Dave Hart has a coach to hire, his first as Tennessee’s athletic director.
Angela Kelly was announced Saturday as the new women’s soccer coach at the University of Texas.
She leaves the Lady Vols after 16 years, the past 12 as head coach during which she elevated the program from fledgling status to a perennial SEC contender.
“Dave Hart promised me he will take beautiful care of this program and I believe that,’’ Kelly said Saturday night.
“The Tennessee soccer program is in premier shape. Whoever gets this job will be stepping into a gold mine.’’
Kelly leaves behind a legacy of 160-84-20 (.664), including 15-7 in 2011.
After serving as assistant coach to Charlie McCabe for four years Kelly was promoted in 1999 to become the program’s second head coach.
The Lady Vols on Kelly’s watch appeared in nine NCAA tournaments, including five Sweet 16 berths. They won three regular-season SEC titles (2003-05) and four SEC tournament crowns, the most recent in 2008. She was a three-time SEC coach of the year.
“We would like to thank Ange for her leadership, dedication and hard work during her 16 years at the University of Tennessee,’’ Hart said in a UT release. “Much was accomplished during her tenure.’’
Kelly is a native of Scotland who grew up in Ontario. She played soccer at North Carolina from 1991-94 under the legendary coach Anson Dorrance, helping the Tar Heels go 97-1-1 during her term.
She is bringing Tennessee assistant coach and former Lady Vol star Keeley Dowling with her to the Longhorns. Mia Hamm, a former UNC teammate and close friend, lives in Austin.
“Texas is an unbelievable athletic department,’’ Kelly said.
Kelly has a five-and-a-half year “understanding” at Texas.
She replaces Chris Petrucelli, who was reassigned within the department on Dec. 3.
Texas has appeared in 10 of the past 11 NCAA tournaments, including 2011.
To Kelly, leaving behind mentors Joan Cronan and Pat Summitt was not a call to make lightly.
“I don’t go forward at all or make any major decision without the acceptance and understanding of Coach Summitt,’’ Kelly said. “She was so incredibly supportive.
“I can’t say enough wonderful things about both programs.’’
Hart took over at UT in September. He has made a couple of administrative hires, but soccer will be his first coaching search.
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