He is certainly surrounding himself with the right people in order to do just that with the addition of Ryan Pratt to his coaching staff.
"We are thrilled to announce the hiring of Ryan Pratt as an assistant coach here at VCU," Giffard said. "Ryan is a person that I have known for the last 10 plus years. His ability to coach, recruit and organize all aspects of the program set him apart from others in a very, very talented candidate pool. Ryan has worked tirelessly to make himself into both a successful coach as well as a successful player and I expect those qualities as well as his personal character to be a real plus for our current and future student athletes here at VCU."
"I think the level of assistant coaches that we were able to add to the staff speaks volumes about the direction that this program is headed and the support and vision of our administration here at VCU," Giffard continued. "I am very excited to welcome Ryan and his family to the Richmond area and have already felt his contributions to the staff in the few days that he has been here."
Pratt comes to the Rams after spending the past nine seasons as the head coach at the University of Montevallo, a Division II powerhouse in Alabama.
"I'm very excited to be joining Coach Giffard and becoming a part of VCU Soccer," Pratt said. "The vision that Coach Giffard and the Athletic Department have for this program is unparalleled and is absolutely why I wanted to become a member of this staff. I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and to be a part of the resurgence of this program."
During his nine seasons with the Falcons, Pratt elevated their program to the national spotlight, posting double-digit wins in his past six seasons and seven straight winning seasons. He is the program's leader with 99 wins and posted a 78-32-7 (.697) record over his final six years with UM.
UM reached the NCAA Tournament four times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008) under Pratt and reached the GSC Conference Tournament during all nine of his years. The Falcons reached the GSC Final in five of his last seven years, including winning the tournament in 2004.
The national spotlight came calling in 2007 when he led UM to the program's first-ever NCAA Division II Regional Championship and advanced to the National Semifinals of the NCAA Championship. The Falcons finished the season ranked fourth in the country. It was one of five years that UM appeared in the top-25 poll under Pratt's guidance.
Along with the program's success came individual player development. Under Pratt's tutelage, 45 players earned all-conference accolades, three players were named GSC Player of the Year, 21 earned All-South Region honors, 14 were named to the All-Academic team and four were named NSCAA/adidas All-Americans. He also helped Melford James, Jr. develop into a Major League Soccer draft pick when the Chicago Fire picked selected him in the 2008 supplemental draft.
Prior to his time at UM, he spent one season as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and three seasons as an assistant with the University of Alabama-Birmingham women's soccer program.
His knowledge is not limited to the coaching side as he was a four-year player at UAB from 1993-96. He helped the Blazers to back-to-back conference championships in 1994 and 1995, along with their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994. He also spent five years playing at the semi-professional level for the Nashville Metros (two years) and the Alabama Saints (three years).
The San Jose, Calif., native earned his bachelor's degree in broadcast communications, with a minor in sociology, from UAB in 1998.