Mat Santoro is entering his ninth year as the head coach of the University of Southern Indiana soccer program. The Screaming Eagles are 64-63-16 during that time including three postseason berths in the last five years.
In 2016, USI made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1982 and won the program’s first ever NCAA tournament game. The Screaming Eagles also spent four weeks in the NSCAA Top 25 national rankings.
During Santoro’s tenure, USI has had 7 GLVC Players-of-the-Week, 8 All-GLVC awards, 6 All-Region picks, the 2016 GLVC Freshman-of-the-Year, and the program’s first Academic All-American since 2002.
USI men’s soccer has excelled academically under Santoro. The program has won the NSCAA Team Academic Award six consecutive years and the Team Academic All-GLVC Award the past two years. Two of the program’s 2016 graduates won the GLVC Council of Presidents’ Academic Excellence Award, and several members of the program were honored as Academic All-GLVC.
Prior to coming to USI, Santoro was an assistant coach at The University of Memphis in Conference-USA. He assisted in all facets of the program at Memphis as the Tigers played a nationally ranked DI schedule.
Santoro began his college coaching career as an assistant at Rowan University (NJ), where he had won a national championship as a student-athlete (1990). During his time coaching at Rowan, Santoro was the primary recruiter for a program which won two conference championships and qualified for three NCAA tournaments, including hosting the 2000 Final Four, in which Rowan was the national runner-up.
The USI soccer program is founded on balanced principles of solid representation, service to others, and commitment to academic and athletic excellence. The student-athletes are held to high standards in the classroom, in the community, and on the playing field; sportsmanship, academic diligence, and a positive attitude are always expected.
Mat Santoro has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Religion with a minor in Physical Education, and he is a member of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and the NSCAA.
Former USI soccer star, Robert Bennett, joined the coaching staff in June 2013. Bennett has been a mainstay in Evansville soccer throughout his life. After several state championships as a youth player, he was a 3-time state finalist with Memorial HS, winning the title twice. Bennett garnered several All-City and All-State honors while playing for Memorial.
He attended nationally ranked University of Evansville where he played for two years before transferring to USI.
Bennett led USI to two GLVC championships. He earned All-State and All-GLVC honors in 1990, while also captaining the team his senior year.
Bennett has been involved in Evansville youth soccer as a coach and a director since 2008. He has two national coaching licenses from the NSCAA.
"Robert has had an impact on the Southern Indiana soccer community for the past 25 years as a player, coach, and director. He was a champion here at USI, and he has the experience and character to make a great impact on our program. We are lucky to have such a person and coach helping us build a top college soccer program."