FSU hires Tennessee's Brian Pensky as new head soccer coach
Four weeks after Mark Krikorian announced he was leaving Florida State, the Seminoles have found their new head coach of the women's soccer program.
Brian Pensky, who is the reigning SEC Coach of the Year and has lifted the Tennessee Volunteers into national prominence over the last 11 years, is taking over at FSU, the university announced Monday.
Pensky replaces Krikorian, who led the Seminoles to three national championships in 17 years as head coach. Before coaching at Tennessee, Pensky was head coach at Maryland, where he was named 2010 National Coach of the Year.
Pensky led the Volunteers to a second consecutive SEC Eastern Division championship in 2021, then helped his program win its first SEC Tournament title since 2008.
Here is the release from FSU:
Florida State Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford named Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky as FSU women’s soccer head coach on Monday. Pensky, who led the Volunteers to the 2021 SEC Championship, and has won National, ACC and SEC Coach of the Year honors, will take over the Seminoles after coaching Tennessee for the last 10 years.
“Florida State’s soccer program is regarded as one of if not the best in the country and rightfully so,” said Pensky. “The opportunity to be a part of this great program with the remarkable tradition is an honor. What Mark (Krikorian) did here over the last 17 years is unparalleled in our game. Simply put, he has been the best in the business.”
“But it is more than just the soccer program that attracted me. The status of the university as a top tier public institution academically is just as impressive as the athletic history. And, I have coached in the ACC and I know the strength of the league is second to none in the country.
“I take over the program with endless humility and understanding of the task at hand.”
Tennessee’s SEC Championship this year highlighted a season in which the Vols finished with a 20-3-0 record and advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. Pensky was named the SEC Coach of the Year following the season and the entire UT coaching staff was recognized as the Southeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
“After getting a great deal of input from our soccer student-athletes, we set out to attract the very best coach in the country to lead what has become the premier program in the country. I am very pleased to announce that in Brian Pensky we have found the person whose talent and drive match our consistently high expectations for FSU soccer.
“Coach Pensky is a proven winner both in the ACC which we consider the nation’s best conference and the SEC. He has built programs and sustained consistent, high-level success proving his abilities time and time again.
“I am excited about the future of our program under Coach Pensky and we welcome him and his family to Florida State.”
Pensky guided the 2018 Volunteers to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in program history. Tennessee finished 16-3-3 overall and recorded the highest winning percentage (.795) and fewest losses (3) in a single season in school history. The Vols earned consensus top-10 status following the historic campaign.
“Our soccer program has not only brought three national championships to Florida State University, but they have produced outstanding leaders who are dedicated students,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “In short, they represent the very best of what intercollegiate athletics is all about.
“Our team members and our program deserve a coach who has been highly successful both on and off the field and we have found that in Coach Pensky. I will be first in line cheering the team and Coach Pensky on next season”
Over the last five seasons, Tennessee has won an SEC title, finished second in the league three times and third once while reaching the NCAA Elite 8 and Sweet 16. Pensky’s overall record in 10 years in Knoxville is 118-58-25.
Prior to taking over at Tennessee, Pensky was the head women’s coach at the University of Maryland for seven seasons.
In 2010, Maryland earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and Pensky was named both National Coach of the Year by Soccer America and ACC Coach of the Year. He served as Maryland’s head coach from 2005-11 and posted a 67-52-20 overall record. While at the helm in College Park, Pensky led the Terrapins to their most successful three-year run in program history, with a 44-14-9 record and a .724 win percentage over the last three seasons.
Pensky guided Maryland to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of the last three seasons, including Sweet 16 appearances in both 2009 and 2011.
In 2010, Pensky led Maryland to its best season in program history with an 18-2-3 (.848) overall ledger and a school-record 7-2-1 mark in the ACC.
Playing in the highly competitive ACC, Pensky guided the Terps to their second-ever ACC Championship match in 2011 and the Terps advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 that season.
Before guiding the women’s team, Pensky served as an assistant coach with the Maryland men’s program, helping those Terrapins to three consecutive College Cup berths (2002-04). Working with head coach Sasho Cirovski, Pensky helped the Terps to a 57-14-3 record (.791 win percentage). The men captured the ACC Tournament title in 2002 and the regular-season crown in 2003. In 2004, CollegeSoccerNews.com named Pensky one of the top assistant coaches in the nation.
Before working under Cirovski for three seasons, Pensky was an assistant at Loyola College in Maryland for one season after serving as an assistant coach with the women’s team at George Washington the previous three seasons.
Pensky, whose overall record as coach at Tennessee and Maryland is 185-111-45, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University in 1991. He has an “A” license from the United States Soccer Federation as well as an NSCAA Premier and NSCAA goalkeeping diploma.
Contingent on the successful completion of a background check, Pensky takes over an FSU program that will be defending National Champions in 2022 and has reached the national title game in three of the last four seasons.
Pensky and his wife, Abby, have three children – boy-girl twins Will and Alex and their youngest son, Ben.