Brian Lee named Rice soccer head coach


Brian Lee, who led Louisiana State University’s soccer team to six NCAA Tournament appearances, four SEC West Division titles and 143 wins in 10 seasons, has been named the third head coach in the history of Rice soccer, Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced March 29.

Brian Lee

Brian Lee

Lee, 47, was named the 2018 South Region Coach of the Year and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year by United Soccer Coaches after leading the Tigers to the SEC Tournament championship in November. LSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time under Lee, who recruited and coached 46 players to All-SEC honors and 10 to All-America accolades with the Tigers.

“I knew when I met Brian that he’d be a great fit for Rice University,” Karlgaard said. “He’s a highly experienced leader who has coached championship programs at a private school and in the SEC. He embraces our model of academic and competitive excellence, and he cares deeply for the student-athlete. I’m excited for him to lead Rice soccer into the future.”

“The opportunity to recruit and coach the very best student-athletes at one of the nation’s elite academic institutions is a privilege and an honor,” Lee said. “Rice has everything you need to compete for championships and national prominence and I am looking forward to building on the strong foundation (former coach) Nicky Adams has established over the last decade.”

Prior to LSU, Lee started the women’s soccer program from scratch at his alma mater Furman University and coached there 11 seasons beginning in 1994. He amassed a 144-80-10 overall record with the Paladins with four NCAA Tournament appearances. Furman’s 76-16-3 record in conference play during Lee’s tenure included a 36-2-0 mark over a four-stretch from 1999-2002. He was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times and was a finalist for National Soccer Coaches Association of America National Coach of the Year.

His teams’ success on the field, however, is only part of the resume. Lee-coached programs have earned 10 NSCAA Team Academic Awards for maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average, and 137 of his players at LSU and 122 at Furman were named to conference academic honor rolls.

A successful student-athlete in his own right, Lee earned four varsity letters with the Furman men’s soccer team from 1989-92. The native of Cheltenham, England, was an integral part of three Southern Conference titles. He was voted team captain and selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior. He also led Furman to the Sweet 16 in its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1991.

Lee graduated from Furman in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He and his wife Nancy have two children, Aidan and Abby.

John Sullivan is assistant communications director in Rice Athletics. 

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