Purdum laying the foundation as UW's new soccer coach

Apr. 18—Coaching the University of Wyoming women's soccer team was an opportunity Josh Purdum couldn't pass up.

UW athletics director Tom Burman announced the hiring of Purdum last week. The coaching search lasted a little over a month after former coach Colleen Corbin resigned in early March to take an associate head coaching position at Saint Louis University.

UW went 6-8-5 overall and 2-7-2 in Mountain West play last fall, missing out on the conference tournament hosted in Laramie.

"We are excited about Josh coming to UW to lead Cowgirl soccer," Burman said in the news release. "His experience and enthusiasm resonated well with all those he met with when visiting campus. The future of Cowgirl soccer is very bright."

Purdum brings plenty of coaching experience to UW. After serving as a graduate assistant at North Colorado, he spend a combined three seasons as an assistant coach at Drake and Eastern Kentucky. He coached another four seasons at North Dakota State — including one as the associate head coach — before spending the past two seasons working with goalkeepers at Colorado State.

"When I was 15 or 16 years old, I asked my coach what it takes to get into coaching," Purdum told WyoSports on Tuesday. "Not many kids that age ask that, and sure enough, I went to school and started coaching right away. I've always prepared myself to think like a head coach, and to come up with new ideas and to take initiative.

"I've had good mentors at my last few stops that have prepared me for this opportunity."

Purdum credits his coaching development to working with Drake's Lindsey Horner, Auburn's Nick Flohre while at Eastern Kentucky and Mike Regan at both Drake and NDSU. He also played semi-professionally as a defenseman and backup goalie for the Northern Colorado Cutthroats.

Working with the Rams' goalkeepers the past two seasons has allowed Purdum to keep a close eye on the Cowgirls. What he saw was a team capable of winning MW championships.

"They're fast, athletic and hungry to score goals in a lot of different ways," Purdum said. "This is a program that wants to win. Everyone here enjoys supporting the athletic teams, and that was attractive from the outside looking in."

The passion of Cowgirls fans has caught the eye of Purdum each time he's visited Laramie. He said he thinks UW has the ability to create an environment worthy of impacting games and helping the Cowgirls win matches.

"I'm excited to meet a lot of them," Purdum said. "When you're playing against the Cowgirls, the fans are rowdy. They love the sport, love to attend, and they're consistent."

Purdum and his wife, Kelly, both have family in Northern Colorado, which was one of the most appealing parts about his job at CSU. Combing the proximity to family along with coaching in a competitive MW conference led Purdum to feeling comfortable with the Rams.

"It felt like it was a step in the right direction," Purdum said. "Taking that job, I had two other jobs in mind that I would consider over the next 10 years. The University of Wyoming was one of them, and, admittedly, I always had this job in the back of my mind."

On the field, UW is expected to be a defensive-minded team. With a goalkeeping background, Purdum has plenty of experience when it comes to coaching high-pressure, defensive philosophies.

Offensively, he wants the Cowgirls to be good in transition and decisive in their attack. Purdum wants to see a variation of goals scored, rather than relying on one method.

Purdum places a huge emphasis on building relationships with his players. That crosses over to recruiting, as he wants to ensure he's bringing in a genuine person in addition to a good player.

"Are they well-rounded? Are they going to seek out their full four-year degree? These are things you have to weed out," Purdum said. "I'm all about bringing in good people, which is a long process. I want people that want to be here.

"I want people that are going to represent the University of Wyoming the right way, are going to play hard for their team, work hard to win championships, play with heart and work hard academically."

Purdum officially took over his post this week, but he made a point to introduce himself to the team immediately. Over the weekend, he took a day off from training for players to get to know him.

He hosted the team for lunch and prepared a quiz about himself for the players to learn about him.

"I laid out what they can expect from me," Purdum said. "We also went into the non-soccer part of being a student-athlete. Hopefully, we laid the foundation for what I expect in the years to come.

"It's a collaborative process. It's not just me telling them what I expect, but more of a group effort. They got to see me and my approach."

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Austin Edmonds covers Laramie High, University of Wyoming and community athletics for WyoSports. He can be reached at Follow him on X at @_austinedmonds.