Jim Stone, entering his 19th season as head coach in 2020, is the winningest coach in Bemidji State University soccer history. Prior to his arrival in 2002, BSU had an overall record of 13-80-3. In the 17 seasons since, his BSU teams have accounted for over 92 percent (185) of the program’s total victories (198), which includes a program-record 18 wins (18-1-2) in 2018. Stone led the Beavers to their first national ranking and NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 2017 and first win in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2018, while the Beavers have missed the NSIC Tournament just one time in the last 13 seasons.
Stone inherited a 4-12-1 squad in 2002 and quickly put the building blocks in place for success. Stone’s 2004 team assembled the program’s first double-digit win total, with an overall record of 11-12-0, and made a run to the NSIC Tournament semifinals in the Beavers’ first appearance in the postseason event. BSU’s 12-4-7 record in 2005 left the team above the .500 mark for the first time and since has assembled a string of 13 consecutive seasons at .500 or above and an overall record of 185-118-31 (.600).
A four-time NSIC Coach of the Year (2005, 2016, 2017, and 2018), Stone has the highest win percentage of any head coach in BSU history, along with the most wins (185). He is also the only coach in BSU soccer history with a winning record in conference play at 123-70-20 (.624). The Beavers moved into the national forefront with a program-best No. 3 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II poll Oct. 16, 2018.
Under Stone’s guidance, BSU has garnered 66 All-NSIC selections, including 26 first-team picks and 2010 NSIC Player of the Year Ashlee Ellefsen and back-to-back Offensive Player of the Year Rachel Norton (2017 and 2018), and 39 student-athletes have been selected for all-region honors. In addition, Stone’s program has produced four All-Americans to total five honors. BSU garnered its first-ever All-American honor in 2005 when the NSCAA recognized goalkeeper Kari Torgerson. Ellefsen became its second in 2008, while the Division II Conference Commissioners Association selected Miranda Famestad to its All-America First Team to cap the 2017 season. In 2018 Norton became the first Beaver in program history to earn two All-America honors after being selected to the United Soccer Coaches and the Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-American Teams.
In 2017 the Beavers had a program-record seven players named on the All-NSIC Team and swept the league’s individual awards as Norton was named Offensive Player of the Year, Famestad was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, Catherine Arneson earned Goaltender of the Year, Allyson Smith got the Freshman of the Year nod and Jim Stone was named Coach of the Year. The Beavers again placed a record seven players on the All-NSIC Team in 2018 with three individual awards as Norton took Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, Anna Fobbe was named Goalkeeper of the Year and Stone became the first coach in league history to be named Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons.
Stone’s teams have also excelled in the classroom, several times being recognized with the NSCAA College Team Academic Award, while individually, his student-athletes earned multiple CoSIDA Academic All-District honors including Anna Fobbe, Dani Nelson, Tia Neuharth, Raquel Thelen, Brianna Duff, Erin Foss, Megan Wallner, Alysha Domiano, Tiffany VanHaaften, and Cristina Egnell. In addition, three athletes have been named CoSIDA Academic All-America: Cristina Egnell in 2005, Sarah Stram in 2016, Arneson in 2017, and Fobbe in 2018. In addition, Fobbe was selected for the NSIC’s prestigious Elite 18 award in 2017.
Before his arrival at BSU, Stone served as head girl’s varsity soccer coach at Spring Lake Park High School during fall 2001. He also coached in the Wings Soccer Club, which is now the Minnesota Thunder Academy.
In the college ranks, Stone spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons as an assistant coach with both the men’s and women’s programs at Augsburg College. Stone has also been involved with the Fargo Shanley High School boys’ team (1998), Red River High School girls’ team (1997), and Fargo North High School junior varsity squad (1997).
Stone, a 1998 graduate of Concordia (Minn.) College, captained the Concordia men’s soccer team in 1997. He earned Honorable Mention All-MIAC honors in 1997 and helped lead Concordia to MIAC Championships in 1995 and 1996. In 1996, Stone and the Cobbers reached the round of 16 at the NCAA Division III national tournament.
Additionally, Stone holds a Premier Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, a National “B” License, and a national youth license from the United States Soccer Federation. Stone also holds a Level I goalkeeper diploma from the NSCAA, that instructs coaches on the nuances of training the goalkeeper position.
Stone has also invested in the development of the youth soccer program in Bemidji, coaching for the past eight years and serving as one of the program’s Directors of Coaching.
The St. Paul, Minn., native resides in Bemidji with his wife Heather. They have two daughters, Alyse and Miah, and one son Isaac.