In just his second season at the helm, Steve Holeman guided the Lamar University women’s soccer team to unprecedented heights in 2017.
Under Holeman’s direction, the Cardinals won their first-ever Southland Conference regular-season and tournament championships and made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals went 18-4-1 overall and 11-1-0 in Southland Conference play, setting school records for wins and conference wins. LU improved upon its 2016 win total by 16 victories, equaling the NCAA record for the biggest improvement for wins in a single season.
Holeman’s success did not go unrecognized, as he was named the Southland Conference Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year, the first LU coach to receive the honor.
Holeman’s recruiting prowess showed, as junior forward Kelso Peskin was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year. Peskin was one of three LU first-year players to earn all-conference honors, joining junior defender Amelia Fullmer and freshman forward Lucy Ashworth. In addition, freshman forward Madison Ledet, was named the MVP of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The accolades didn’t stop there for the Cardinals, who had four first-team and two second-team all-conference selections, six players on the all-tournament team, four all-region picks and four players on the conference’s all-academic team, including M.J. Eckart, who was named the SLC Women’s Soccer Student-Athlete of the Year.
During the 2018 season, Holeman guided the Cards to a third-place finish in the SLC conference. Under his guidance, LU placed seven players on the SLC All-Conference Teams. Leading the way was Juliana Ocampo who was tabbed the conference Midfielder of the Year, becoming the first Cardinal to earn this honor.
Besides Ocampo, who earned Midfielder of the Year and First Team All-Conference, Kelso Peskin earned first team honors while Amanda Fullmer earned second team. Lucy Ashworth, Madison Ledet, Sandra Nygard, and Rubi Villegas all earned honorable mention honors.
Holeman became the fourth women’s soccer coach in Lamar University history when he accepted the position on Jan. 12, 2016.
Before taking the job at LU, Holeman’s entire career has been spent in the Southeastern Conference, including two programs he started from the ground up. Holeman came to LU after spending five seasons in as head coach of Georgia, where he recorded a 53-39-11 (.568) overall record, and guided the Bulldogs to two NCAA tournament appearances.
During his time with the Bulldogs, he guided Georgia to four 10-win seasons, four top-50 RPI rankings – including a No. 14 national ranking in 2014, coached 14 All-SEC selections, 10 all-region honorees and one All-American. Holeman’s student-athletes also got the job done in the classroom earning 54 SEC Academic Honor Roll selections. Holeman closed out his time in Georgia by bringing in two of the nation’s top recruiting classes. His 2013 signing class was ranked 10th nationally, and he followed that up by bringing in nation’s 11th-best class (tops in the SEC) the very next season.
Holeman took the job at Georgia after 16 seasons at Mississippi, where he was the first soccer coach in Rebels’ history. During his time in Oxford, the Rebels posted a 158-119-28 (.564) overall record, which included four NCAA Championship appearances and three SEC Western Division titles. Ole Miss made 13 straight SEC tournament appearances under Holeman’s guidance and had 30 players named all-conference, including two freshmen of the year.
During his final five seasons at Ole Miss, Holeman posted a 19-1-5 (.860) record against SEC West Division foes, and recorded the league’s fourth-best winning percentage in conference games during that time.
Holeman also started the program at Auburn. He was hired by the Tigers in 1993 and guided the program to an above .500 record (7-6-3) in his first season.
A four-year letter winner at Wake Forest during his playing career, Holeman guided the Demon Deacons to the 1989 ACC Championship. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest in May 1990. He earned his master’s degree from Auburn in June 1993. Holeman, and his wife, Julie, have two children, Anna Mae and Robert.