KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) - After 12 years as the head coach of the University of Tennessee soccer program and 16 overall as a member of the program's coaching staff, Angela Kelly announced on Saturday that she is leaving the Lady Vol program to accept the head coaching position at the University of Texas.
"We would like to thank Ange for her leadership, dedication and hard work during her 16 years at the University of Tennessee," Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. "Much was accomplished during her tenure. We are appreciative of the collective efforts of Ange, her coaching staff, and the student-athletes that have positioned our soccer program for even greater success moving forward. We wish her the best of luck with her new opportunity at Texas."
A national search for Kelly's replacement will begin immediately.
During her final campaign in charge of the Big Orange in 2011, Tennessee soccer registered a 15-7 mark, finished third in the league at 7-4 overall and earned a Top 16 national seeding in the NCAA Field of 64. Two of Kelly's players, senior Emily Dowd (12 goals, seven assists) and Caroline Brown (11 goals, eight assists) set single-season career-highs on the way to NSCAA All-South Region and All-SEC status, while freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel (15-7 record, eight solo shutouts, 0.94 goals-against-average, .833 save percentage) produced one of the finest seasons between the pipes in Lady Vol history on the way to an SEC All-Freshman selection.
A Brantford, Ontario, Canada, native, Kelly guided Big Orange soccer to a 160-84-20 (.664) overall record during her 12 seasons at the helm in Knoxville while leading UT to each of its nine NCAA Tournament appearances and five NCAA Sweet 16 berths. A three-time SEC Coach of the Year, Kelly steered the Lady Vol program to all three of its SEC regular season crowns (2003, 2004, 2005), to all four of its SEC Tournament titles (2002, 2003, 2005, 2008) and had players receive 35 selections to either the All-SEC of SEC All-Freshman squads during her time as the head coach at Rocky Top.
Individually, nine Lady Vols garnered All-America accolades under Kelly's tutelage, receiving 25 total selections from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), Soccer Buzz Magazine, SoccerTimes.com or CollegeSoccer.com. A total of 18 different players received 28 overall nods to the various all region teams, while four UT soccer student-athletes were chosen as Capital One Academic All-Americans.
A four-time national championship midfielder at the University of North Carolina (1991-94) as well as a former member of the Canadian Women's National Team, Kelly arrived at Tennessee as an assistant coach in January 1996 following a distinguished playing career and having served the 1995 season as a student coach under legendary UNC Head Coach Anson Dorrance.
After a four-year stint as a Lady Vol assistant on Charlie MacCabe's staff from 1996-99, Kelly was given the reins to the UT program prior to the 2000 campaign, becoming only the second head coach in Tennessee soccer history. During her inaugural season in charge of the program, the Lady Vols demonstrated immediate improvement, going 12-8 overall and producing what was then the most successful season in the program's existence. UT went 7-2 in league play, establishing program-bests for wins and highest finish, as the Big Orange was second in the Eastern Division and managed the second-best record in the entire SEC.
Rapid improvement over Kelly's first three years at the helm was capped by an assortment of achievements during the 2002 season, as the Orange and White made its first Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Women's College Cup, notched its initial top-10 finish and claimed its first SEC Tournament and Eastern Division titles en route to an 18-6-1 overall record. The Big Orange established a slew of single-season records in '02: victories (18), longest unbeaten streak (nine), longest home winning streak (nine), most overtime matches (nine), longest winning streak (eight) and best home record (9-1), in addition to picking up its first triumphs within both the league and NCAA events.
The Tennessee program witnessed a staggering run of success over a three-year stretch from 2003-05, winning three consecutive SEC Eastern Division and regular-season titles as well as a pair of SEC Tournament crowns (2003, 2005). During that span, UT tallied a 49-16-6 overall record, including a sparkling 27-3-1 mark in league action, and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 on two occasions.
The 2006 campaign saw the Lady Vols make their fourth NCAA Regional semifinal in five years. Finishing with a 12-7-4 overall mark, Tennessee compiled a 6-3-2 record in SEC play, tying the team for second in the league and second in the East.
During her eighth season at the helm, Kelly helped the Lady Vols achieve more program history in 2007. After getting off to the best start in school annals at 7-1-1, the Orange and White marked its highest ranking in program history at No. 6 in the NSCAA/adidas poll on Oct. 2 on the way to another NCAA Sweet 16 finish with a 15-5-2 record.
The highlight of Kelly's 2008 season was certainly the Lady Vols' fourth SEC Tournament title. After entering the tournament as the No. 6 seed, Tennessee became the lowest-seeded squad ever to capture the title after downing Auburn in the first round, topping #11 LSU in a penalty shootout and defeating Georgia in the final.
After a pair of out-of-character seasons in 2009 and 2010 that saw Tennessee miss the NCAA Tournament with 8-9-3 and 10-9-1 overall records, respectively, Kelly helped return the program to form in 2011 with an NCAA Tournament berth and a 15-win season.