, including one who recently received his first cap as a member of his country's full national team.
From 2002-04, Kulas served as the Director of Coach and Player Development for the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association. He was responsible for all facets of the KYSA ODP as well as the Coaching Education and Parent Education programs.
While in Kentucky, Kulas chaired U.S. Youth Soccer's Parent Education Advisory Committee, was a member of the Region II Girls ODP staff and served as the assistant women's coach at Morehead State University. In 2004, the Morehead State team recorded the best record in program history, qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament for the first time in four years, broke or tied 13 different school records, and the head coach was named OVC Coach of the Year.
Prior to his arrival in Kentucky, Kulas spent three years as the head coach of the women's soccer team at Division III Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where the team was consistently ranked in the NSCAA Great Lakes Region top 10. In his second season as head coach, Kulas led the Tigers to the NCAC Tournament for the first time. He would go on to sign two straight recruiting classes that each produced the NCAC Newcomer of the Year in 2001 and 2002 and on three occasions, the team was awarded the NSCAA National Academic Award.
During his time in Ohio, Kulas was a member of the Ohio South and Ohio North Youth Soccer Associations and served on the Coaching Education staff for each. He also was a head coach for the Ohio South girl's ODP program for three years.
A graduate of the University of Delaware, Kulas spent the first five years of his coaching career in his home state. In 1999, he was the girls' soccer head coach at A.I. duPont High School, where he led his team to the Delaware High School state championship, a No. 4 NSCAA national ranking and a No. 1 NSCAA regional ranking. That team produced the state Player of the Year, eight all-state players, and Kulas earned Flight `A' Coach of the Year honors.
In 1997 and 1998, Kulas was an assistant coach for the men's soccer team at his alma mater. During those two years, he also got his start as a coach of professional, semipro and amateur teams. Kulas was the assistant coach for the Delaware Wizards, a men's professional team in the U.S.I.S.L. D3 Pro League. This team was Atlantic Division Champions in 1998 and advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. During this time, Kulas was also the assistant coach for the Delaware Genies, an amateur women's team that competed in the U.S.I.S.L.'s W-League. Highlighting his time with the Genies was the opportunity to coach World Cup and Olympic gold medal champions Kristine Lilly, Briana Scurry and Tisha Venturini.
Kulas got his start as a coach as an assistant coach for the boys' team at Glasgow High School in Delaware in 1995. The team captured the Delaware High School state championship and finished the season ranked No. 25 nationally. Kulas also served as the head goalkeeper coach for Delaware ODP from 1995-99.
Along the way to establishing himself as a well-respected coach at elite levels, Kulas has personally trained the likes of Stuart Holden (U.S. Men's National team, Bolton Wanderers/English Football League Championship); Mark Howard (Aarhus Gymnastikforening/Danish Superliga); Demarcus Beasley (U.S. Men's National Team, Puebla LIGA MX/Mexico); Charlie Davies (U.S. Men's National Team, Superliga Randers FC/Denmark); Bobby Convey (U.S. Men's National Team, Toronto FC/MLS); Marcus Tracy (U.S. Men's National Team, Aalborg/Denmark); Simon Elliott (New Zealand National Team); Cory Gibbs (U.S. Men's National Team, Chicago Fire/MLS); Chris Armas (U.S. Men's National Team, Chicago Fire/MLS); Kheli Dube (Zimbabwe National Team, Chicago Fire/MLS) and Daryl Ferguson (Barbados National Team, Fredericksburg Hotspur/PDL).
Kulas received a Bachelor's Degree in English Literary Studies from Delaware. He and his wife of 14 years, Jennifer, have an 11-year old son, Quinn, and an infant daughter, Irie, and reside in Wilmington, Del.