FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Stephen Gorton has been named the head coach of the Purdue University Fort Wayne men’s soccer program, Mastodon Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton announced on Thursday (Feb. 13).
“We are excited to welcome Stephen and his family to Purdue Fort Wayne,” Hartley Hutton said. “When talking to people connected to the men’s soccer world, his name was one of the top ones on the list. As we moved through the process and we spoke with Stephen about his vision and passion to be the head coach of the Mastodons, it was evident he was our top choice in a very competitive field of applicants.”
Gorton most recently spent the 2019 campaign as the first assistant at SIUE. Previously, he spent seven seasons at Horizon League member Oakland University. He served various roles, including associate head coach and first assistant for the Golden Grizzlies. His Oakland squads advanced to the Horizon League Semifinals for four consecutive seasons, winning the league title and playing in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015. In five different seasons, his teams have earned a top-100 RPI, reaching as high as 65 in 2015 with Oakland.
Over 20 players Gorton coached are now playing professionally, including an MLS SuperDraft selection as high as number 19 overall.
“I’m truly honored for the opportunity to be the new head men’s soccer coach at Purdue Fort Wayne,” Gorton said. “Having grown up in the Midwest and spending the majority of both my playing and coaching careers in neighboring states to Indiana, I have a deep understanding and passion for soccer in this region. I would like to thank Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton and the entire hiring committee for their belief in me being the right person for this role.”
Gorton recruited CollegeSoccerNews.com four-star recruiting classes from 2015-19. His student-athletes have earned more than 60 all-conference distinctions and more than 40 all-region honors. He helped six players take home Offensive Conference Player of the Year honors. Following the 2015 season, Gorton was named one of CollegeSoccerNews.com’s Top 12 Assistant Coaches. In his first season at Oakland in 2012, he helped the Golden Grizzlies win the Summit League regular season title and finish with five more wins than the year prior.
Gorton comes to Fort Wayne with head coaching experience. He served as the head coach at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas, from 2007-2011. He compiled an overall record of 56-21-3 for the Broncbusters. Gorton guided the program to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Final Four, two regional finals, four regional semifinals and coached five All-Americans. He earned recognition as the NJCAA Plains District Coach of the Year in 2008 and was twice a nominee for National Coach of the Year.
“This is an exciting time for the student-athletes at Purdue Fort Wayne and the city of Fort Wayne,” Gorton said. “With the university’s entrance into the Horizon League I am eager to start working with the current student-athletes and begin leading this process immediately.”
He started his coaching career as an assistant at Western Illinois during the 2004 season. The Leathernecks won the Summit League Tournament and appeared in the NCAA Tournament during his time in Macomb, Illinois. Gorton played and graduated from Western Illinois, where he was named to the All-Summit League team and selected to the NSCAA All-North Region and NSCAA All-America team.
“The future plans and positive direction of Purdue Fort Wayne combined with an enthusiastic athletic department, showing support not only for men’s soccer, but all of the athletic programs, made it even more clear that this is the right place for myself and my family,” Gorton said. “I want to thank my wife and daughter for their continued support and love, as we make this exciting transition in our lives.”