Bob Sheehan begins his 22nd year as the only women’s soccer head coach in Northern Kentucky University history in the 2018 season. Sheehan has built the NKU women’s soccer program from scratch into one of the nation’s best. He picked up his 300th career victory on Aug. 29, 2017, and is 306-100-28 (.737) in 21 seasons with the Norse.
Sheehan has seen great success throughout the transition to Division I play, as he led the 2016 squad to capture the University’s first-ever Division I conference championship. The 2016 team was also the first NKU program to advance to the Division I NCAA Tournament in its first year eligible to do so after being granted full Division I status in August 2016 after completing the four-year reclassification period. The Norse fell to eventual national runner-up West Virginia, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to the NCAA Tournament appearance and Horizon League Tournament Championship in 2016, Sheehan guided the 2016 squad to a 13-7-1 overall record including a 6-2-1 mark in League play. The record included notable wins over Vanderbilt (Sept. 11), defending Horizon League champion Oakland (Sept. 28), and a pair of come-from-behind victories against Detroit Mercy (Nov. 3) and Milwaukee (Nov. 5) to win the Horizon League Championship. He has led NKU to post a new Division I program record in wins in each of the last three seasons, including back-to-back seasons with double-digit victories.
In 2016, Sheehan coached two-time Horizon League Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, and First-Team All-Horizon League selection Macy Hamblin, a junior forward, who also earned NSCAA All-Region honors for the second-consecutive season. Additionally, junior forward Jessica Frey was named First Team All-League for the second-straight year, while senior midfielder Katelyn Newton earned Second Team honors and freshman forward Ally Perkins was named to the All-Freshman team.
Under his guidance the team also earned its 11th-straight National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Team Academic Award in 2016 after posting a 3.42 cumulative grade point average for the second year in a row. The team has now been recognized for the honor 14 times since 2000.
Sheehan’s teams captured an unprecedented seven Great Lakes Valley Conference championships while NKU competed at the NCAA Division II level. When the program was in just its third year, Sheehan led the Norse to the NCAA Division II national semifinals. NKU was the national runner up the next year, in 2000, and made three-straight trips to the national semifinals from 1999 to 2001. He led the squad to a national quarterfinal appearance in 2002 and 2003 and four-straight NCAA Division II Midwest Regionals between 2008 and 2011, a streak that was halted due to the Division I transition starting in the 2012 season.
The 2012 season was NKU’s first at the Division I level. Just two years later, in 2014, NKU advanced to the Atlantic Sun Semifinals and has advanced to the semifinals of its conference tournament, or beyond, in each year since.
In 2015, Sheehan led NKU to a 11-5-2 overall record and a 6-2-1 mark in its first season as a member of the Horizon League and final year in the Division I transitional period. The Norse opened League play with five-straight wins and capped off the season with a trip to the League semifinals where they battled eventual champion Oakland to a draw and fell in penalty kicks. The 2015 season was the second-straight year the Norse advanced to their conference championship semifinal round. Under Sheehan's direction, sophomore forward Macy Hamblin was named Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year while joining teammate Jessica Frey on the All-League First Team. Under Sheehan's direction, NKU was also one of eight Division I programs to earn the Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award. The Norse earned the award for the fifth-consecutive season.
In 2014, NKU went 9-8-3 overall and 3-3-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Norse advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Championships after posting four consecutive shutouts to end the season before dropping a 3-1 decision to eventual champs Florida Gulf Coast.
In 2013, the Norse posted a 6-10-2 overall record and 2-6-1 Atlantic Sun Conference record. In 2012, the first women’s soccer victory of the season in NCAA Division I belonged to NKU, as the Norse used a 2-0 win to defeat Canisius in Buffalo, N.Y. NKU ended the year with back-to-back victories over South Carolina Upstate and Lipscomb to finish its inaugural Division I season 6-11 overall and 3-6 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The team was presented with a National Team Academic Award and Team Ethics Award by the NSCAA at the conclusion of the season.
In 2011, the Norse claimed a 16-2-2 record, going 12-1-1 in GLVC play and advancing to the NCAA Midwest Region championship game for the second time in three years. Sheehan and the Norse picked up their 250th all-time win with a 3-2 decision over Missouri-St. Louis in the final home game of the season.
In 2010, Sheehan led the Norse to a 17-2-2 record, including a 13-1 GLVC record. The Norse set a new standard for defense, allowing just seven goals on the year. NKU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season, falling to Wisconsin-Parkside on penalty kicks in the regional semifinals.
In 2009, the Norse took the GLVC title with a 19-2-1 mark and a 13-2 record in conference play. NKU advanced to the Midwest Region final and played eventual national champion Grand Valley State to a scoreless draw before falling in penalty kicks,5-4. For the second straight season the Norse were perfect at home, running that winning streak to 20 games.
In 2008, Sheehan’s Norse amassed a 16-4 record and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years, advancing to the second round before being ousted by Wisconsin-Parkside, who accounted for three of NKU’s four defeats on the year. Sheehan also produced his first All-American since 2005 in Brandi Doss, who ranked second in the nation with 0.75 assists per game.
In 2007, Sheehan led the Norse to a 12-6 record and their 10th consecutive trip to the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament. Under Sheehan’s direction the Norse captured the GLVC title in six of their first 10 seasons, including a string of five straight from 1998-2002.
In 2006, Sheehan guided NKU to a 13-4-1 record and a berth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament.
Sheehan was named GLVC Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career in 2005, and he also earned Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year honors after leading NKU to its seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In addition, NKU senior forward Kristen Votapek was named to the NSCAA’s NCAA Division II All-America second team. Votapek also was named GLVC Player of the Year and earned Scholar All-America honors.
In 2004, Sheehan led NKU to a 15-5-1 overall record. The Norse also advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the sixth straight year and finished with a No. 21 national ranking in the Division II poll.
Prior to taking the NKU job, Sheehan spent 13 years as head coach at St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati and built one of Ohio’s top prep powerhouses in girls’ soccer. Sheehan, who owned a career record of 195-48-28 at St. Ursula, won a pair of state championships (1991 and 1993), and his teams compiled a record of 106-8-13 during his last six years.
A 1984 graduate of Xavier University, Sheehan was named Girls Greater Cincinnati League Gray Division Coach of the Year seven times in his career while at St. Ursula.
Sheehan also earned his MBA in finance from Xavier. Sheehan and his wife, Kelly, have a daughter (Maggie) and a son (John Patrick). The Sheehans live in Cincinnati.