Coach Sam Okpodu Resigns
Jerry Cheynet will serve as interim head coach in 2002
September 3, 2002

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced that women's head soccer coach Sam Okpodu has resigned to accept the position as chief coach of the Nigerian senior women's national team. Jerry Cheynet, who was named interim head coach of the Tech women's soccer team prior to the 2002 season, will direct the Hokies for the remainder of the fall.

Okpodu has served as head coach of Tech's women's soccer team since the program was elevated to varsity status in 1993. During his nine years directing the Hokies, the squad posted a 70-89-10 record.

"I have had a tremendous experience here at Virginia Tech. It is very difficult to leave this program," Okpodu stated. "I will always treasure my experiences here at Virginia Tech. I will miss all the friends I have made here at the university. I try to look at it as the opportunity to make more friends, not losing friends. No questions, I will stay in contact with my friends here.

"I have been offered a great opportunity to coach the Nigerian senior national team," Okpodu continued. "It will be a great challenge for me and an offer I could not refuse."

Okpodu will join the Super Falcons immediately in preparation for the 2003 Women's World Cup to be held in China. In addition to his role as chief coach of the national team, Okpodu will assist the Nigerian Football Association as the technical director for developmental leagues throughout Nigeria.

This past summer Okpodu, a native of Warri, Nigeria, served as the head coach of the Super Falcons as the team prepared for a friendly match with international power England. Okpodu guided the team to a 1-0 victory in the match that kicked off the Commonwealth Games and Queen's Jubilee celebration in Norwich City, England.

From Aug. 15 to Sept. 1, Okpodu served as the technical director/general manager of the U19 Nigerian national team in the inaugural FIFA U19 Women's World Championships held in Canada. During Okpodu's absence, Cheynet was appointed interim head coach of the Tech women's soccer team and coached the team in the season opener at Notre Dame on Sept. 1.

Prior to his coaching career, Okpodu was a standout player at North Carolina State. As a member of the Wolfpack, he earned first team All-America honors three times and helped guide his team to three NCAA Tournament appearances. Okpodu, who was recently named to the Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Team, still owns the ACC records for career points (191) and career goals (78).

Cheynet has been associated with Tech athletics for 28 years. Most recently he served as head men's coach from 1973-2001. Cheynet also had stints as head golf coach (1980-83) and head wrestling coach (1975-95).

Upon the conclusion of the season, Virginia Tech will conduct a national search for a head coach.