University of Georgia

University of Georgia Athletic Association
PO Box 1472 Athens, GA 30602
Division 1 Georgia Southeast
Public Very Large National competitor

Coaches

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Billy Lesesne

Billy Lesesne was introduced as the fifth head coach of the Georgia women’s soccer team on December 16, 2014, after serving as the associate head coach at Duke University.


In his first season as head coach Lesesne guided the 2015 Bulldogs to heights that UGA had never been before. On Sept. 27, 2015 Lesesne coached the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over No. 4 Texas A&M, marking the highest-ranked team a Georgia squad has ever defeated and the first in school history against the Aggies. The Bulldogs later went on the road and secured crucial back-to-back road wins against Vanderbilt and No. 16 Auburn. Georgia earned a No. 9-seed to the SEC Tournament in UGA’s 17th overall appearance in the conference tournament.


Under Lesesne’s tutelage, two Bulldogs earned postseason 2015 All-SEC honors. Caroline Waters was named All-SEC Second Team, while Sydney Shultis garnered All-SEC Freshman Team recognition.


In his second season at the helm of the Bulldogs, Lesesne saw several highs and lows. Injuries plagued the team, but the Bulldogs were playing their best soccer in the final stretch of the season. Georgia played to a close 3-2 record in the final five games of the regular season, falling just short of postseason action.


Under Lesesne’s direction, two Bulldogs moved up in the Georgia soccer record books, with Marion Crowder earning the third spot in career goals with 29 and Louise Hogrell pushing into the fifth spot for shutout victories with 15. Additionally, Lauren Tanner landed tied for seventh after dishing out seven assists in one season.


Also, at the conclusion of the 2016 regular season, seniors Marion Crowder and Caroline Waters were named to All-SEC teams. Crowder was selected to the first team as an at-large forward, while Waters earned a spot on the second team as a defender.


Georgia battled numerous injuries in 2017. In what was deemed the fifth toughest schedule in the NCAA and second in the SEC, Georgia went 4-12-2.


The team played a game for the books against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 10. It was the first time two Bulldogs had a hat trick in the same game. Freshman Mollie Belisle and senior Kelsey Killean led Georgia to a 9-1 victory over the Chanticleers, with four and three goals, respectively. Additionally nine goals are the second most goals scored in one game in Georgia soccer history and the most during the Billy Lesesne era.


Georgia finished 2017 ranked third in average attendance (1,446/game) in the SEC and ninth in the NCAA.


In 2018, Georgia won three games at home against Charlotte, Georgia State, and Arkansas on top of playing to five draws after double overtime. Nine games were determined by one goal or less with three scoreless games of 110 minutes. The Bulldogs' starting lineup consistently featured all sophomores and freshmen with seven newcomers starting eight games or more.


Georgia started conference play 1-0 for the first time since 2013 with a win over Arkansas and Cecily Stoute was named to the SEC All-Freshmen team.


UGA finished 2018 ranked 12th in the NCAA in accumulative attendance and third in the SEC with 11,974, while ranking 20th in the NCAA in average attendance and fourth in the SEC with 1,089.


Lesesne came to UGA following 14 seasons in Durham, the last 11 as the program’s associate head coach. He helped lead the 2011 edition of the Blue Devils to the NCAA College Cup (“Final Four”) and was named the Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year that season. In his 14 seasons at Duke University, the Blue Devils reached a total of 12 NCAA Tournaments, including three straight trips to the “Elite Eight” from 2011-13.


He previously spent three seasons as an assistant coach before his promotion in the summer of 2004. In addition to his coaching duties at Duke University, Lesesne was a North Carolina ODP state coach and Region III staff coach in 2002-03.


Prior to his time in Durham, Lesesne served as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt for two seasons, guiding the Commodores to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament in 2000.


Lesesne’s previous head coaching experience came at his alma mater, Erskine College, where he spent six seasons. There, he served as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs. He earned several honors during his time at Erskine, including NSCAA Division II Women’s South Region Coach of the Year and Carolina’s Virginia Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1997, after leading the Lady Fleet to a 15-2-1 record and a conference title. He also won the Carolina’s Virginia Athletic Conference Messick Award for Sportsmanship in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as the conference award for highest graduation rates for student-athletes.


