Women’s Soccer welcomes coach Pitt to the helm



Tim Laurent, Sports Writer

The Francis Marion University women’s soccer team, which finished 2011 with four wins, 13 losses, and one tie, is looking to turn things around under the direction of a new head coach, Frank Pitt.

Pitt is the fourth head coach in the program’s storied history. In 17 years since its commencement, the women’s soccer program at FMU has performed at a high standard, securing a record of 175-117-15, as well as an at home record of 101-27-7. Coach Pitt is eager to revive the team’s winning past.

“I had to take this opportunity…,” Pitt said. “We have a tremendous facility, great academics, and just a new spirit about things that gets me excited about being here.”

Before joining the ranks of FMU coaches, Pitt spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach at Kennesaw State University, the last four of which he served as an associate head coach. Judging from this previous tenure, Pitt is no stranger to winning. The Owls of KSU had a 132-42-15 record with Pitt on the coaching staff. This was highlighted by their national championship in 2003, Pitt’s first year with the team.

Pitt’s coaching experience runs deep. Prior to joining the staff of KSU, he served as head coach of the varsity girls’ soccer team at Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama from 1998-2002. Before that, Pitt was assistant women’s coach at the University of Montevallo for the 1997-1998 season. His coaching experience also includes being the head coach of the varsity boys’ teams of Hoover High School in Alabama and Huffman High School.

Pitt earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Birmingham’s University of Alabama, where he was a four-year letter winner on the soccer team. Pitt continued his education at UM where he earned his master’s degree in education. He wrapped up his playing career with the semi-professional Birmingham Grasshoppers.

This is Pitt’s first season as a head coach at the collegiate level. When asked if he felt any added pressure, being a head coach instead of an assistant, Pitt remained confident, drawing from his previous position at KSU.

“…I was allowed to do a lot of things the way I liked because my former head coach trusted me,” Pitt said. “That being said, it’s a lot of fun making the decisions.”

Another first reigns over the circumstances of this season. It marks the first season being played at the new Griffin Athletic Complex, which was completed in the spring. The baseball and softball teams were both able to complete their seasons in the new complex, but because of the timing of their season, both soccer squads (men and women) have to wait until this fall semester to break in their new home.

“The GAC is awesome! I believe most college coaches would be extremely happy with this facility,” Pitt said. “Offices and locker rooms on-site are wonderful. On top of that, it’s brand new!”

There are many new faces on the 2012 squad, although only two graduated seniors were replaced from last season’s team.

“There was a lot of turnover from last year’s squad,” Pitt said. “We’re still trying to set the goals. It’s a little early at this point, as the team is still getting to know each other. The team is bonding quickly and I feel the whole team is going to improve rapidly.”

The FMU women’s soccer team competes as a Division I Independent school. This year’s schedule includes away matches versus Coastal Carolina University, Charlotte, Maryland, Texas Tech University, and Duke.  Home games include matches versus Presbyterian College, Charleston Southern University, and University of South Carolina Upstate.  To close the season on senior night, FMU will compete against South Carolina State University.

Pitt remains confident.

“I do think we’ll be able to surprise a few teams and I know the ladies are always going to give it the best.”