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Shawn Burke was named head coach of the women’s soccer team at the University at Buffalo on Wednesday.

Burke, who had been an assistant with the program the last five seasons, succeeds Michael Thomas. Athletics Director Danny White announced back in November that Thomas wasn’t returning as coach and that “after an extensive evaluation of the program, we decided it was time to move in a different direction,” said White at the time of the dismissal.

The Bulls will move in that direction with Burke, whose defensive unit proved to be one of the best in the Mid-American Conference during his time as an assistant. The program recorded a school record 12 shutouts during a 12-5-4 campaign in 2011. Last year, UB allowed just 0.88 goals per game and posted five shutouts.

“We have been well aware of Shawn’s talents and, after searching the country, we determined that he is the best fit for our program moving forward,” said White. “Shawn has connections with our current student-athletes and our recruiting base and he knows what it will take to win in the Mid-American Conference.”