Richard Mulrooney enters his sixth season in 2019 as the Tigers head coach with a 32-40-15 career record. The former Major League Soccer and United States Men’s National Team player was named the program’s fourth head coach on Feb. 25, 2014.
The Memphis, Tenn., native returned to his hometown in January of 2013 when he was named a Tigers assistant coach under then-head coach Richie Grant. He served as an assistant for one season before being promoted to his current position.
A new high-point was established for Mulrooney and the Tigers in 2018. David Zalzman and Ben Roberts repeated as All-AAC performers, this season claiming first team spots, and the team ushered in a first for the program in 2018. After finishing the regular season tied for fifth in the AAC standings, the Tigers faced USF in the opening round after falling to the Bulls in the season finale. Undeterred, Memphis went to the host city of Orlando, Fla., and took a 3-1 win, marking the first AAC Championship tournament win as a member of The American. Mulrooney's squad also saw Gurman Sangha earn an all-rookie team spot.
The 2017 season saw Mulrooney land two Second-Team All-Conference players in David Zalzman and Ben Roberts. Zalzman led the Tigers with seven points on two goals and three assists. Roberts tied with Zalzman for leading goal scorer on the squad with two scores to his name.
In 2016, Mulrooney and his staff guided freshman Jackson Morse (All-Rookie) and senior Raul Gonzalez (Second-Team) to All-Conference recognition. Gonzalez finished his Memphis career with three All-Conference nods. Morse led the team with six goals and was tabbed a Top 100 Freshman by Top Drawer Soccer.
In Mulrooney’s first two seasons at the helm, he led the Tigers to the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament. Following his first win as head coach, 2-1 over SIU-Edwardsville, he took down his first ranked opponent, No. 15 Saint Louis. The Tigers hammered the Billikens, 4-0, in Mulrooney’s third game as head coach.
Gonzalez was named a first team All-Conference selection in 2015 after leading the team with 16 points and seven goals.
Forward Hector Cantele had a great first season at Memphis under Mulrooney and was named to the American Conference’s All-Rookie team after he led the Tigers with seven goals.
In his one season as an assistant, Mulrooney helped the Tigers program transition to the American Athletic Conference from Conference USA. In its inaugural season in The American, Memphis posted an overall winning record (9-8-1) and earned a conference tournament berth.
Mulrooney also aided in player development and had some earn postseason accolades. Mark Sherrod was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America third team for the second time in his illustrious career, becoming the first Tigers player to receive All-America distinction two times or more. Sherrod and Liam Collins both earned all-conference honors, and Gonzalez was named to The American All-Rookie Team.
The Tigers, with Mulrooney on staff, also made their mark in the classroom. The squad has earned the NSCAA Academic Team Award, and Sherrod, Cody Uzcategui, and Chandler Klemm have received national academic recognition. After the 2016-17 season, Mulrooney’s Tigers finished with a 3.57 team GPA, the highest mark in program history.
Mulrooney wasn’t completely new to the collegiate coaching ranks when he joined the Tigers in January of 2013. He previously served as a volunteer assistant on head coach Bret Simon’s staff at Stanford University in 2001 and 2002, helping the Cardinal advance to consecutive NCAA College Cups. Stanford lost to North Carolina in the 2001 NCAA semifinal round and dropped the 2002 NCAA title match to UCLA.
From 2003-05, he was director of the Coach Mulrooney Soccer Academy Camps located in San Jose, Calif. Additionally, he coached the De Anza Force Select Club team (San Jose, Calif.) from 1999-2004.
At the same time he was coaching on the West Coast, Mulrooney started a lengthy, 12-year Major League Soccer (MLS) career. As a player in MLS from 1999-2011, Mulrooney starred for the San Jose Clash/Earthquakes (1999-2004), FC Dallas (2005-06) and, most recently, the Houston Dynamo (2007-10).
Mulrooney was a member of three MLS Cup-winning teams (2001, 2003, 2007) and was a three-time MLS All-Star selection (2002, 2004, 2006). He was named the MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2006. On May 18, 2019, the former San Jose Earthquake was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. As a midfelder for the Earthquakes, Mulrooney tallied four goals and 45 assists, the second-most assists in Earthquakes’ history. A twotme All-Star, he led the club to both of its MLS Cup championships, winning in 2001 and 2003.
Mulrooney also saw time with the United States National Team from 2001-04, with 14 appearances in the squad’s 2002 Gold Cup win. He made the 2002 U.S. World Cup team as an alternate.
Prior to his MLS career, Mulrooney was a collegiate standout at Creighton University from 1995-98. He helped lead the Blue Jays to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1996 College Cup (national semifinal). Creighton posted a combined 63-17-6 four-year record, including an impressive 19-2-3 mark in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play. Mulrooney’s teams won two MVC regular-season titles and three league tournament championships.
As for individual honors, Mulrooney earned NSCAA All-America first team (1998), NSCAA All-Midwest Region twice (1997, 1998), MVC Player of the Year (1998) and All-MVC first team three times (1996, 1997, 1998) honors.
Mulrooney, a 2018 Tennessee State Soccer Association Hall of Fame inductee and 2008 Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, still holds the school’s career record with 51 assists. His 51 career assists are 15 more than the No. 2 player in school history, and he posted 16 assists in a season twice in his career (1996, 1998).
Mulrooney earned a degree in marketing from Creighton in 2005.
Before his stellar collegiate career, Mulrooney was an All-America performer at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. He was named a Soccer America “Super 11 Recruit” and one of USA Today’s “Top-25 Seniors” in 1994. Mulrooney also played on the winning South Team at the 1995 Puma Cup and was a member of the United States Under-20 National Team.
Mulrooney is married to the former Shelley Steinwand, and they have two boys, Hayden and Logan.