George Gelnovatch is in his 18th season as the head coach of the Virginia men's soccer program.
A former Cavalier soccer All-American and assistant coach, Gelnovatch has led UVa to the 2009 NCAA Championship, three NCAA College Cup appearances, four ACC tournament titles, two regular season ACC championships, 17-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and an overall record of 247-100-33 during his tenure as UVa head coach.
Virginia has won at least 15 games in a season nine times under Gelnovatch, including 2009 when the team recorded 19 victories en route to the conference and national championships.
With a team that routinely started six freshmen and nine underclassmen, Gelnovatch guided Virginia to the program's 32nd-consecutive NCAA tournament berth in 2012 as UVa posted a 10-7-4 record. UVa boasts the current longest streak of NCAA tournament appearances in Division I.
In 2009 Gelnovatch guided the Cavaliers to the ACC championship before taking the team on a classic run through the NCAA tournament, culminating with a thrilling shootout win over Akron in the NCAA Championship Game for UVa's sixth NCAA title.
Two Cavaliers, midfielder Tony Tchani and goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, were named first team All-Americans in 2009, while Will Bates was named the National Freshman of the Year. Gelnovatch, meanwhile, earned National Coach of the Year honors at the conclusion of the season.
Tchani was selected in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft to continue a strong pipeline of prominent soccer talent from Charlottesville to the professional ranks under Gelnovatch.
In 2006, Gelnovatch led the Cavaliers to their eighth College Cup appearance. UVa finished with a 17-4-1 overall record and a third-place showing in the ACC. Junior midfielder Nico Colaluca earned first-team All-America honors from College Soccer News.
Gelnovatch had another successful season in 2005 as he guided the Cavaliers to a second place finish in the ACC. Three Cavaliers earned All-ACC honors in 2005 as freshman forward Yannick Reyering was named First Team All-ACC and an ACC All-Freshmen team selection, while forward Adam Cristman and midfielder Nico Colaluca earned All-ACC Second Team honors.
In 2004, he led UVa to its sixth consecutive appearance in the ACC Championship Finals, where the Cavaliers were crowned conference champions for the third time during his tenure. Virginia made another deep run in NCAA Tournament advancing to the quarterfinal round. Following the 2004 season, Gelnovatch was honored as the 2004 NSCAA/adidas South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
In 2003, the Cavaliers turned in a record of 11-10-2 overall. Though the season marked the lowest win total for any single season under Gelnovatch's tenure, the Cavaliers saved their best performances for last as the season also proved to be one of the more successful postseasons for UVa. Gelnovatch led Virginia to its first ACC Championship since 1997 and kept alive its consecutive streak of NCAA Tournament appearance by advancing to the NCAA Third Round.
In 2002 after his team finished the season 15-7-0, Gelnovatch watched four of his players step into the professional ranks to pursue playing careers in Major League Soccer, including the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy Award winner and National Player of the Year nominee - Alecko Eskandarian. Eskandarian became the eventual No. 1 pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft and was joined in the draft by teammates David Comfort, Kenny Arena and Jacob LeBlanc.
Gelnovatch has developed a number of Major League Soccer players during his 14 years at Virginia. He has watched two of his former players become the No. 1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft with Eskandarian's selection in 2003 and Jason Moore's selection in 1999. Both players were chosen by D.C. United. Former UVa All-American Kyle Martino was a first-round choice in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft and Matt Chulis was also first-round selection in 1999. In all, a total of 18 Cavaliers who have played for Gelnovatch have been drafted in the MLS, including Chris Albright, a 1998 first-team NSCAA All-American.
In 2001, Gelnovatch guided UVa through a magical regular season. He led Virginia to its first undefeated regular season since 1986 after going 16-0-1 overall, 6-0-0 in the ACC. More impressive than going undefeated in the conference, the Cavaliers became the first ACC team to ever go undefeated in the league after winning all of its games by shutout. Gelnovatch was named the ACC Coach of the Year and the VaSID Coach of the Year in 2001 after his Cavaliers finished the season 17-2-1. It marked the second time he was honored with the awards after also being named the Virginia Division I Men's Coach of the Year in 1998 and the ACC Coach of the Year in 1996.
