Erica Demers was named the third head coach in UAB women’s soccer history on May 22, 2017 and wasted no time in putting her imprint on a program that saw its win total increase by 11 games under her direction.
Picked to finish last in a preseason poll voted on by the Conference USA head coaches, Demers orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in the NCAA by guiding the Blazers to an 13-4-3 overall record, a 7-2-1 mark in league play and a third-place finish. Demers completely revamped the Blazer offense and made it one of the most formidable units in Conference USA, as the Blazers went from 18 goals scored in 2016 to 39 in 2017 to rank fourth in the league. Midfielder Amy Brewer flourished under Demers’ tutelage and was among the league leaders in points (25), goals (10) and assists (5) on her way to earning All-Conference USA First Team accolades. Fellow midfielder Rachel Green also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team after finishing with 17 points on seven goals and three assists.
Demers also helped the Blazers become one of the stingiest defensive teams in Conference USA, finishing her debut season tied for first in the league for the fewest goals allowed. Keeper Kelsey Daugherty paced the league with a 0.76 goals against average, recorded the second-most shutouts in a single season (7) in school history and was tied for third in the league with 95 saves. Daugherty was selected as the Conference USA Goalkeeper of the Week four different times in 2017 and also earned a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team.
Overall, Demers guided UAB to its most wins since 2004 and owns the most single-season victories by a first year head coach in school history.
Demers arrived in Birmingham following three successful seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa under Hawkeye head coach Dave Dilanni. During that time, Demers helped the Hawkeyes to 29 victories, coached three All-Big Ten performers, two all-region selections, and 31 Academic All-Big Ten recipients.
During the 2016 season, Iowa posted an 8-11-0 record with a young team featuring eight freshmen and 12 underclassmen. Freshman Natalie Winters started all 19 games and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team to become the first Hawkeye to do so since 2013.
Academically, the Hawkeyes thrived, as 16 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition, tying a program record.
In 2015, Demers helped senior Hannah Clark lead the Big Ten in saves (105), saves per game (5.83) and tie for sixth in shutouts (6). Clark ended her career as the winningest goalkeeper in program history (36 victories) and was tops in the record books in career shutouts (26) and third in career saves (321).
The Hawkeyes earned the NSCAA Ethics and Sportsmanship Award and six student-athletes garnered Academic All-Big Ten recognition.
In her first season in Iowa City, Demers guided the Hawkeyes to a 14-7-1 overall record and a 7-5-1 Big Ten mark to notch the program's third top-five league finish since 2011. The seven Big Ten victories tied the program record for Big Ten wins in a single season and the 14 wins were the second-most in school history.
After entering the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 5 seed, Iowa posted victories over No. 23 Rutgers and Northwestern to advance to the tournament championship game for a second straight season. Two seniors -- Cloe Lacasse and Melanie Pickert -- capped their Hawkeye careers with All-Big Ten First Team and All-Region First Team honors. They were the first pair in school history to earn All-Big Ten First Team honors in the same season and the first two players to garner All-Region First Team recognition.
Demers joined the Iowa program after spending nine seasons with DiIanni at Grand Valley State, the final two as associate head coach. She helped the Lakers post a 189-12-17 record, capture three NCAA Division II national titles, win nine-straight GLIAC championships and nine NCAA regional championships.
Under Demers' tutelage, Grand Valley State became one of the best offensive programs in the nation. The team set program scoring records in six-straight seasons, including a school-best 92 goals in 2010.
Demers was instrumental in the development of All-America forward Katy Tafler, who holds the top spot in the Grand Valley record books with 269 points (114 goals, 41 assists) -- a total that ranks third in NCAA history. She also coached five GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year selections.
In addition to her coaching duties, Demers served as the school's recruiting coordinator, camps coordinator and instructor, strength and conditioning coach and fundraising director. She also was instrumental in the team's academic success, as she coached two Academic All-American of the Year honorees, eight Academic All-Americans, one Elite 88 Award winner and more than 40 athletes to GLIAC All-Academic honors during her tenure.
Demers began her coaching career at The Citadel, where she served one season as a graduate assistant.
As a student-athlete, Demers played four years of Division I soccer at Oakland University, where she led the Grizzlies to four straight conference tournament titles and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. She was a two-time first-team Mid-Continent Conference selection and was Mid-Con Player of the Year in 2002. She ended her career with 55 points on 15 goals and 25 assists.
Demers played for the Canadian U-21 National Team and was part of the Canadian National Championship team in 2000. In 1997-98, she played for the National Training Centre team and was a member of the Ontario Provincial Team for five years.
The Welland, Ontario, Canada, native graduated from Oakland with a bachelor of science in health science in 2004 and earned her master's degree in education from Grand Valley State in 2009.