Hander was hired as U Providence’s head soccer coach

BIG FALLS, Mon. — The athletic department at the University of Providence announced Thursday that Will Hander will be the new head coach of the men’s soccer program.

Hander is familiar with the Cascade Collegiate Conference game, having joined the Bushnell University program, where he coached the Beacons for three full seasons. Hander replaces interim head coach Michael Rahn, who coached the Argos last season.

“I am very excited to join the University of Providence,” said Hander. “It’s obviously a school that I’ve trained against for several years in the conference. I’m looking forward to continuing the traditions of success that the team has had in the past. I’m looking forward to the challenges that this brings and I am I’m really excited to get started.”

Hander’s extensive coaching background includes stints with Linfield College and a number of top-flight club programs throughout the state of Oregon. He has spent time as a Technical Advisor with TFA Williamette Futbol Club and was Head Coach of the U23 team. He also served as an assistant coach for Corban University’s women’s program from 2016-17, where the team finished 22-12-2 after a 7-11-2 the previous season. His recruitment efforts helped win the 2016 CCC Newcomer of the Year along with six All-CCC artists.

“We are very happy that Will is joining the Argo team,” said the sporting director Doug Hashley called. “He is a true leader of young men. His teaching is mission oriented and he believes in the fact that iron sharpens iron. He fits perfectly into our men’s football program.”

Hander will immediately begin exploring the high school and junior college football scene to bring high-caliber players into the program.

“The first step is finding the right people to fill the roster,” said Hander. “I want to hire the right staff to help me build an exciting football program and build that culture. There are many important pieces returning, which is tremendous. I can’t wait to learn about the Montana football market and see the local players and see what we can do to convince players to play at Providence and build a successful program.”

The Argos went 4-10-1 last season, although four of those losses came from losses due to Covid-19. Hander didn’t train against the Argos last season as they were one of the teams the Argos had to retire against, but he knows the team’s talent and looks forward to building relationships with them.

“I’ve always been a culture person, so the first thing I want to do is solidify the culture,” Hander said. “The team had a tough season last season but the talent is there so I want them to believe in themselves. We will have a team first mentality. I really want to spark their passion for the sport. The biggest thing for me is figuring out how to get this culture right and enable everyone to thrive. The tactical stuff will come.

Tactically, however, Hander is confident he will be able to instill a style of football that Argo football fans will find exciting.

“I’m a coach who likes to create as many scoring chances as possible,” said Hander. “We’re going to try to play fast, clean, possession-based football. We want to play fast in the transitions and hopefully it’s exciting football that’s fun.”

Hander will be relocating to Great Falls with his wife, Maura, and their children, Rian, Isaac, Joel, and Simon.

“Our family is very excited about moving to Montana,” said Hander. “We think it fits perfectly with our lifestyle.”

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