In 2000, Gelnovatch led the Cavaliers to a 17-6-1 mark and a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Virginia entered the tournament as the fifth-seeded team after playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, a signature of Gelnovatch's tenure at Virginia.
In 1999, UVa finished 14-9-1 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals and the ACC Finals.
In 1998, Virginia finished 16-4-3 overall, advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and Gelnovatch had two players named as finalists for the MAC Award and two players named finalists for the Hermann Trophy.
In 1997, the Cavaliers recorded the most wins ever under Gelnovatch (19), which ranks as the third highest win total in a single season at UVa after the Cavaliers posted an overall record of 19-4-3. Virginia finished as the NCAA runner-up after falling in the championship game. UVa won the ACC Tournament title, outscoring its opponents by the count of 8-1 in three games. The Cavaliers also earned a share of the ACC regular season title, finishing with a 3-1-2 mark in conference games.
Gelnovatch was named the 10th coach of the Virginia program on Jan. 3, 1996, after Bruce Arena announced he would end his 18-year career at the helm of UVa soccer to become head coach and assistant general manager of Major League Soccer's D.C. United.
In 1996, Gelnovatch guided his team to an overall record of 16-3-3 and an ACC regular season title. His 16 victories were the most ever by a first-year coach at Virginia with his .795 winning percentage also being the best by a UVa coach in his first season. Gelnovatch also became the first-ever Cavalier men's soccer coach to lead his squad to the NCAA Tournament during his first year on the job. He was honored as the 1996 ACC Coach of the Year thanks to that feat.
Gelnovatch's first coaching position at Virginia began in 1989 when he became a part-time assistant and he helped guide the Cavaliers to a share of the NCAA title and then an outright national championship in 1991. He was promoted to Arena's top assistant in June 1992 and helped the program complete its unprecedented four-year run of national championships (1991-94) and a record-setting campaign in 1995, which included just the second unbeaten regular season (16-0-2) by any ACC team in 14 years. Virginia finished with a 21-1-2 record in 1995 after losing to Duke 3-2 in the NCAA semifinals.
During Gelnovatch's years as an assistant, the UVa program compiled a record of 25-2-2 in the NCAA Tournament and a mark of 37-4-4 in the entire postseason (including the ACC Tournament). Virginia compiled an overall record of 138-18-14 (.853 winning percentage) during Gelnovatch's tenure as an assistant coach. Since becoming a part of the UVa coaching staff, Gelnovatch has helped recruit some of the greatest players to ever wear a Cavalier uniform. In the past 15 years (1990-2004), Virginia has welcomed numerous high school All-Americans which have gone on to post All-American seasons on the collegiate level, with many more likely to come. Among the players that Gelnovatch helped recruit as a UVa assistant coach are National Players of the Year Mike Fisher and Ben Olsen and five players who competed for the U.S. in the 1996 Olympic games: Clint Peay, A.J. Wood, Brandon Pollard, Damian Silvera and Billy Walsh.
Gelnovatch graduated from Virginia in 1987 after playing a vital role on Cavalier teams that went 67-14-4 (.812) from 1983-86. He still ranks fifth on UVa's career scoring list (118 points) and fifth on the school's career goals list (49). From 1983-85, he teamed with UVa's second all-time leading scorer Jeff Gaffney to form one of the most potent forward tandems in Cavalier history. As a senior in 1986, Gelnovatch became UVa's third first-team All-American, while earning first-team All-ACC honors after being selected to the conference second-team his first three seasons. UVa made four NCAA Tournament appearances and captured three ACC championships during Gelnovatch's collegiate years.
Following his collegiate career, Gelnovatch was drafted by the Minnesota Strikers of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). His playing career also included three years in the American Professional Soccer League (APSL) from 1990-92, and a stint as a starting defender for Arena's D.C. United team in 1996.
Gelnovatch has rejoined Arena on several occasions, including as an assistant coach with the United States National Team in the 2002 World Cup. The U.S. team made a valiant run into the quarterfinal round of the World Cup and finished 2-2-1 in the event. In 1999, he was appointed to coach the Under-18 United States National Team.
A native of Wall, N.J., Gelnovatch earned prep All-America honors while playing for Wall High School. He is married to the former Melissa Sanders. The couple has two children, Jake and Sunny.