Heather Henson enters her 10th season as Belmont University head women's soccer coach in 2020, the sixth coach in the history of the program.
Henson, the winningest coach in program history, has helped the Bruins become nationally acclaimed for academic achievement and community service. Henson's teams have been given the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for 15 consecutive years, with Belmont holding the highest team GPA in NCAA Division I for the 2013-14 academic year.
Henson recently guided the Bruins to one of the most historic seasons in program history in 2019, with Belmont winning the OVC Tournament as a No. 6 seed and earning its way to the second ever NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Henson guided four players to All-OVC Tournament honors, including Tournament MVP Julie Garst, and three players to All-OVC honors, marking the sixth time in the last seven years where Belmont has had at least two members named to All-OVC teams.
While helping Garst to her third straight All-OVC honor, she assisted the forward in earning CoSIDA Academic All-District honors in 2019.
On Sept. 21, 2018, Henson passed Lisa Howe (2005-10) to become the all-time wins leader in Belmont women's soccer history with a 1-0 win over Morehead State. In addition to leading the Bruins to their third straight OVC Tournament appearance in 2018, Henson had 21 players named to the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll and three players awarded the OVC Medal of Honor for having a 4.0 GPA.
In 2017, Henson's Bruins posted a 10-6-2 record, the most single-season wins during her tenure with the program and the most for Belmont women's soccer since 2009 before joining the Ohio Valley Conference. Belmont made the OVC tournament for a second consecutive year and had four players receive OVC postseason recognition – Tara Austin, Julie Garst, Belicia Mendiola and Sydney Cason – for a second straight season as well. Mendiola was also named to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-South Region Second Team.
During the 2016 campaign Henson led the Bruins to previously untouched milestones as they shut out five consecutive conference foes for a total to 531 scoreless minutes over a seven game span. The squad’s record-breaking OVC slate led to Belmont’s first OVC tournament appearance in four years and the second under Henson’s tutelage. BU’s success was rewarded when four different Bruins – Stephanie Bukovec, Brittany Coca, Belicia Mendiola and Anna Brock Hawkins – earned postseason recognition.
After graduating from Belmont, recent team members Stephanie Bukovec (2017) and Tara Austin (2018) went on to professional playing careers overseas. Bukovec is currently playing club soccer for Ajax Vrouwen and is a member of the Croatia National Team, with Austin playing one year in Sweden.
Under Henson's watch, the program has twice posted the highest team GPA in NCAA Division I as recognized by the National Soccer College Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The Bruins earned the top mark for the 2013-14 school year at 3.73 and for 2014-15 at 3.83. The latter saw Belmont score highest among all NCAA women's soccer teams regardless of division. The program has received NSCAA Team Academic honors in each of her years as head coach, earning the Team Academic Award 15 consecutive years to date.
The Bruins have made their mark in the OVC academic honors as well being named to the OVC Team Academic Achievement Honors in 2012, 2013 and 2014. They also earned the OVC sportsmanship Award in 2015.
Henson also oversaw the development of Alison Alcott, who went on to become one of the program's most decorated student-athletes. The defender was presented the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award for her stellar career on the pitch and in the classroom along with good sportsmanship and citizenship, becoming only the second women's player to garner the honor. Alcott was also an NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, a CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American and received the Belmont Presidential Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for 2015.
In her second year with the program, Henson guided the Bruins to their first ever Ohio Valley Conference tournament appearance. At the conclusion of the 2013 season, two players received OVC postseason honors as Katie Proud was named to the First Team and Alison Alcott was named to the Second Team, marking the first time since 2011 a women's soccer player had garnered a postseason honor. BU women's soccer was once again represented in the OVC postseason honors with two Bruins, Stephanie Bukovec and Belicia Mendiola, named to the All-OVC Second Team in 2015.
Henson brought 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 and the Bucs were named an NSCAA All-Academic Team three times.
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.
Henson also serves as age group head coach of the Tennessee State Team for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) and took a team of Tennessee players to Rio de Janiero, Brazil in 2016 on an international soccer trip. Henson was also part of the ODP staff in North Carolina from 1995-99 and the ODP Region III staff in 2010.
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. She and her husband, Chris, live in Franklin, Tenn., with their daughter, Callie.