April 18, 2013
Head Coach UNC Women’s Soccer Team
When Anson Dorrance was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on August 2, 2008, it marked one more milestone moment in the career of a man whose coaching prowess became legendary at a young age. Because Dorrance has not yet retired from his coaching career, he was only eligible for election on the “Builders of the Game” ballot and he won election to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility on that ballot.
Like fine wine – with age – the coaching career of Anson Dorrance only gets better. Dorrance proved that again in 2009 as he led his team successfully through one of the most competitive College Cup fields in history as the University of North Carolina won its 21st overall national title and its 20th NCAA crown. Dorrance thus became the first coach in NCAA history to win 20 championships coaching a single sport.
Head coach of the North Carolina women’s soccer program since its inception in 1979, Dorrance has built and guided a well-oiled winning machine. Under his direction, the Tar Heels have collected national and conference championships at a stupendous rate, compiled an overall record staggering in its numerical verity, established records likely never to be approached and procured the esteem befitting a dynasty.
At an institution familiar with such incomparable achievement, especially with regard to its storied basketball program, it might be possible to think that Dorrance’s accomplishments could somehow fade to the background. But what he has done in Chapel Hill is simply impossible to disregard.
Thus, when an expert panel employed by ESPN announced its list of the Best Coaches of the Past Quarter Century on July 28, 2004 – coincidentally headed at the No. 1 spot by legendary Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith – it came as no big surprise that another deserving Tar Heel mentor made the list.
That Dorrance, who was ranked No. 24 on the list, was one of only two coaches in the prestigious collection to coach an Olympic sport on the collegiate level only speaks louder about his recognized greatness. More accolades were bestowed on Dorrance with his induction into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame on May 19, 2005 and to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on August 2, 2008. He earned those honors while still in the prime of his coaching career, further testament to his ongoing legacy.