FLORENCE, S.C. – Athletic Department officials at Francis Marion University have announced the appointment of Joel Person as the new head coach for the women’s soccer program. Person served as the men’s assistant coach at FMU during the 2008 fall season.
Person succeeds Marty Beall, who left the program to take the head coaching job with High Point University.
FMU director of athletics Murray Hartzler said Person was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants that came from across the country. “We are very pleased that Joel has accepted our offer to head the women’s program. It was a pleasant surprise to find the top candidate already on our campus.”
“Joel has displayed his coaching expertise while working with the men’s team, and has developed a rapport with the members of the women’s squad while training them this spring. I look forward to him building and improving upon the firm foundation already laid for our program.”
Person becomes the third head coach in the program’s 14-year history, following Beall and Hartzler. The Patriot women own an all-time record of 165-79-11 mark, including 12 seasons of double-figure wins and an imposing 93-18-6 home record.
The Patriots lose only two seniors off last fall’s 6-12-1 squad, the team’s second year as a full-fledged NCAA Division I member. Last year’s schedule included five opponents that made the NCAA Tournament the year before.
“I am extremely excited about the challenge that is now in front of me,” Person said. “The FMU program has developed a good tradition both on and off the field, and I am happy to now be a part of that. To have already met and trained with the players is a huge advantage for the fall season – a head start if you may. Now I must start with the recruiting process and move forward on that front.”
With Person serving as assistant coach last fall, the FMU men recorded a 14-5-3 record, won both the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where the Patriots advanced to the second round.
Prior to joining the FMU staff in 2008, Person served one season as an assistant women’s coach at the University of Mobile. He also worked for two years as a state coach with the Alabama Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program.
He owns the United States Soccer Federation National B License and the USSF National Youth License.
Person was director of coaching with the Mobile Soccer Club in 2006-07, was the head boys’ varsity coach at the UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Mobile for three seasons with a 41-16-4 record and three playoff appearances, and assisted with the University of Mobile men’s program from 2002 to 2006. That final stint included the Rams’ 2002 NAIA national championship season.
A native of Fairbanks, Alaska, he earned the B.A. degree in history and religion (magna cum laude) from Mobile in 2002. He played four seasons for the Rams, while the program made three NAIA Final Four appearances during his career.
He also played several seasons in the USL Premier Development League.
Off the field, the Francis Marion women’s program has earned a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award for the five of the past six seasons 2008-09, 2006-07, 2005-06, 2004-05, and 2003-04 school years.