Nineteen seasons ago, Brooks Monaghan took over the University of Memphis Women’s Soccer program in hopes of taking it to new heights. Six league championships, seven NCAA Tournament berths and 229 wins later, Monaghan has molded the program into a force to be reckoned with on the national level.
Asked what his one lasting impression on the program would be and why in 2000, Monaghan responded: “I would like my student-athletes to know that I gave everything I had to make this program better. I would want the young ladies to leave here knowing that they not only grew as players, but also as people."
Monaghan, the 2007 and 2011 Conference USA Coach of the Year, has seen the Tigers flourish on and off the field since his tenure began back in 2000.
Memphis has claimed 12-straight National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Awards, six-straight American Athletic Conference Team Academic Excellence Awards, the 2009 C-USA Sport Academic Award, seven Academic All-Americans and 17 CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District selections. Since Monaghan’s first season in 2000, the team has a composite grade point average of 3.1 or higher.
In 2016 the Tigers added another honor to the list, posting the highest grade point average in all of Division I Soccer during the 2015-16 academic year. The team GPA of 3.70 was the program’s highest ever, after Memphis posted a 3.60 in 2014-15 and in 2009-10.
On the field, team and individual success have become the norm in the Monaghan era. The Tigers returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 for the first time since five straight C-USA Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances from 2007-11. Individually, Memphis has had one AAC Player of the Year Winner (Kylie Davis, 2014 midfielder of the year), and 14 C-USA Player of the Year winners (5 Offensive/3 Defensive/2 Midfielder/4 Freshman). The women’s soccer team has added 16 All-AAC picks and six All-AAC freshman selections, 34 All-C-USA picks, 16 All-C-USA Freshman Team selections, five All-Americans and one Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honoree.
The 2017 season saw continued success for the team and for Monaghan after an 11-6-3 season that came with six All-Conference performers. Elizabeth Woerner and Marie Levasseur were named to the first-team, Olivia Gauthier and Jessica Lisi were named to the second team and Clarissa Larisey and Elizabeth Moberg were coined to the All-Rookie Team. With the third conference victory of the season, Monaghan claimed his 100th career conference victory.
Memphis returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 after finishing with a 14-5-1 record and earning the program’s first at-large selection. The Tigers posted an unbeaten home record for the first time in program history with an 8-0-1 record, while the only tie was against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma State. Forward Valerie Sanderson became the program’s all-time goals (52) and points (122) leader after a stellar senior campaign where she scored 16 goals and totaled 39 points. Memphis was minutes away from continuing its season and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but an 88th minute goal by Arkansas sent the match into overtime where the Tigers were defeated.
The 2013 campaign saw Memphis dawn a new era, joining the American Athletic Conference, and the Tigers still managed to post 10-plus wins for the 10th-straight season. In 2012, Monaghan passed the 150-win plateau as the UofM posted a 10-8-1 record.
The 2011 season went down as the best in school history and marked a fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Memphis climbed as high as No. 3 in the national polls, the program’s highest ranking. The 2011 squad surged through the non-conference schedule with a 7-0 mark and won the C-USA title with a 10-0-1 record. The squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round, where it suffered its lone loss in a 22-1-1 season.
A sign that a program is among the nation’s elite is its ability to win on the road, and under Monaghan’s direction, the Lady Tigers have done that in recent years. Monaghan has led Memphis to a 61-31-12 road mark since the 2006 season.
Prior to taking the head coaching duties, Monaghan served as the program’s goalkeeping coach for former head coach Les Szabo. Monaghan was a vital part of Szabo’s staff during the program’s first four seasons.
When Monaghan became the Tigers’ goalkeepers coach, he was already familiar with the demands of running a successful college soccer program, having enjoyed tremendous success during his playing career at Memphis. The former Tigers goalkeeper still holds school records for season (11) and career (24) shutouts. His 298 saves rank second all-time, and he is second in season goals-against average (0.80).
He was named All-Great Midwest Conference first team in 1992, after leading the Tigers to a share of the conference title. In 1993, Monaghan was the Defensive MVP of the league’s championship game, helping the Tigers to the tournament crown and their first NCAA Tournament appearance. His 38 goalkeeper wins still stand as the school’s career record.
A former prep standout at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Monaghan’s collegiate play earned him a spot on the United States U20 National Squad. Monaghan also played professionally, spending two season with the New Orleans Gamblers from 1995-96 and one with the Memphis Express in 2002.
A Memphis native, Monaghan received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Memphis in 1994. He and his wife, Mary, reside in Collierville and have two children, Brooks IV and Charlie Elizabeth.