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Brian Lee Named New Rice Owls Head Coach

Published: March 29, 2019

HOUSTON, Texas Brian Lee, who led LSU to six NCAA Tournament appearances, four SEC West Division titles and 143 wins in 10 seasons with the Tigers, has been named the third head coach in the history of Rice soccer, Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced on Friday.


Lee, 47, was named the 2018 South Region Coach of the Year and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year by United Soccer Coaches after leading the Tigers to the SEC Tournament championship last November. LSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship for the third time under Lee, defeating Boston University. Lee has recruited and coached 46 players to All-SEC honors and ten to All-America accolades.


“I knew when I met Brian that he’d be a great fit for Rice University,” said Joe Karlgaard. “He’s a highly experienced leader who has coached championship programs at a private school and in the SEC. He embraces our model of academic and competitive excellence, and he cares deeply for the student-athlete. I’m excited for him to lead Rice soccer into the future.”


“I would like to thank Joe Karlgaard, Stacy Mosely, Rick Mello and the rest of the Rice leadership team for entrusting me with the stewardship of the soccer program,” said Lee. “The opportunity to recruit and coach the very best student-athletes at one of the nation’s elite academic institutions is a privilege and a honor. Rice has everything you need to compete for championships and national prominence and I am looking forward to building on the strong foundation Nicky Adams has established over the last decade.”


Prior to LSU, Lee started the women’s soccer program from scratch at his alma mater (Furman) and coached there 11 seasons beginning in 1994. He amassed an eye-opening 144-80-10 overall record, including an impressive 76-16-3 mark in conference play. The Paladins advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times and were 36-2-0 in conference play during a four-stretch from 1999-2002. He was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times and was a finalist for the NSCAA National Coach of the Year.


His teams’ success on the field is only one part of the resume. In the classroom Lee-coached programs have earned 10 NSCAA Team Academic Awards for maintaining a 3.0 grade point average. A total of 137 of his players at LSU, and another 122 student-athletes at Furman, were named to the respective Academic Honor Rolls of the SEC and Southern Conference.


A successful student-athlete in his own right, Lee earned four varsity letters with the Furman men's soccer team from 1989-92. The native of Cheltenham, England, was an integral part of three Southern Conference titles. He was voted team captain and selected as the team's Most Valuable Player as a senior. He also led his team to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, as well as a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1991.


Lee graduated from Furman in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He and his wife, the former Nancy Repsher of Westboro, Massachusetts, have two children – Aidan (15) and Abby (14). Lee is only the third head coach in the history of the Rice Soccer program. Since its inaugural year in 2001 Rice Soccer has won four Conference USA championships, including the league tournament in 2005 & 2014 and regular season titles in 2012 & 2017.

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