Florida State hires Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky as next head soccer coach

Curt Weiler
Tallahassee Democrat

Florida State's search for its new head soccer coach is over.

FSU is hiring Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky to replace Mark Krikorian, the university announced Monday morning. The announcement comes just less than a month after FSU began its national search on March 29 after Krikorian abruptly resigned in an email to media members.

Pensky has 17 years of D-I head coaching experience at both Tennessee (10 seasons) and Maryland (seven seasons), posting a 185-111-45 record and a .609 winning percentage.

Most recently, he was named the SEC Coach of the Year for the 2021 season, leading the Volunteers to a 20-3 record -- the most wins in program history -- and the program's first SEC Tournament Championship since 2008. 

“Florida State’s soccer program is regarded as one of if not the best in the country and rightfully so,” Pensky said in the press release announcing the news. 

“The opportunity to be a part of this great program with the remarkable tradition is an honor.  What Mark did here over the last 17 years is unparalleled in our game.  Simply put, he has been the best in the business.

“But it is more than just the soccer program that attracted me.  The status of the university as a top tier public institution academically is just as impressive as the athletic history.  And, I have coached in the ACC and I know the strength of the league is second to none in the country. I take over the program with endless humility and understanding of the task at hand.”


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Pensky has big shoes to fill, replacing Krikorian mere months after the legendary FSU coach led the Seminoles to their third national championship, all of which have come in the last eight seasons.

FSU announced Monday it has hired Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky, the reigning SEC Coach of the Year, as its new head soccer coach.

In Pensky's 10 seasons in Knoxville, he led Tennessee to a .500 or better record in every year and four NCAA Tournament appearances. The Volunteers advanced to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals for the first time in program history in 2018 and made the Round of 16 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

“After getting a great deal of input from our soccer student-athletes, we set out to attract the very best coach in the country to lead what has become the premier program in the country.  I am very pleased to announce that in Brian Pensky we have found the person whose talent and drive match our consistently high expectations for FSU soccer," FSU AD Michael Alford said via press release.

“Coach Pensky is a proven winner both in the ACC which we consider the nation’s best conference and the SEC.  He has built programs and sustained consistent, high-level success proving his abilities time and time again.

“I am excited about the future of our program under Coach Pensky and we welcome him and his family to Florida State.”

Prior to Tennessee, Pensky was the head coach at Maryland from 2005 through 2011 after he was an assistant there on the men's soccer side from 2002 through 2004, helping lead the Maryland men to three straight College Cup appearances.

It took him a few years to build the Terrapins up, starting his tenure with four losing seasons. However, he amassed a 44-14-9 record over his final three seasons at Maryland, leading the Terrapins to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the No. 1 overall seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and two Round of 16 appearances.

Pensky graduated from Emory in 1991. He and his wife, Abby, have three children, boy-girl twins Will and Alex and their younger son, Ben.

Tennessee Soccer Head Coach Brian Pensky calls during practice in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday, August 20, 2019. Alozie is a graduate transfer student from Yale.


Coaching Experience

2012-April 2022:Tennessee, Women's Soccer Head Coach

2005-2011: Maryland, Women's Soccer Head Coach

2002-2004: Maryland, Men's Soccer Assistant Coach

2001: Loyola College, Men's Soccer Assistant Coach

1998-2000: George Washington University, Women's Soccer Assistant Coach

1996-98: Bullis School, Boy's Soccer Head Coach


2021 SEC Coach of the Year; 2021 SEC Tournament Champions; 2021 Southeast Region Staff of the Year; NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2021; Won back-to-back SEC Eastern Division titles in 2020 and 2021; Guided UT to first-ever NCAA quarterfinal in 2018; Six seasons of 10-plus wins (2012, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21); SEC Tournament semifinal appearance in 2014; Led Vols to .500 or better record in all 10 seasons; Six All-America honors from three student-athletes; 25 United Coaches All-Region Selections; 29 All-SEC Selections

Career Record

Tennessee (10 years): 118-58-25 .626%

Maryland (7 years): 67-53-20  .550%

Totals: 185-111-45  .609%

Reach Curt Weiler at cweiler@tallahassee.com or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.

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