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By ESPN Staff

Ficken retires as Columbia's soccer coach

NEW YORK -- Dieter Ficken retired Thursday as Columbia's soccer coach after leading the team to eight Ivy League titles and two NCAA Final Four appearances in 27 seasons.

Ficken took over the Lions after John Rennie left for Duke following the 1978 season and led Columbia to the NCAA semifinals in his first year. He was national coach of the year in 1983 after the Lions went 18-1, losing the NCAA final to Indiana in double overtime.

Columbia won the Ivy League in his first seven seasons and in 1993. The Lions finished last in the league this season at 1-6 and were 4-12-1 overall. He came to Columbia from Long Island University and had a record of 252-139-53 with the Lions.

"This is something I have been considering carefully since the end of the season," Ficken said. "It was an extremely difficult decision to make. Columbia has been a wonderful experience."