Jon Lipsitz Introduced as New UK Women's Soccer Coach

Dec. 18, 2008

Video from Press Conference | Photo Gallery

Mitch Barnhart, Director of Athletics

Opening Statement ...
"Our first press conference is to announce the new head coach of the women's soccer team. We went through an extensive search, and I want to thank John Cropp for his leadership and for helping me with all of the details. We had between 130 to 150 applicants for the position, which tells you a little something about the interest in our program. This is a heavy soccer area between Kentucky and Ohio. In the past, it's a sport that we've been good in and we want to be good going forward. We wanted to hire someone who could give leadership to that program and bring in expertise, emotion and excitement to our program.

"We talk about the principles for our program all the time and that had to be the foundational piece of what we do. We've set a course for the next seven years to win to try to win 15 championships by 2015. This is a man that I think can help us move in that direction very quickly. He met with the team yesterday for the first time. One of the things that I found unique about this man was his attire on the sidelines. He wears a suit and tie for every game, and I'm not sure I've seen that before.

"His credentials are outstanding. He's won three straight Atlantic 10 Championships in a row. He was Coach of the Year in his league. He's coached All-Americans. His team was fifth in the country in scoring; last year they scored 69 goals. He's put together a remarkable résumé. He has a lot of ties in the area because he's coached a lot of teams up (in Ohio). He brings with him an array of knowledge that will give us a great opportunity to be better in women's soccer. He has a wonderful wife Kathryn and two sons Zach and Max.

"It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce the next women's soccer coach at the University of Kentucky, Jon Lipsitz."

Kentucky Women's Soccer Head Coach Jon Lipsitz

Opening Statement ...
"First of all, I want to thank all of you for being here. I feel really blessed to be here. This has been a dream of mine for a long, long time. I really appreciate the opportunity Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, Associate Athletics Director John Cropp and everyone else I've been fortunate enough to meet in this department and at this university have given me. I know it is a great challenge because the expectations here are very high. That is not something that scares me; it is something that excites me. I want high expectations and I was fortunate enough to meet with my new team yesterday and I could communicate how high my expectations are and see the excitement in their eyes. I could see the match right away, and I cannot wait for them to get back from their break. I won't be taking much of one because I'll be recruiting right away. We'll get back together when school starts and we'll get to work right away.

"This is a wonderful city that loves its university and that is something that is very dear to my heart, this wonderful university and athletic department. My wife summed it up best, this the perfect mix for me with tremendous resources to build champions and a tremendous love for family, which is important to who I am and is in my heart every day. I feel like this is a great place for me. I've wanted to be here for a very long time and, at times, I have charted a course in my career so I could end up here. Now I'm here and I can't wait to get going so I thank you all."

On why he wanted to be at Kentucky ...
"If you look back at the record books at the University of Kentucky women's soccer, you'll see names like Kim LaBelle, Annie Gage and Elizabeth Ramsey. These are all girls that I have coached. There was a moment when I came down for a game and there were seven of my youth players starting on this team. You can look back to the inception of this program and I've always had many players that came here. I've always enjoyed coming down to games and seeing the tremendous facilities and support for women's soccer here. This a wonderful place that I've loved for a long, long time and believe it is a championship program."

On why he wears a suit at every game ...
"I coached a game at Arizona State two falls ago. It was 116 degrees and I wore a suit the entire game, so this is not something that I choose when and where. My wife gets mad at me because I'll wear my nice shoes when it's raining, but I told her I'm not going to waiver from that. The reason I started was that when I got to Charlotte and was fortunate enough to get that opportunity, I felt that a statement had to be made that women's soccer is important.

"I do not in any way resent the fact that other coaches show up in shorts and a t-shirt to coach women's soccer most of the time. That's their choice, but I think that if you look at (UK basketball coach) Billy Gillispie and his colleagues, you see that they represent themselves to the university. I wanted to make a statement that I take this seriously. This is all about family but it also a business and we need to carry ourselves as champions and represent the university. I made the decision to wear a suit and the reaction I got was so positive that I thought it was a good thing. It is critical to me; I will do it every single game."

On recruiting in the state of Kentucky ...
"My philosophy for recruiting has always been the same; keep the best at home. My job is to keep the best at home. While I'm not going to walk into this with an arrogant attitude that everyone just wants to go to the University of Kentucky, I have to convince them with my vision for this program. "Why wouldn't someone from Kentucky want to go to this university?" is my manner of thinking. I want to keep the best at home, that is my job. After that I will be recruiting nationally. I believe in doing that. Obviously, this is a national university with a wonderful reputation for its academics. While I will be recruiting nationally, I will be keeping the best at home and that will be starting immediately."

On his offensive success at Charlotte transferring over to Kentucky ... 
"If you look at my first two years (at Charlotte), we struggled. We played for the regular season championship at St. Louis two falls ago and I started three defenders as my forwards because I decided if we couldn't score, then we sure as heck were going to defend. What I will do is learn about my players through recruiting and we will focus on the basics of the game. My first four days of preseason, we don't talk about offense. That will never change; it's all about defending. It is all about being strong mentally and physically. I can guarantee you that you will come to a game and not be concerned about our work rate. We will work hard. I want the fans and everyone involved with this university to be proud of watching an exciting style of soccer."

Kentucky Players

#14 Laura Novikoff, So.

On the team's attitude about the incoming coach ...
"Everybody is really excited. We got to sit down with Coach yesterday afternoon. The vision that he has for the program is really exciting and we're really pumped about getting back in January to start working."

On what she's looking forward to next season ...
"We're looking forward to the chance to turn everything around. No one's ever satisfied with losing as much as we lost this fall. Having new players and all of the work we'll be doing in the spring will get us re-motivated to strive for the SEC Championship next season." 

On Coach Lipsitz wearing a suit at every game ...
"I think it's awesome. It's not very often that you see someone with that kind of professionalism and takes the time to look nice and professional on the field. I think it will definitely change how we approach the game."

#28 Kelly Miller, So.

On the team's attitude about the incoming coach ...
"It's just a whole different attitude coming out of the fall. I think everyone's coming back strong. We just want to get on a new page and forget about what happened last season. I think with our new coach it's definitely possible to turn this around."

On taking what they learned from the past season and moving forward with the coach's new vision ...
"I think Coach's new vision was a no drama policy. We are a women's sports team, so there's going to be drama, but I think players are going to have a better attitude. People are going to have more respect for the program. When we get back to work, we need to show people that we're a respectable program. We have to learn from our mistakes last year. We have to bring more offense and score more goals. A better attitude from last year is definitely the one thing we're looking forward to."