SANTA CLARA -- Santa Clara has extended the contract of Broncos women's soccer coach Jerry Smith for seven years, with a three-year option controlled by him.
Smith, 53, who has a career record of 410-126-52 over 27 seasons, accepted the deal after considering an offer from Notre Dame.
He will also head a newly formed Jerry Smith Coaching for Life Academy, which will kickoff in the summer and focus on leadership skills training.
"My family and I are very excited about this new contract and new opportunities for us," said Smith, who is married to Brandi Chastain, the former U.S. national team star and volunteer assistant for the Broncos. "It's been a rough couple of weeks with us contemplating some decisions and other opportunities, but all along, we're Broncos, and we're now Broncos for life."
Smith said he was "close" to heading to Notre Dame. He was the No. 1 candidate for a position that popped open when longtime Irish coach Randy Waldrum resigned on Jan. 3. Smith took a trip to South Bend, Ind., and met with administrators.
He said the length of his new deal was borne out of his discussions with Notre Dame.
"We never wanted to leave Santa Clara University," Smith said. "But Notre Dame is a very unique opportunity, and it was an opportunity that was very clearly afforded to me. My family and I had to make a decision. We hunkered down on Sunday night. It was a long process and an arduous process and a stressful process. Ultimately, we came to a right decision for our family."
Smith's players are thrilled with his decision to stay put.
"It's a really big deal," said Broncos junior midfielder Sofia Huerta. "When he told us he'd signed a new contract, we were all very excited because we know how much he loves the program."
Huerta describes Smith as an "amazing coach" with a deep understanding of all aspects of soccer.
"He's knowledgeable about the sport, so the team never questions what he has to say. He gives us confidence in ourselves," Huerta said. "Besides that, he cares a lot and he's very passionate. He loves Santa Clara. A new team comes every year, and he's very passionate about raising that team to the level of Santa Cara soccer."
Smith's high-scoring Broncos finished 16-4-2 last season and were co-champions in the West Coast Conference. Santa Clara lost in penalty kicks to Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
The Broncos have advanced to the NCAA tournament 25 times under Smith, who resides in San Jose with Chastain. His oldest son, Cameron Smith, is a third-year law student at Santa Clara.
Smith has led the Broncos to the 2001 national championship, the Final Four 10 times and 10 WCC championships. He was national coach of the year in 2001.
He said he chose essentially a 10-year deal because his youngest son, Jaden, 7, will have graduated high school at that time.