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New coach aims to build on success

Women's soccer coach Mark Krikorian has enjoyed success at the college level, the professional ranks and, most recently, on the world stage with the U.S. under-19 team.

Next up: Florida State.

Krikorian, 44, was named Wednesday as the Seminoles coach, taking over for Patrick Baker, who built the program into a national powerhouse in his six seasons before leaving for Georgia last month.

Why FSU? "That's easy. It's the commitment to excellence," Krikorian said from his Philadelphia home. "The facilities are second to none. The commitment to the student-athletes' academic success is second to none. Everything I saw down there made me believe that all of the success they've had down there in Tallahassee, in all of the sports, is deserved. I'm flattered to be able to go there and participate in that and join them."

His first issue will be to make sure the returning players and prospects understand that he intends to "continue and build upon the success that coach Baker and his staff started."

A tall order. The Seminoles have reached the NCAA Tournament the past five seasons, including a run to the national semifinals in 2003. Graduation claimed star central midfielder Camee Bybee, defenders Katie Beal and Marion Cagle, midfielder Jez Ratliff and goalkeeper Joy McKenzie. Sophomore forward Julia Schnugg, the leading scorer, has left to be closer to home in California.

But there's a solid nucleus back with forward Leah Gallegos, midfielder India Trotter and defender Kelly Rowland, all of whom will be All-America candidates.

Krikorian himself knows how to win, big. He compiled a 93-19-2 record in six seasons at Franklin Pierce College (N.H.), which included the 1994 and '95 Division II national championships, and was 75-30-3 in five seasons at Hartford, which included three NCAA Tournament berths. He then led the Philadelphia Charge to two WUSA playoff appearances in three years and was the league's 2002 coach of the year.

Eleven months ago, he took over the under-19 women's national team that finished third at the FIFA world championships in November in Bangkok, Thailand.

"Having Mark Krikorian accept our offer to become the head coach of our women's soccer program is certainly cause for much excitement and anticipation," athletic director Dave Hart said. "He is an accomplished teacher, coach and recruiter who will build on the success which Patrick Baker generated during his outstanding tenure at Florida State."

JERSEY GIRL: Volleyball and basketball standout Nikki Anthony had her high school jersey retired last week, joining a select group of Pickens County (S.C.) athletes to be so honored: former NFL players Rudy Hayes and Stanley Morgan; and basketball great Pete Maravich.

A few days later, Anthony, a redshirt freshman center, went out and had a career day with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and nine rebounds in Sunday's ACC win against visiting Miami.

"It hasn't sunk in," she said of the honor. "I was the first girl and it took a lot of people fighting to get the regulations passed (for women's athletics)."

Anthony will be back in South Carolina tonight as the Seminoles meet ACC rival Clemson. She expects several hundred of her family, friends and people from her hometown to fill the stands. Along with the family of junior guard LaQuinta Neely (Laurens, S.C.), FSU should see a lot of garnet and gold.

"I'm so excited," Anthony said. "I'm really pumped."

ALL-STAR EXPOSURE: Dominic Robinson will join fellow senior receiver Chauncey Stovall in Saturday's East-West Shrine Classic football game in San Francisco.

TRACK NEWCOMERS: The women's track team, which competes Saturday at the Florida Intercollegiates in Gainesville, should get a boost from the midseason addition of standout jumper Alyce Williams and steeplechaser Barbara Parker. Williams, a junior from Flagler Palm Coast High, was a 2004 indoor All-American at George Mason. Parker, a junior, is a two-time gold medalist in the under-23 3,000-meter steeplechase in England.

Times staff writer Brian Landman covers Florida State. Reach him at (813) 226-3347 or