The Brian Lee Era
When Brian Lee took the reigns of the LSU Soccer program in December 2004, he envisioned a program with the potential to be a perennial contender for the Southeastern Conference championship and an annual participant in the NCAA Tournament. His bold vision to transform LSU Soccer into a nationally-respected program has produced unprecedented results as the Tigers are ready to take to the field again in 2016.
Lee has guided the Tigers into a new era of SEC soccer as NCAA Tournament qualifiers and SEC Tournament semifinalists again in 2015 after winning four SEC Western Division championships and earning four trips to the NCAA Tournament through the 2011 season. That includes an impressive three-year run for the program in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and its return near the top of the SEC table again in 2011.The Tigers have twice advanced to the NCAA Round of 32 in 2007 and 2009.
The Tigers have also proven themselves as perennial contenders for the SEC regular season championship while claiming second place in the final conference standings in 2008, 2009 and 2011 to match their best SEC finish in program history.
In Lee’s 11 seasons in Baton Rouge, the Tigers have posted a 115-83-37 overall record with a 55-49-19 mark against conference opponents. And since capturing its first SEC West title in 2007, LSU has posted a 48-38-15 record against SEC teams in the regular season, including a school record eight SEC wins in 2009 and 2011.
Tigers Shine in National Spotlight
LSU soared to new heights in 2009 by matching the school wins record with a 15-4-5 overall mark and establishing a new school record with an 8-2-1 mark and 25 points in SEC play. For the second-straight season, the Tigers finished in second place in the final SEC standings and just one point shy of Florida for their first ever SEC Championship. LSU then took a No. 2 seed to the SEC Tournament and advanced to the conference final for the first time in program history.
The Tigers were rewarded for their outstanding performance with a No. 4 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, while serving as a regional host for the first time in team history and advancing to the NCAA Second Round for the second time in three seasons following a first ever appearance in the second round of the postseason in 2007.
Their effort helped land a No. 14 national ranking at the end of the 2009 season in the final Top 25 ranking released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. It marked the second year in a row for LSU to finish a campaign as high as No. 14 in the national rankings.
Midfielder Malorie Rutledge was at the center of LSU’s emergence into the national spotlight. After being recruited by Lee as part of a heralded Class of 2006, the Sharpsburg, Georgia, product wrapped up her collegiate career in 2009 as the most decorated Tiger to step on the pitch. Rutledge earned consensus All-America accolades in 2008 and 2009, while also being picked as a two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Year and three-time First-Team All-SEC performer during her brilliant career.
Rutledge rewrote the school record books in four seasons in Baton Rouge while setting LSU career records with 46 assists and 102 points from 2006-09. She added 28 goals as the club’s most prolific scorer in its 21 years of collegiate competition. Rutledge wrapped up her career with an NCAA-leading 18 assists as a senior in 2009, shattering her own team single-season mark.
While Lee has coached 26 Tigers to 41 All-SEC selections in his 11 seasons, LSU was recognized with a team-best five all-conference selections in 2009.
Joining Rutledge on the All-SEC squad were defender Chelsea Potts (first-team), midfielder Allysha Chapman (second-team), midfielder Melissa Clarke (second-team) and forward Carlie Banks (all-freshman). Both Clarke and Potts ended their collegiate careers in 2009 as three-time All-SEC performers following their senior season.
The Tigers nearly matched that performance in 2011 as they again finished runner-up for the SEC Championship with a 13-8-1 record and their second-best league mark in program history at 8-3 with 24 points on the final SEC table. That earned the Tigers their fourth SEC West title and fourth at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament in a five-year span.
Chapman led the charge for the Tigers in 2011 with her second First-Team All-SEC selection and third All-SEC honor in her collegiate career. She also made history by becoming the first LSU Tiger to be selected the SEC Defensive Player of the Year with her performance as one of the premier defensive talents in all of college soccer.
Five Tigers were again honored as All-SEC selections in 2011 as Chapman was joined on the squad by seniors Taryne Boudreau (first-team) and Natalie Martineau (second-team) and freshmen Alex Arlitt (all-freshman) and Jodi Calloway (all-freshman).
Chapman has since gone on to star for the Canadian Women’s National Team during her professional career. She made history in each of the last two summers while becoming the first Tiger to ever play at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015 and the Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016 as Canada’s starting left back throughout both tournaments.
