Former NCAA Division I coach Craig Blazer was named head coach of the Richard J. Daley College women’s and men’s soccer teams in March 2018.
Before his arrival at Daley, Blazer served as the head men’s coach at DePaul University from 2001-17.
During his tenure with the Blue Demons, several players received national awards, including three National Soccer Coaches of America Association (NSCAA) Scholar All-Americans, one ESPN Academic All-American and one Loewe’s Senior CLASS All-American. In addition, DePaul had 19 NSCAA Scholar All-Region selections, six NSCAA All-Region performers and one ESPN The MagazineAcademic All-District honoree.
One of the top academic program’s in the country under Blazer, DePaul claimed the NSCAA’s Team Academic Award every year from 2005-16 and finished with the third highest grade-point average in the country in 2009. The Blue Demons garnered the United Soccer Coaches Team Award in 2017 after the NSCAA renamed the organization that summer.
After joining the BIG EAST in 2005, DePaul totaled nine all-conference selections, six All-Rookie/Freshman Team picks, four Male Scholar-Athlete award winners, two all-tournament recipients and one goalkeeper of the year through the 2017 season. Also, 217 Blue Demons landed on the conference’s all-academic team.
Blazer guided DePaul to seven BIG EAST tournament appearances, advancing to the semifinals twice.
Blazer’s most successful season came in 2007, when DePaul finished 12-8-0 overall and 7-4-0 in the BIG EAST and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. Among the victories that season were wins over No. 2 Connecticut and No. 21 Louisville. The Blue Demons were recognized for their success, securing their first-ever ranking (No. 17) in the Soccer America Top 25 poll.
Blazer was chosen as the 2007 NSCAA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year, and he and assistant Adam Tinkham collected the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year award. The 2007 team also excelled in the classroom, earning the BIG EAST Team Academic Award, which they would also go on to win in 2009.
As a member of Conference USA (C-USA) in Blazer’s first four seasons, DePaul had 45 players make the league’s Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll, four who were awarded the Commissioner’s Academic Medal, two all-conference selections and a pair who were voted to the All-Freshman Team.
In Blazer’s second season in 2002, DePaul finished 8-9-2, marking the program’s best record since 1996. The Blue Demons also owned the top team GPA among the C-USA’s men's soccer teams that year.
Along with his collegiate coaching career, Blazer worked with the U.S. National teams from 1993-01, which included the 2000 United States Olympic squad that competed in Sydney, Australia, and advanced to the semifinals.
Leading up to the 2000 Olympics, Blazer worked with members of the United States Olympic Committee, Sydney Organizing Committee Olympic Games and Federation International Football Association (FIFA). He managed all 19 pre-Olympic events, including matches in Brazil, England, Portugal, Spain and the 2000 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Hershey, Pa.
As the U.S. National Team Coordinator, Blazer managed the logistics during the team’s games in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. In December 1998, Blazer oversaw the first international partnership between Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer in Manchester, England, with the MLS Project-40 team.
Blazer also has been involved with youth soccer at all levels and assists with the Illinois Olympic Development Program as a member of the Region II staff. He earned his "A" License from the United States Soccer Federation in 2000 and coached at Cincinnati's Fairfield High School in 1992. While playing collegiately at Xavier, he was an assistant coach at LaSalle High School from 1987-91.
Blazer graduated with degrees in political science and communications from Xavier in 1991. He and his wife Claudia are the parents of two sons and two daughters.