Northwestern State hires Ian Brophy as new head women’s soccer coach
NATCHITOCHES—Young, energetic conference champion-winning coach Ian Brophy has been tabbed as the seventh coach in Northwestern State soccer history, director of athletics Kevin Bostian announced Thursday.
Brophy comes to NSU after one season at Mount Olive, a Division II school in North Carolina, where he led the Trojans to a 13-5 record, including 11-1 during conference play, and the Conference Carolinas regular season crown.
The success comes despite the team losing its top two goal scorers from the previous season as well as the Conference Carolinas Defensive Player of the Year.
The hire must be approved by the Louisiana Board of Supervisors, of which NSU is a member, as well as pass through other university human resource processes.
Eight players on Brophy’s Mount Olive team made the all-conference teams, most in the league.
“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be the next head women’s soccer coach at Northwestern State University,” Brophy said. “I want to sincerely thank athletic director Kevin Bostian and everyone on the search committee for making my fiancée and I feel so welcomed during the interview process and for placing their faith in me to lead this program forward.
“I would also like to thank my family, previous players, coaches and everyone at the University of Mount Olive for helping prepare me for an opportunity like this one.”
Brophy, a native of Miami, aims to build upon the winning tradition NSU has constructed over the past four seasons, having finished in the top two of the Southland Conference standings in each of those seasons, spanning two coaches.
In the success, two different coaches have led NSU to the conference title game, including a trip in 2022 to the NCAA Tournament, its first such appearance since 2005.
The success on the field is just one reason that drew Brophy to Natchitoches.
“A few things certainly attracted me from the outside, like the ability to take over a Division I program that has consistently competed for conference championships in the Southland Conference over the last several years, was certainly a major consideration and something that initially caught my eye,” Brophy said.
“However, once on campus and in town I realized the wonderful sense of community that exists in Natchitoches, the exciting facilities and future the athletic department has under Kevin (Bostian), and the level of growth and continued push for excellence from Northwestern State all made this a place my fiancée and I could not wait to call home.”
Prior to his time at Mount Olive, he was an assistant for Division II Florida Southern, helping lead the Mocs to 18 wins, including an 8-3-4 mark in his first season, after the school won just nine games combined in the previous three seasons. The success came despite operating with just five athletic scholarships, the second fewest in the conference.
“Ian has had success at virtually every level in collegiate soccer,” Bostian said. “He has shown a knack for being able to turn programs around quickly, although he will not have to do that here. What he has done at his previous stops – from recruiting high-level student-athletes and building successful programs – shows me he knows how to win.
“Bringing Ian into the fold positions our program to continue to build on the successful foundation laid by the past two coaching staffs.”
Brophy succeeds Stuart Gore, who accepted the women’s soccer head coaching position at Troy in January. Gore led the team to a 24-10-5 record in his two seasons in Natchitoches, guiding NSU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in nearly two decades.
As an assistant coach at Knox College in 2016, Brophy helped lead the Prairie Fire to an unblemished 19-0-1 overall record after the team recorded just one winning season in the previous eight years. That season also was the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Prairie Fire led the nation in goals against average, surrendering just .15 goals per contest.
In the past four seasons, the Lady Demons have been known for their tenacious defense, allowing just 66 goals in 75 games for a .88 goals against average. The conference stats have been even better, posting just a .51 goals against average in those four seasons, doing it with three different goalkeepers.
NSU had the conference’s defensive player of the year three times in those four years and have had all-conference goalkeepers the past three seasons.
“Our work ethic and level of effort as a coaching staff and team will be obvious to anyone around our program as it will be an important requirement to put in the work to build something special here,” Brophy said.
“The success here over the last four seasons certainly excites me and shows what the program is capable of if you can bring the right culture and work ethic.”
Brophy began his coaching career at Treasure Valley CC in Ontario, Oregon, turning around a program that was 2-14-4 the year before he arrived and turned it into a 16-3-3 mark in his first season, setting nearly every school record in the process.
He holds a USSF National C Coaching License and has been a head coach at the middle school, high school, and competitive club levels.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT IAN BROPHY
“In his short time with our program, we saw his skills in working with our high-caliber student-athletes while developing a large class of newcomers. With the experience he has gained here at UMO, I look forward to watching his progress at Northwestern State. I wish Ian and his family good luck in his next coaching endeavor at NSU.”
– Joey Higginbotham, Mount Olive director of athletics
“Northwestern State is getting a steady set of hands, someone I spent many years with. His tactical feel for the game and ability to communicate a message clearly will allow him to hit the ground running. His clever way of thinking and appetite for the game is contagious.”
-Paul Lawrence, Florida Southern women’s soccer head coach
“I am excited for Ian on his hire at Northwestern State. I am proud of his work at Florida Southern. We are just seeing the fruits of his labor this year with a berth in the NCAA Tournament and first ever win in the tournament, as many of the players on the team were recruited by him. We wish him nothing but the best at NSU.”
-Drew Howard, Florida Southern director of athletics
“Ian has done excellent in his role here UMO as our head women’s soccer coach, and I know that he will continue to grow even more in his next position there at Northwestern State. We appreciate all the passion and dedication that you have put into the women’s soccer program and wish Ian nothing but the best of luck in his new position.”
– Kristen Gurley, Mount Olive assistant director of athletics
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