With just over a month remaining before the start of the 2010 regular season, head coach Brian Lee hit a “home run” when he announced the hiring of former College of Charleston women’s soccer head coach Kevin Dempsey to complete the Tigers’ coaching staff before the start of the fall season.
It was an addition that paid immediate dividends for the Tigers as Dempsey coached the premier defensive unit in program history as they matched a program record for fewest goals allowed in a season with 16 and nearly set a school record with a 0.72 goals against average in 21 matches in 2010. In fact, the Tigers finished the season tied for the No. 1 spot in the SEC in goals allowed and wrapped up the season ranked No. 2 for goals against average among the league’s 12 programs with their performance.
As the primary coach of LSU’s defensive back line, Dempsey was instrumental in Canadian international Allysha Chapman earning her first career First-Team All-SEC selection as one of the leading defenders in the Southeastern Conference.
Chapman made history as a senior in 2011 when she became the first Tiger in program history to be named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year while also earning her second First-Team All-SEC honor as one of the elite performers in all of college soccer. Chapman was joined on the All-SEC squad by a pair of rookie defenders in Texas natives Alex Arlitt and Jodi Calloway, who each earned selections to the SEC All-Freshman Team as two of the SEC’s emerging talents.
Dempsey’s defensive unit was a catalyst in the Tigers winning their fourth SEC Western Division championship in five seasons and earning a return trip to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the team’s history during the 2011 campaign. They finished the 2011 season with a 13-8-1 overall record and an 8-3 mark in league play for their third second-place finish on the SEC table in four seasons.
The LSU Soccer program has certainly been on the cusp of winning its first SEC championship as the club finished runner-up in the final conference standings in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Dempsey has also hit the ground running on the recruiting trail while making an immediate impact for the Tigers, highlighted by recruiting classes in 2012 and 2013 that were ranked among the Top 15 classes in the country and a heralded Class of 2014 that earned the No. 7 national ranking by the staff at TopDrawerSoccer.com.
LSU Soccer made history once again a season ago when its recruiting Class of 2013 received unprecedented recognition on the All-SEC teams. LSU became the first team in SEC history to feature at least three freshmen on the All-SEC teams 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 rewarded as Second-Team All-SEC performers in the wake of outstanding rookie seasons with the Tigers in 2013.
Clarke, Fletcher and Lee were also honored among the top freshmen nationally with their selection to the Freshman All-American teams by Soccer and TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Widely respected as one of the top recruiters in college soccer both nationally and internationally, Dempsey will continue to be a driving force for the Tigers with the addition of world-class talent from across the globe for many years to come.
In just the past three seasons, Dempsey has helped sign 14 athletes to National Letters of Intent to earn international experience at the youth level as part of the Women’s National Team systems in Canada, England, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States.
Dempsey joined the LSU program following an outstanding nine-year stint as the head coach at the College of Charleston, where he led the Cougars to an 86-70-22 overall record and a 54-32-8 mark in Southern Conference play since 2001. That included an overall record of 24-12-6 in his final two seasons.
He teams with Lee and associate head coach Debbie Hensley to form the core of an outstanding coaching staff with a combined 35 years of head coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level. Lee has been a head coach at the NCAA Division I level for the past 20 seasons, while Hensley was the coach at Western Carolina for six seasons before joining Lee’s staff at LSU.
The Cougars flourished in nine seasons under Dempsey’s direction as they reached the postseason in each with nine appearances in the SoCon Tournament, including runner-up finishes in 2002 and 2009. The side earned 28 All-SoCon and All-SoCon Tournament selections under Dempsey.
The Cougars were also outstanding in the classroom during Dempsey’s tenure while winning the NSCAA Team Academic Award in each of his nine seasons while posting a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. In addition, six Cougars were named NSCAA All-Region Scholar Athletes in his final two seasons at the College of Charleston, demonstrating his commitment to success both on and off the pitch.
“We are excited to have the experience that Kevin provides our program at LSU,” Lee said. “He’s already had a tremendous impact on our team and this community in his three years here. That is especially true with his ability to recruit world-class talent and attract the caliber of athlete we will need to challenge for SEC and national championships for years to come.
“I approach the staff just like the team with a goal to go out and recruit the best. Having Kevin as a member of our staff has been a homerun hire for our program. With Kevin joining Debbie (Hensley) and the rest of our staff, we’re fortunate to have a staff in place that will continue to recruit and develop the best players and people in all of college soccer.”
Dempsey boasts 16 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level during which he compiled an overall record of 166-116-29 since 1994. Prior to his appointment at the College of Charleston, Dempsey served as the head coach of the women’s program at Catawba College of NCAA Division II for seven seasons from 1994-2000 while compiling an overall record of 80-46-7, including a 34-13-3 mark in the South Atlantic Conference.
After helping the Indians win South Atlantic Conference regular season and tournament titles as an assistant coach in 1993, the team captured four SAC Tournament titles in his seven seasons as a head coach in 1994, 1997, 1998 and 1999. He also led Catawba College to the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship in 1997 before earning its place in the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Tournament that same year.
In all, Dempsey coached 10 NCAA Division II All-Americans, 17 All-South Region selections, four SAC Players of the Year and four SAC Freshmen of the Year during his seven-year tenure while the head coach at Catawba College.
In addition to his experience as a head coach at the collegiate level, Dempsey also served as head coach of the Under-15 Region III Olympic Development Program Team for seven years from 2003-09.
Dempsey graduated from Catawba College in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He and his wife, Krista, have a 9-year-old son named Jack..
Years, Capacity, School
1993-2001, Head Coach, Catawba College
2001-10, Head Coach, College of Charleston
2010-Present, Assistant Coach, LSU
Head Coaching Records
Year, School, Record
1994, Catawba College, 12-5-2*
1995, Catawba College, 6-8-2
1996, Catawba College, 12-6-0
1997, Catawba College, 13-10-0*
1998, Catawba College, 13-6-1*
1999, Catawba College, 13-4-2*
2000, Catawba College, 11-7-0
2001, College of Charleston, 6-11-1
2002, College of Charleston, 9-9-3#
2003, College of Charleston, 11-7-2
2004, College of Charleston, 12-5-3
2005, College of Charleston, 7-9-2
2006, College of Charleston, 8-9-2
2007, College of Charleston, 9-8-3
2008, College of Charleston, 12-5-4
2009, College of Charleston, 12-7-2#
Total, 16 Years, 166-116-29
* - South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship
# - Southern Conference Tournament Runner-Up