LSU Soccer made history once again in 2013 when it became the first team SEC history to feature at least three freshmen on the All-SEC team in a single season with first-team, second-team or honorable mention all-conference honors. Striker Summer Clarke, midfielder Emma Fletcher and defender Megan Lee were each honored as Second-Team All-SEC performers in the wake of outstanding rookie seasons with the Tigers in 2013.
Clarke earned her second career All-SEC honor with a second-team selection in 2015 as she joined with the likes of Jorian Baucom (first-team) and Alex Thomas (all-freshman) in getting the Tigers back in the NCAA Tournament with one of the biggest turnarounds in the country.
Individually, Lee has coached five athletes to All-America honors and nine athletes to Freshman All-America honors in 21 seasons as a head coach. In addition, he has coached four Southern Conference Players of the Year, five Southern Conference Freshmen of the Year and three SEC Players of the Year, while guiding his athletes to a total of 92 all-conference selections since his first season as a head coach in 1994.
Despite finishing in 12th place in the final SEC standings in each of the previous two seasons prior to Lee’s arrival in Baton Rouge, LSU Soccer has shown steady progress and continued staying power in their ascent to the top of the SEC as the squad finished in eighth place in 2005 and 2006, fourth place in 2007 and second place in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
The Tigers have also been a staple in the national rankings in recent seasons while cracking the Top 25 nationally in all major polls. LSU has climbed as high as No. 9 in 2008, No. 10 in 2009, No. 18 in 2010, No. 14 in 2011, No. 25 in 2013 and No. 24 in 2015 in the rankings.
Tigers Battle Nation's Elite
Lee and his dedicated coaching staff have built a program with the ability to compete with anyone in women’s college soccer. That was never more evident than in 2007 when LSU battled No. 4-ranked Texas to a 2-2 draw on the road in Austin and dominated No. 6-ranked Tennessee by a 3-0 margin at home for the program’s first victory against an opponent ranked as one of the Top 10 teams in the country.
The Tigers were impressive again in 2009 when they earned a pair of shutout wins versus teams in the Top 10 of the polls with a 6-0 blanking of No. 8-ranked Georgia and a 1-0 shutout of No. 10-ranked South Carolina in a pair of matches played at the LSU Soccer Stadium. The Tigers and Gamecocks then battled to a 1-1 draw in the SEC Tournament final during the 2009 season as South Carolina took the tournament title with a marathon 8-7 decision in penalty kicks.
In 2011, LSU Soccer earned its fourth at-large NCAA Tournament berth in five seasons on the strength of a resume that featured a pair of shutout wins over No. 10 Tennessee and No. 11 Florida in conference play en route to a third runner-up finish in the final SEC standings.
With the Volunteers bringing a Top 10 national ranking to Baton Rouge for the second time in three seasons, the Tigers were dominant in a 2-0 shutout to extend their unbeaten streak to four-straight in the series. The Tigers then made history with a trip to Gainesville, Florida, on Oct. 23 of the 2011 season as they pitched a 1-0 shutout for their first victory over the powerful Gators and hand Florida only its fourth defeat in SEC play at Pressly Stadium in its history.
The Tigers have since earned a pair of wins over nationally-ranked opponents in their inaugural meeting on the pitch in recent seasons with a 3-1 road triumph over 16th-ranked Missouri for their signature win of 2012 and a 1-0 shutout of 13th-ranked Southern California in a match played at a neutral site at the Minnesota Gold Classic in 2013.
LSU’s NCAA Tournament qualification in 2015 was solidified with a signature win over 15th-ranked Duke as the Tigers blanked the Blue Devils, 1-0, in Baton Rouge during the non-conference season. Duke recovered to finish as the NCAA runner-up at the NCAA Women’s College Cup in December 2015, falling to Penn State, 1-0, in the national championship match.
The Tigers have more than proven themselves as an elite program during Lee’s 10 seasons in Baton Rouge as they have now scored nine wins and 10 draws against nationally-ranked teams since the 2007 season.
LSU Soccer: A Box Office Smash
Lee’s impact has not only been felt with unprecedented results on the field, but also at the box office as record crowds have packed the LSU Soccer Stadium week in and week out to watch the Tigers in action since his arrival in Baton Rouge.
