ROB MARINARO | HEAD COACH
One of the longest-tenured coaches in the Mid-American Conference, Rob Marinaro enters his 17th season as Kent State’s head women’s soccer coach in 2017 and his 21st season with the Golden Flashes program.
A fixture of the Kent State women’s soccer program since its inception in 1997, Marinaro has the fourth-most wins in conference history and owns a 152-125-35 record, including an 89-72-18 mark in Mid-American Conference play. Marinaro, a three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, has led Kent State to 12 MAC Tournament berths during his tenure, and in 2016 led the program to its first ever MAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. Additionally, Marinaro has overseen the development of 31 All-MAC selections. In 2008, Marinaro captured the 100th win in school history.
The 2016 campaign was the most successful in program history as the team won the MAC Championship for the first time, and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Marinaro coached Jenna Hellstrom to the program’s first ever NSCAA All-America selection. Hellstrom was also named MAC Offensive Player of the Year, and was one of five Golden Flashes, along with Paige Culver, Donavan Capehart, Abbie Lawson and Brittany Maisano named All-MAC.
In 2015 the Golden Flashes logged an 11-6-3 record to finish second in the MAC East division. Marinaro guided three players to All-MAC selections in Jenna Hellstrom, Donovan Capehart and Paige Culver. Hellstrom and Culver were also earned NSCAA Women’s All-Great Lakes Region honors.
Marinaro guided the Golden Flashes to a stellar season in 2011. The squad captured the MAC East title, marking the team’s first conference trophy since back-to-back first-place finishes in 2003 and 2004.
The success does not end on the field for Marinaro and his team. The Golden Flashes have seen its share of academic success as well. Over the past five seasons, the Golden Flashes had 20 student-athletes recognized with Academic All-MAC honors and three Academic All-Americans. As a team, Kent State has been among the nation’s elite academically as noted by six consecutive NSCAA Team Academic Awards for being in amongst the Top-25 in the nation for team grade-point average.
After spending four seasons as the assistant coach of the Golden Flashes, Marinaro took over as bench boss in 2001 as the second head coach in team history. He quickly moved Kent State to the top of the MAC, winning back-to-back MAC regular season championships in 2003 and 2004 when the program posted a combined 23-9-8 (.675) record. The team has also captured a first place finish in the MAC East in 2011 and finished second in the division in 2012.
Defense has long been a focus for Marinaro’s Golden Flashes. In 2003, Kent State recorded a record-setting 11 shutouts in a season, and during the 2004 regular season championship season, Marinaro guided the Golden Flashes to an 11-4-5 mark, setting a school record for the fewest losses in a season. Kent State earned a share of the MAC crown, jumping from fourth place into a tie for first in the season’s final weekend, earning Marinaro his second straight MAC Coach of the Year nod.
Marinaro also mentored the MAC Freshman of the Year, Kimberly Dimitroff, the first Kent State player to earn a conference specialty award, while also becoming the first player in program history to earn All-Region honors. She was inducted into the Kent State “Varsity K” Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
The previous season, Marinaro guided Kent State to its best season in school history. The Golden Flashes earned their first MAC regular season title and Marinaro was named the MAC Coach of the Year, the first time a Kent State mentor has been honored. The Golden Flashes posted a school-record 8-2-2 mark in MAC games and posted a school-record 12-game unbeaten streak and a 10-game winning streak to go along with a league-record tying 11 shutouts.
Marinaro has become a household name at Kent State after being on the bench as an assistant coach for the first four years of the youthful program. He was promoted to head coach Jan. 1, 2001, after Colleen Marcum left the profession. One of the key builders of the Kent State soccer foundation, Marinaro has developed the program into a perennial winner in the MAC.
In his first four years as an assistant, Marinaro helped the Golden Flashes to a 34-38-4 overall record, including an 8-8-1 mark in 2000, and three .500 or better seasons. His primary duties as an assistant included working with the goalkeepers and defense as well as scouting and recruiting.
A goalkeeper by trade, Marinaro spent five seasons (1993-97) playing with various teams in the National Professional Soccer League, finishing his professional career with the Cleveland Crunch. He also played for the Harrisburg Heat, Buffalo Blizzard and Chicago Power. He was selected to the NPSL All-Rookie Team in 1994 and was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Power. Marinaro first played professionally with the Toronto Blizzard of the American Professional Soccer League from 1992-93. His brother Hector, currently the men’s soccer coach at John Carroll University, is the all-time leader in points and goals in Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) history.
In addition, Marinaro served as a coach for the Ohio State North team for the Olympic Development Program and was a member of the ODP Region II staff. He also worked at the Cleveland Crunch Summer Camps in 1995 and 1996. Currently, he is the director of coaching for the Stow Soccer Club.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Marinaro received his master’s degree in sports administration from Kent State in the summer of 2001. He graduated from Clemson University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in language and international trade and was a member of the Tigers’ 1987 national championship team.
Marinaro currently holds a United States Soccer Federation National “B” Coaching License.
He resides in Stow with his wife, Michele, and their son, Michael.