Feb. 5, 2013
FORT COLLINS, Colo.—Veteran Division I soccer coach and Colorado resident Bill Hempen has been named Colorado State University’s first head women’s soccer coach. Director of athletics Jack Graham made the announcement on Tuesday, less than two weeks after announcing the university’s sponsorship of the sport.
Hempen will now quickly assemble the rest of his coaching staff and begin recruiting student-athletes for the program’s first season, which will begin this fall.
“I am excited to welcome Bill Hempen to the Ram Family,” Graham said. “To attract a coach of his quality and caliber speaks volumes about the excellence of Colorado State University. His experience in building a program and his track record of developing student-athletes make him the right choice to lead our new women’s soccer program.”
Hempen is one of the sport’s all-time greats, ranking No. 17 in NCAA Division I history for career wins (276-188-44). In 24 seasons as a head coach he has developed 10 All-Americans, coached six players who have gone on to play professionally and guided his 1992 Duke team to the NCAA championship final.
Hempen earned National Coach of the Year honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 1992, and has been named conference coach of the year four times.
“The opportunity to build the women's soccer program at CSU is a dream come true for my family and me,” Hempen said. “I would like to thank Jack Graham for inviting me into the Rams family and giving me the chance to be part of such an excellent university. When asked if I could start today they did not realize I had already clocked in!”
Hempen began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Northeast Louisiana in 1982 before assuming a full-time assistant coaching position at Centenary College in Shreveport, La., a year later. After three years at Centenary he joined the Duke men’s program as an assistant coach in 1986 and was part of a staff that led the Blue Devils to three NCAA tournament berths, including a national championship in his first season.
When Duke added a women’s soccer program in 1988 Hempen was tabbed to build and develop that program from the ground up as its first head coach. He earned more than 160 wins in 13 seasons (1988-2000), coaching seven All-Americans and appearing in eight NCAA tournaments in his final nine seasons in Durham. In 1992, the Blue Devils advanced to the national championship game just five years after the team’s inception.
After his tenure at Duke, Hempen spent 11 seasons in the state of Colorado, transforming the University of Colorado women’s program.
Prior to his arrival in 2001, the Buffaloes had never produced a winning record. In 2003, Hempen’s third at CU, his team won the Big 12 title and advanced to the NCAA tournament, the first of six under Hempen’s tutelage. That year, Hempen also was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Hempen went 114-88-28 at CU before stepping down after the 2011 season. The Buffs advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006, and during his time in Boulder, three of his players earned All-America status.
Even more impressive is how quickly he was able to turn the program around. In 2001, his first at CU, the Buffs went 3-11-1. The year following, his team went 10-8-2, marking the biggest single-season turnaround in Big 12 history. Just one year later, his team was atop the conference standings.
Hempen has served as a scout and player development coach for U.S. Soccer since 2011. In that position he has identified players for the National Team and been involved in player selection, organization and coaching of the top Region III players. Hempen also has more than a decade of experience with multiple club and junior national teams. He has served as Director of Soccer for Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, Colo., for the past year, coaching both the boys and girls high school teams, in addition to overseeing the development of the middle and elementary school programs.
As a player, Hempen spent two seasons at Meramec Community College, playing goalie for the 1976 junior college national championship and 1977 runner-up teams. He then lettered two years at the University of Evansville, graduating in 1981 with a degree in health/physical education. After graduation, he was drafted by the New Jersey Americans of the American Soccer League.
Hempen and his wife, Stephanie, married in 1999. They have two children: Emma (13) and Lucas (11), and currently reside in Louisville, Colo.