Georgia Bulldogs part way with women’s soccer coach

Georgia soccer coach Billy Lesesne watches from the sideline during the a match against Wofford at the Turner Soccer Complex in Athens on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)
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Georgia soccer coach Billy Lesesne watches from the sideline during the a match against Wofford at the Turner Soccer Complex in Athens on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)

Credit: Tony Walsh

Credit: Tony Walsh

ATHENS — Josh Brooks said when he took over as Georgia’s athletic director the expectation was for all the Bulldogs’ sports to either contend for SEC championships or at least compete in the NCAA tournament. On Tuesday, the first-year administrator showed that wasn’t just talk.

Billy Lesesne (pronounced luh-SANE), Georgia’s soccer coach for the last seven years, was told by Brooks his contract wouldn’t be renewed. The fifth soccer coach in UGA history, Lesesne’s tenure ends with a 43-64-18 overall record and 18-41-10 in the SEC.

“Our expectation is to compete for postseason success and championships in every sport,” Brooks said in a statement released by the school. “We believe a leadership change is needed to achieve those goals. We remain committed to ensuring our student-athletes have the resources to achieve the standards of excellence here at the University of Georgia.”

The Bulldogs came close to buying their coach some more time this year. Georgia was one of the last teams out in the NCAA Tournament selection process with a 11-5-3 overall record and 4-4-2 record.

Before that, Lesesne’s team played LSU to a 0-0 tie through 110 minutes in the SEC tournament before falling 5-4 on penalty kicks. The Bulldogs had knocked off LSU -- then ranked No. 5 -- 2-1 in late September in Baton Rouge. Based largely on advancing past Georgia, the Tigers (12-7, 4-6 SEC) were one of the seven SEC teams awarded an NCAA Tournament bid.

Following the SEC tourney loss, Lesesne talked optimistically about a “quality group” returning for next season and said he would “look forward to coaching them again.”

However, the Bulldogs are losing a lot of veteran players, and insiders say recruiting for the program has been sub-standard for Georgia.

UGA said Stephanie Ransom, deputy athletics director for business and a former Georgia soccer player, will act as point person as the Bulldogs conduct a “national search” for a new head coach.

One popular name already being bandied about is Keidane McAlpine of Southern Cal. McAlpine, a native of Huntsville, Ala., and a player at Birmingham Southern, had led the Trojans to eight consecutive NCAA tournaments and is 13-3-2 so far this season. His USC roster also includes some standout players from Atlanta.

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