The dichotomy of Todd Elkins

In his first year as head coach of both men’s and women’s soccer, Todd Elkins is guiding both teams toward an NAIA tournament birth.



Coach Todd Elkins stands patiently on the sideline as his women’s soccer team battles Arizona Christian on October 29. Elkins coaches both men and women’s teams for Biola. | Natalie Lockard/THE CHIMES

Tyler Gunhus, Writer

Coach Todd Elkins stands patiently on the sideline as his women's soccer team battles Arizona Christian on October 29. Elkins coaches both men and women's teams for Biola. | Natalie Lockard/THE CHIMES


It was the hardest possible game they could play. The challenges facing the men’s soccer team were plentiful — they were playing their biggest rival, on the opponent’s senior night, in the middle of the day, with a coach who recently took on the men’s team in addition to the women’s.

“That’s kinda the worst possible scenario,” sophomore midfielder John Hanscom said.

Todd Elkins, head coach, needed this victory over Concordia University Irvine on Saturday. Thanks to the new play tactics he had been teaching the guys all season, they won.

Maybe the balance of both teams isn’t so bad after all.

Taking on two teams

Last spring, Elkins took on a new role within Biola athletics: heading up both the men’s and women’s soccer programs. While this is a huge task to undertake, the success of both programs shows that Elkins can handle the challenge.

Elkins is no stranger to Biola soccer, having been the women’s coach for the past five years.

He inherited a struggling program in 2008 after serving as an assistant coach for several years. In his first season, his team went 5-7-3. His team continued to improve, moving to over .500 the next two years.

Last year, he guided the team to a 12-7-1 finish, taking third in the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Eagles won back-to-back games in the GSAC tournament and reached the finals for the first time in program history.

Elkins meshing well

Elkins has clearly shown the ability be successful as a women’s coach over the past few years, but men’s soccer has its differences. There were questions of whether or not he could translate his success to the men’s stage.

“In spring, we all were in the same boat and knew it was going to be a little different,” senior forward Carlos Ballesteros said. “Overall its been a big team effort, and I think Coach Todd fits in well.”

Men’s soccer is currently ranked No. 22 in the nation, with a record of 12-3-1. They sit second in the GSAC and have victories over high-profile teams such as Azusa Pacific University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and conference rival Concordia University Irvine.

“Last season we were a lot more direct and faster paced. This season, we’ve possessed a lot better and developed our attack a lot more,” Hanscom said. “I think that’s something that Todd has been doing really well, that he’s given us this style of play that is really enjoyable.”

Women’s team ranked but slipping

The biggest question coming into the season was whether or not Elkins could handle balancing both teams. Would the attention he needed to give to men’s soccer take away from his women’s team?

On Tuesday night, the women answered the question with a 7-0 thrashing of Arizona Christian University at home.

Senior midfielder Victoria Dalla Zanna scored a hat trick and added an assist to cap off the final home game of the regular season.

The win officially clinched Biola’s place in the GSAC tournament. The women have been ranked several times throughout the year, but they recently slipped from national recognition due to a slew of GSAC losses.

Double-duty in post-season play

On the administration end, athletic director Dave Holmquist expressed confidence in Elkins following his hiring and still believes he is the man for the job.

“I feel that Todd has done a very good job at coaching both teams,” Holmquist said.

Elkins’ double-duty position may be temporary, Holmquist said.

“In the long run, it’s not ideal to have one head coach for two teams. In the future, we’d like to have a head coach for each team,” Holmquist said.

Ultimately, both teams came into the season looking to make the post-season. Todd Elkins got them there.

The true test, though, for both him and his teams will be seeing how far into the playoff this head coach can take them.

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