Lesesne began his coaching career at Cambridge Academy in Greenwood, S.C., in 1988, before serving as the assistant men’s coach at the College of Charleston from 1990-91. He also coached the South Carolina Boys’ State ODP team from 1990-95 and the Girls’ ODP team from 1996-99.


Lesesne enjoyed a successful playing career, playing three years of professional soccer with the Charleston Battery (USISL/A-League) and four years at Erskine College, where he was an NAIA All-America selection his senior season and an NSCAA All-South Region honoree his last two seasons. He also earned NAIA All-District 6 honors from 1983-86, and was the Jake Todd/Erskine College Senior Athlete Award winner for the 1986-87 school year. He graduated from Erskine in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in biology/natural science.


Lesesne and his wife, Katie, have two daughters, Addison and Victoria, and a son, William.

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Email coach

Katie Ely

Katie Ely joined the University of Georgia soccer staff as an assistant coach in January of 2015. Ely came to UGA after spending two seasons with the Missouri program where she served as an assistant coach to 19-year veteran Bryan Blitz.


In 2015, her first season working with UGA goalkeepers, Ely guided Louise Hogrell to national recognition while posting four shutouts. Under Ely, Hogrell led the SEC in saves and saves per game in 2015 and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 26 and national honorable mention player of the week by TopDrawerSoccer.com on Oct. 27.


Under Ely’s direction Hogrell continued to climb the Georgia record books in 2016. Hogrell landed in the fifth spot for career shutouts (14), career wins (21), and career saves (262), while sliding into seventh for career goals against average (1.41).


By the end of her senior year in 2017, Hogrell averaged 5.17 saves per game, which ranked first in the SEC, under Ely’s direction. Hogrell ended her career as a Bulldog ranked second in career saves with 346. She added two shutouts in 2017 to remain in the fifth spot for career shutouts with 15.


In 2018, freshman goalkeeper Emory Wegener recorded five shutouts for the Bulldogs and nine of Georgia’s games were determined by one goal or less. Wegener made 88 saves her first year in goal and sophomore Liz Brucia saved six more.


Ely worked primarily with the Tigers’ goalkeepers while in Columbia, helping McKenzie Sauerwein set a school record in saves in 2013. Sauerwein recorded six shutouts in 2014, helping the Tigers advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and a 12-7-3 record.


Prior to joining the Missouri staff, Ely spent two seasons as the goalkeeper coach at Duke where she worked on the same staff as then associate head coach Billy Lesesne. While at Duke, Ely helped the Blue Devils reach the 2011 and 2012 NCAA College Cup. The Blue Devil goalkeepers also set single season records in shutouts (16) and goals against average (0.48) under Ely’s direction.


Ely spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Syracuse before joining Duke’s staff. While with the Orange, she coached goalkeepers who set the school’s career saves and shutouts records and earned All-Big East Rookie Team honors.


Ely graduated from Fairfield (Conn.) University in 2007, where she helped the Stags win the MAAC regular season title in 2002 and the MAAC Tournament title in 2007. She ranks first in school history in saves average, fifth in saves and sixth in wins, shutouts and goals against average.

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Email coach

Robert Lane

Robert Lane joined the University of Georgia soccer staff as an assistant coach in January of 2019. Lane came to UGA after spendingLane comes to Georgia after serving as the head coach of the women's soccer team at the University of Montevallo since 2015.


In his time at Montevallo, Lane's team made a Peach Belt Conference Tournament appearance in 2016, in addition to coaching nine Peach Belt Conference All-Academic Team selections and one Gulf South Conference All-Academic Team selection. This past season his team played in the Gulf South Conference Tournament and lost in the finals.


Prior to Montevallo, he was an assistant at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2011-14), and made head coaching stops at Belmont Abbey College (2009-10), and Coker College (men's team 2006-08).


At UNC Charlotte, Lane was very successful, reaching postseason conference play four straight years. The 49ers also won the Conference USA Championship in the regular season in 2013.


Lane is a graduate of East Carolina University, holding a Bachelor of Science Degree in political science. He played collegiately both at ECU and Barton College.


Lane and his wife Neeley have three children, Kately, Paisley and MaryRentz.

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