Having established himself as one of the most prominent coaches in the Central Region, John Hedlund has molded the Mean Green soccer program into one of the nation's elite. The only head coach in program history, Hedlund has amassed 314 career wins, which ranks him 19th all-time among Division I head coaches.
Hedlund has had a winning season all 22 years at North Texas; only Anson Dorrance (North Carolina, 38 years), John Daly (William & Mary, 35 years) and G Guerrieri (Texas A&M, 24 years) have active streaks of more winning seasons at one school. Since 1995, Hedlund has led North Texas to a 314-120-27 record (71.0 percent), the 13th-best winning percentage among active Division I coaches
On Aug. 19, 2016, Hedlund became the 20th NCAA Division I women's soccer coach to reach 300 career wins with a season-opening 4-0 victory against Incarnate Word.
Hedlund continued his winning tradition in his 22nd season. He started the season by capturing his 300th career win and finished it by leading the Mean Green to their third straight Conference USA regular-season conference title. The Mean Green went 9-1 in conference play, only the second time that a North Texas team has won nine league games. North Texas earned the No. 1 seed in the Conference USA Championship but ultimately lost in the semifinals.
Hedlund is the winningest coach in any sport in the history of North Texas athletics. His twelve total conference championships leads all North Texas sports in the recent era.
Rachel Holden became just the third Mean Green player to earn all-conference honors four years in a row. The forward finished her career ranking in the top 10 at North Texas in goals and points.
North Texas continued its winning ways at home, setting a school record with a 17-game consecutive win streak, dating back to the 2015 season. The Mean Green also continued their unbeaten streak at home against conference opponents to 39 games, tied for the longest in the nation.
The 2015 season might go down as the best team in program history. The Mean Green won a school-record 19 games, en route to winning back-to-back regular season titles. The team won its first Conference USA tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in school history. The 2015 team was ranked as high as No. 3 in the central region and received votes in the national poll throughout the season.
Hedlund guided the program into the Conference USA era in 2013, and earned the league's No. 2 seed and a trip to the C-USA title game. It took three tries but the Mean Green finally won its first Conference USA Championship in 2015.
The 2014 team tied a program record with 16 wins, set a single-season record with 14 shutouts and claimed its ninth conference championship with the regular-season title.
Hedlund has coached 76 all-conference players since 1999, including the 2015 C-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Year and Midfielder of the Year. His players have won three Sun Belt Player of the Year awards and four Sun Belt Freshmen of the Year awards. In the three years in Conference USA, Hedlund has coached two offensive players of the year, one defensive, midfielder and freshman players of the year.
He has won three Sun Belt Coach of the Year awards, the latest in 2011. He has been recognized as the North Texas Coach of the Year by the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas All Sports Association, and the Greater Denton Sports Commission two years in a row.
Hedlund started the program from scratch in 1995 by implementing a game plan that emphasizes recruiting from the surplus of talent available in the Lone Star State.
In 2007, Hedlund led North Texas to its best start in school history with a 13-2 record through the first 15 games. Within the first 15 games the Mean Green had two six-game winning streaks for the first time in school history. North Texas reached the conference tournament championship game for the eighth straight season, a feat that has been unmatched by any other in the Sun Belt Conference.
Hedlund led the Mean Green to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a school-record 16 wins in 2004. Hedlund equaled that performance by winning 16 games and leading the Mean Green to back-to-back SBC titles in 2005 and a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Hedlund was also named the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. In 2005, North Texas set numerous school records and had the nation's third longest unbeaten streak at 15 games.
At home, North Texas has established a record of dominance with a record of 167-26-12, including a 90-13-6 mark in 10 seasons at the Mean Green Soccer Complex.
Individually Hedlund brought out the best in forward Marilyn Marin as she turned in the best individual season in North Texas history in 2002. Marin led the nation in goals, points, and points per game. She ended her career with 214 career points, tied for 10th in NCAA history, 88 goals, eight in NCAA history, 2.70 points per game, tied for seventh in NCAA history, and 1.11 goals per game, tied for eighth in NCAA history.
His standard for success began in 2001 when he guided the Mean Green to the Sun Belt Conference's regular-season championship -- the program's first-ever soccer title -- and a 13-5 overall record.
In 13 years in the Sun Belt Conference the Mean Green earned the respect of the league's coaches. NT garnered 47 all-conference selections, including 35 first-team all-conference nods.
Marin, Holden and Kendall Juett are the only four-time all-conference selections in North Texas soccer history. Heather Hutyra became the second player at North Texas to the named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. Under Hedlund's guidance, four of his players have also been chosen Freshman All-America, including Marin as a first team pick in 2000. Freshman Janaye Woods joined that list she was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and named to the Freshman All-Region team in 2007.
Five women's soccer players have been inducted to the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame. Krista Davey was the first soccer player to be inducted in 2005, followed by Christy Johnson in 2007 and Marilyn Marin in 2008. Melinda Pina was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, and Heather Hutyra joined them in 2013.
Under Hedlund, the Mean Green have also succeeded in the classroom, boasting an overall 3.4 team GPA in 2000 and twice being named the school's All-Academic Team in 1998 and 1999.
The team was recognized for its off-field accomplishments by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as one of the recipients for the 2010 and 2014 NSCAA Team Academic Award. The NSCAA annually hands out the academic honor to Division I schools whose team grade point average is a 3.0 or higher. The Mean Green posted a team grade-point average of 3.22 for the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, the women's soccer team's APR (Academic Progress Report) has been ranked in the top 10% nationally three out of the last five years.
Hedlund's association with North Texas began in 1990 as an assistant men's soccer coach. He served briefly as the head coach of the men's program in 1994 before the university discontinued the sport.
In 1995, Hedlund concluded a 12-year professional playing career, in which he played defender for the United States Men's Olympic qualifying team (1983-84), the New York Express (1984-85), the Dallas Sidekicks (1986-87 and 1992-95) and the Dallas Rockets (1988-91).
In four seasons with the Sidekicks, he scored 15 goals in 78 games over four seasons, and ranks 19th in team history in shots blocked and 33rd in games played. He was a member of the 1986-87 and 1993 Sidekicks championship teams, blocking a total of 20 shots during his playoff career, the 12th-most in Sidekicks history. He scored five goals in the 1994 CISL playoffs for the Sidekicks, and ranks 20th in club history in playoff goals.
In the outdoor game, Hedlund played with the Richardson Rockets, who won the 1991 SISL Championship and reached the 1991 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. Hedlund helped the Rockets reach new heights in American soccer by reaching the fourth round of the 1992 CONCACAF Champions Cup. The Dallas Rocketswere one of only three United States teams to reach the fourth round of the Champions Cup in the pre-Major League Soccerera (1969-1994), but fell in the fourth round to Club America in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.He played with the United States Olympic team under Manfred Schellscheidt in the lead up to the 1984 Summer Olympics, but missed the Olympic Tournament due to injury. With the United States, Hedlund played tournaments in South Korea, Sweden, Finland and Malaysia.
A four-year letterwinner at Midwestern State University, Hedlund was twice voted to the NAIA All-America team in college. He scored 26 goals and added 12 assists, playing several different positions on the pitch. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the 1983 NAIA National Tournament, as he led the Mustangs to the championship game. He is a member of Midwestern State's Athletic Hall of Honor.
The Plano native holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Midwestern State and resides in Argyle with his wife, Julie. They have two sons: Chad, who played football at Wake Forest and SMU and Cole, who currently plays football at Arkansas after setting the national high school football record for field goals made for Argyle High School in 2011.