Stu Riddle just wrapped up his fourth season at the helm of the University at Buffalo men’s soccer program leading the Bulls to their second straight appearance in the MAC Championship match, becoming the first coach in program history to do so. Riddle has now led the Bulls to two straight winning seasons (8-7-4 in 2015 and 12-4-3 in 2016), marking the first time UB has done that since 2007-08.
Riddle has now qualified for the MAC Championship match in four of the last seven seasons as head coach (twice with Western Michigan and twice with UB). The Bulls also closed out the season with a RPI of 47, highest RPI to finish a season in program history. Buffalo also finished the season #4 in the Great Lakes Regional polls, highest finish in program history.
The 2016 campaign will go down as one of the most memorable in recent memory as the Bulls finished with a 12-4-3 overall record and a 2-1-2 MAC mark. The 12 wins were tied for most in a season since 2005 when the Bulls collected 14 wins. The Bulls started out the season 7-0-0 for the first time since 2005 while collecting six clean sheets through seven matches. Buffalo saw all four of their losses coming on the road including three against nationally-ranked opponents.
2016 was a record setting year for the Bulls as a team as they ranked third in program history in wins in a season (12), goals scored against (17), goals-against average (0.86) and assists (33) while ranking second in winning percentage (.711) and tied for first in shutouts in a season (10).
The Bulls had three players named to All-MAC squads as Russell Cicerone and David Enstrom earned the First Team nods while Nick Forrester collected Second Team honors for the second straight season. The three All-MAC players tied for the most in a season since 2008. Under Riddle's guidance, Russell Cicerone was able to earn First Team All-MAC honors for the fourth straight season, first player in UB history and third in MAC history to do so.
In 2015, the Bulls notched their first winning season (8-7-4) since 2008 as Riddle helped UB reach the MAC Championship match for the first time since 2007 after defeating his former team Western Michigan, 2-1, in overtime in the MAC Semifinal. It was only the third time UB has appeared in the MAC final in program history.
The team began to flourish in 2015 well before the regular season even began. The Bulls were fortunate enough to take a once in a lifetime trip to England to play some professional teams. The team grew as a cohesive unit on the Tour of England as they put together a perfect 4-0 record and returned with a renewed confidence.
Under Riddle’s watchful eye, the Bulls placed three players on MAC All-Conference squads in 2015, the highest total for UB since 2008. Russell Cicerone headlined the honorees as he was named first team All-MAC and MAC Player of the Year. Cicerone became just the second Bull in program history to be named MAC Player of the Year, joining Steve Butcher in 1999. He was also the first UB player in program history to earn first team All-MAC accolades in three straight seasons. Senior Marcus Hanson and sophomore transfer Nick Forrester were also named second team All-MAC players.
Prior to the 2015 campaign, Riddle was named as a 30 under 30 mentor for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The 30 under 30 program is a year-long education and mentorship opportunity for a select few up-and-comers who have made soccer coaching their careers of choice. This program was created to support fledgling coaches foster their growth at a crucial point in their vocation. Riddle is one of just 15 male participants.
In 2014, the youthful Bulls continued to make strides as they barely missed out on a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, posting a 1-2-2 MAC record. UB’s offense led the way as the Bulls scored 19 goals, their most since 2011.
Off the field the Bulls had their strongest semester in the classroom as they earned a team GPA of 3.374, giving them the highest average of any of the men’s teams at UB. Riddle also saw a program-record eight Bulls get named to the Academic All-MAC squad with Nicolai Berry, Waleed Cassis, Braden Culver, Marcus Hanson, Kristian Lee-Him, Nicolay Netskar, Ryan Pereira and Steven Stryker all earning a spot on the team.
Riddle restored WMU to one of the finest in the Mid-American Conference and Great Lakes Region during his tenure, making back-to-back appearances in the MAC Championship game in 2010 and 2011. Riddle led the Broncos to winning seasons in two of his four years, something that had only been done twice in the 15 seasons prior to his hiring.
In four seasons, Riddle went 33-36-9, had 10 all-conference selections, eight all-tournament team selections, six Academic All-MAC honorees and produced an individual NCAA statistical champion in goals per game. The 2012 Bronco squad (11-6-2) carried a 3.45 team Grade Point Average which was the second highest in NCAA Division I men’s soccer and fourth amongst all divisions combined.
Prior to joining the Broncos, Riddle helped guide Fairfield University to a 2008 NCAA Tournament appearance after defeating previously unbeaten and No. 6 nationally ranked Loyola to win the 2008 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament championship.
In 2008 Riddle also accepted the challenge of developing the Kalamazoo Outrage soccer program with its first season of competition coming that summer. The Outrage finished its inaugural campaign with a 10-7-1 record, beating perennial Premier Development League (PDL) powerhouses the Michigan Bucks and Chicago Fire in the PDL playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Thunder Bay Chill in the last eight of the competition.
Riddle spent two seasons as an assistant soccer coach at the University of Evansville, beginning with the 2005 campaign. In his second year with the Purple Aces the team posted a 9-8-0 record, only the program’s third winning season since 1997.
Riddle’s coaching resume also includes time as head coach for the Kalamazoo Kingdom PDL in 2006 where former LA Galaxy MLS midfielder Josh Tudela and 2006 National High School Player of the Year current Portland Timbers and U.S. National Team midfielder Eric Alexander spent a season playing under Riddle’s tutelage.
As a player, Riddle played collegiately at Coastal Carolina University where he was twice named team MVP and was an All-Big South Conference team member in 1997 and 1998. Riddle signed with New Zealand’s first-ever professional soccer team the Football Kingz in 1999 where he played with Oceania Player of the Century Wynton Rufer and with current San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) Assistant Coach Jason Batty.
Riddle went on to play professionally in England with Oxford City, Scotland with Greenock Morton and in Australia with Altona Magic. While at Greenock Morton, Riddle was coached by European Cup winner and former Liverpool and Scotland national team star Peter Cormack. He also played in the United States with the Des Moines Menace and West Michigan Edge in the PDL. As a youth player Riddle played alongside Washington head coach Jamie Clark for Western Suburbs FC as a guest player in New Zealand’s national under-19 tournament in which he was one of three nominations for Player of the Tournament.
Riddle made his international debut for the New Zealand Olympic All Whites in January 1996, appearing in a 2-0 victory over the Solomon Islands. He went on to play in four national team games under current University of Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark, highlighted by an appearance in a 1-0 victory over arch rivals Australia in Adelaide.
Riddle was born in Luton, England, but raised in Wellington, New Zealand. On Aug. 16, 2011, he was sworn in as a naturalized U.S. citizen during an oath ceremony in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Riddle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Coastal Carolina University and a Master of Science in Public Administration from the University of Evansville. He and his wife, Jessica, reside in Snyder. The couple has two daughters, Rylee Noelle (born March 16, 2010) and Nora Jane (born July 31, 2012).