The 2011 season witnessed the birth of a new era of LSU Soccer as the Tigers christened the new LSU Soccer Stadium on the night of Sept. 9 with a dramatic 1-0 shutout of the Oregon Ducks before a record crowd of 2,542 supporters on hand for the festivities. It proved a fitting end to a night of celebration of one of the top rising programs in all of college soccer as the squad opened a stadium that stands as one of the true jewels of the Southeastern Conference.
The Tigers wrapped up the 2011 campaign ranked among the Top 20 teams nationwide in average attendance while drawing an average of 1,174 fans in their nine matches played at the new LSU Soccer Stadium to stand as the NCAA’s No. 17-ranked program at the box office.
They then raised their attendance record again in 2012 when 2,624 supporters witnessed a 1-1 draw with the visiting Rice Owls in their home opener on Aug. 24.
The 2007 season proved to be unlike any other in the history of the program as the Tigers were unbeaten at the LSU Soccer Stadium for the first time with a 5-0-3 record while drawing an average of 1,294 fans per match. That ranked LSU Soccer among the Top 10 teams in the country in average attendance for the first time as the team finished the season at No. 7 in the NCAA with average paid attendance. The Tigers set three single-game attendance records on the season which includes a crowd of 2,402 for its 3-0 win over No. 6 Tennessee on Oct. 5, 2007.
LSU Soccer has proven formidable on its home turf while following an unbeaten season in 2007 at 8-1 in 2008, 7-1-2 in 2009, 6-1-2 in 2010 and 7-1-1 in 2011. The Tigers are coming off their second unbeaten season at home in team history as they were 8-0-4 in 12 matches played on their home turf at the LSU Soccer Stadium in 2015.
Tigers Lead by Example
Not only have the Tigers proven to be one of the SEC’s top programs with their effort on the field in 11 seasons under Lee’s direction, but they have also taken great pride in their performance off the field as they are the University leaders in community service each season as winners of four-straight Tiger Cups from 2009-12.
The Tiger Cup is presented each season by the Tiger Athletic Foundation as part of the annual TAF Academic Excellence Gala to the athletic program that best represents the University with its performance on and off the field. The winner of the Tiger Cup is determined using a point system based on a team’s final conference and national ranking, cumulative team grade-point average and community service hours accumulated during the previous academic year.
Lee’s athletes boast a proven track record in the classroom as his teams have earned 10 NSCAA Team Academic Awards. A total of 122 student-athletes were selected to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll in his 11 years at Furman, while 137 Tigers have been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in his 11 seasons in Baton Rouge.
LSU Soccer actually set a program record following the 2015 season with 17 selections to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll a year ago, eclipsing the team’s previous record of 14 SEC honor roll selections three times in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Lee Brings Proven Track Record to Tigers
Winning conference titles and leading a nationally-prominent program are nothing new for the native of Cheltenham, England, who led the Furman Lady Paladins to six Southern Conference Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances during his 11-year tenure after starting the program from scratch in 1994.
In 11 seasons, Lee’s teams amassed a 144-80-10 overall record, including an impressive 76-16-3 mark in conference play. The Lady Paladins went undefeated in conference play three times (1999, 2000, 2002) and were just shy of perfection in 2003 after finishing the season with a 10-0-1 record in Southern Conference play.
For his many accomplishments, Lee was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times and was named the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 1999, the same year in which he was selected as a finalist for the NSCAA National Coach of the Year Award.
In addition to his experience coaching at the collegiate level, Lee served on the staff of the Region III Olympic Development Program Team from 1999-2008, while reaching the rank of assistant coach of the Region III ODP Team in 2006.
In 2014, Lee rejoined the coaching staff for the Region III ODP Team as the head coach of the Under-15 age group.
A successful athlete in his own right, Lee earned four letters with the Furman men’s soccer team from 1989-92 as an integral part of three Southern Conference titles and was voted team captain and selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior. He also led his team to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1991.
Lee, 44, graduated from Furman in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He and his wife, the former Nancy Repsher of Westboro, Massachusetts, and also a 1993 graduate of Furman University, have two children – Aidan, 12, and Abby, 11.
The Brian Lee File
Full Name: Brian Gordon Lee
Birthdate: May 14, 1971 in Cheltenham, England
Wife: Nancy Repsher of Westboro, Mass.
Children: Aidan, Abby
Education: Furman University, B.A. Political Science, 1993
Playing And Coaching Experience
* - NCAA Tournament Appearance
# - SEC Western Division Championship
! - Southern Conference Championship