NASHVILLE, TENN. - - Belmont University Department of Athletics announced Wednesday the hiring of Heather Henson as the Bruins' new head women's soccer coach.
Henson brings 16 years of NCAA head coaching experience to Belmont, the previous 12 spent leading the women's soccer program at East Tennessee State University. While in Johnson City, Henson directed the Lady Bucs to seven trips to conference postseason play. Moreover, under Henson's tutelage, 21 ETSU student-athletes earned all-conference distinction.
The 2003 ETSU women's soccer team was one of the most successful in program history, sporting a 12-6-0 record en route to acclaim from national soccer online resource, SoccerBuzz.com.
Aside from on-field success, Henson's programs have been characterized by high levels of academic achievement. This past year, ETSU women's soccer boasted a team grade-point average (GPA) of 3.58, sixth-highest in the nation. As a result, the Lady Buc program received the prestigious National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award for the third time in the last four years.
"Heather Henson brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success to our program," Belmont Director of Athletics Mike Strickland said. "Her commitment to student-athlete development, academics and service speaks for itself."
Since ETSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference in the fall of 2005, 97 women's soccer players have earned Academic All-Conference honors, including 22 of 24 team members this past season. To be named Atlantic Sun All-Academic, a student-athlete must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the classroom during her semester of competition. All told under Henson, 99 percent of ETSU women's soccer student-athletes completed four-year eligibility and graduated on schedule.
"I am honored to join the Belmont family, and I know the team is ready to get to work," Henson said. "My focus now is the success of Belmont's women's soccer team and our players."
Prior to ETSU, Henson spent four years as head coach at High Point University. After 22 victories and back-to-back CVAC championship appearances in her first two seasons, Henson led the program's transition from NCAA Division II to Division I play.
Henson also served as High Point's Senior Woman Administrator from 1997-99.
Aside from her collegiate coaching responsibilities, Henson is a respected member of several national coaching organizations. She holds her NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a United States Soccer Federations (USSF) Class B license.
At present, Henson serves as the head coach of the Tennessee State Team for the Olympic Development Program (ODP). She was part of the ODP in North Carolina from 1995-99.
Henson attended the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, earning an undergraduate degree in psychology in 1994. She was a four-year starter for the Spartans, leading the team to an NCAA Division II No. 1 ranking in 1990, and as high as a No. 17 Division I ranking a year later.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Henson was a club-level standout and played six years for North Texas ODP.
Henson is the sixth head women's soccer coach in the history of Belmont University.