Experience: Third Season at Vanderbilt; second as Head Coach
2012: A dynamic recruiter, excellent tactician and passionate leader, Derek Greene officially was named the head coach of the Vanderbilt women's soccer program on Nov. 8 after serving as the team's interim head coach since July.
A 16-year veteran of collegiate women's soccer, Greene's coaching career has been highlighted by success at a number of schools in the southeast. Greene's most notable stop was at Ole Miss. Hired as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach, Greene helped lead the Rebels to their first three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a second-round appearance in 2003 following a victory over Texas. Greene helped guide Ole Miss to seven consecutive Southeastern Conference Tournament berths--including an SEC Western Division title and second-place overall finish in 2005--and recruited four Freshman All-America selections to Oxford.
Since joining Vanderbilt's staff 21 months ago, Greene's tireless work ethic and devotion to the program have not gone unnoticed, especially by Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics David Williams II.
"We were impressed by the energy and enthusiasm we've seen from Derek and we believe he and his staff will move our program forward," Williams said. "Coach Greene was well received by the Vanderbilt soccer family while he was our interim head coach, and we are on the same page in that we both want our program to become a competitive force in the Southeastern Conference."
A graduate of the University of Tennessee with seven years of coaching experience at Ole Miss, Greene is quite familiar with the SEC. He has been in Nashville for the past three years, coming to Vanderbilt in 2010 after a one-year stop at Belmont that saw the Bruins win an Atlantic Sun regular season co-championship and advance to the tournament finals. Greene served one season as a Commodore assistant coach under Ronnie Woodard before taking over the team when Woodard announced her retirement earlier this year.
"I would like to thank David Williams and his management team for this tremendous opportunity," Greene said. "My family and I are grateful for the confidence they have shown in me and my staff, and I feel blessed to have the chance to lead this program in the nation's premier athletic conference. Vanderbilt is an elite academic institution and we are going to work diligently to make sure we reflect that same standard on the soccer field.
"I share David's goals for Vanderbilt Athletics. We will work hard to get this program back to the level where it once was and we will work to sustain that success on a consistent basis. When we are on the road recruiting, people across the country know about Vanderbilt's wonderful academic reputation; we want to brand Vanderbilt Soccer in the same way. Our goals every year will include competing at the top of our league for championships and making NCAA Tournament appearances."
Greene hopes to return his Vanderbilt squad to the past prominence that saw the Commodores advance to the NCAA Tournament in five straight seasons, 1994-98, and earn back-to-back berths in 2005-06.
Greene got his start in coaching nearly 20 years ago with the Knoxville Stars Soccer Club. He developed a team that went from third to second to first in the Tennessee youth soccer ranks over a period of three years, and guided that program to a Region III semifinal appearance. Five years of club experience led Greene to a position with the University of Tennessee's new varsity women's soccer program in 1996.
After serving on staff at his alma mater for a year, Greene was named the head coach at Division II Carson-Newman College. In 2000, he led the Eagles to their first South Atlantic Conference semifinal appearance with a victory over nationally ranked Wingate.
Greene made his way back to the SEC in 2002 and immediately made his mark on the recruiting trail. Among the recruits he helped bring to Ole Miss was 2005 Freshman of the Year Jennifer Hance, a four-time All-SEC honoree who went on to play professionally.
Team success once again followed Greene. The Rebels would advance to the NCAA Tournament in 2002, 2003 and 2005 while posting the fourth-highest conference winning percentage from 2002 to 2008. Ole Miss also boasted a 15-game unbeaten streak in conference play spanning the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
After helping Belmont to its best finish in the A-Sun in 2009, Greene was brought to Vanderbilt as Coach Woodard's top assistant.
"I would like to thank Ronnie for giving me an opportunity to come back to the Southeastern Conference and coach as such a great institution," Greene said. "Ronnie and I have known each other for 10 years, and I was excited for the chance to join her on staff at Vanderbilt."
This season in Nashville, injuries battered the 2011 Commodores. Vanderbilt finished the season with an 8-11 record, but did manage a signature victory over conference rival LSU, who had been the last undefeated team in SEC play. The Commodores faced 10 opponents that earned bids to the NCAA Tournament, including national seeds Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Memphis.
"This was a difficult year for all of us with so much adversity to overcome," Greene said. "All of the injuries took a toll on our rhythm and ability to have any sort of consistent line-up. But I'm proud of how hard the team worked through all of it. I know our adversity this year will only make us stronger moving forward. Our staff and our team are excited about what is in store for the future of Vanderbilt women's soccer."
Assistant coaches Sebastian Vecchio--who trains goalkeepers and coordinates VU's recruiting efforts--and Christine Breaux--a former All-SEC player at Ole Miss that joined the staff this fall--will continue to play their key roles on Greene's staff.
Greene and wife Gail reside in Nashville with their 15-month-old son, Max.
Georgia Head Coach Steve Holeman
"I'm excited for Derek and the opportunity he has ahead of him. His experience in the SEC has prepared him well to lead Vanderbilt back on the national stage. He is a tremendous coach, a hard worker and a great recruiter and will certainly achieve great things at Vanderbilt. I wish Derek, his family and his staff the very best."
LSU Head Coach Brian Lee
"Not only will the hiring of Derek Greene pay dividends for Vanderbilt's program, but it will also strengthen the depth of quality programs in the SEC for years to come."
Memphis Coach Brooks Monaghan
"Derek has all the tools to take a program to the top. He's extremely passionate, he's a great recruiter and he knows the game extremely well. A few years down the road, I don't know if we're going to want to play Vanderbilt because I think they're going to be extremely good. I'm very confident of that."
Oklahoma State Head Coach Colin Carmichael
"I have been fortunate to know Derek as a coach and friend for the past 10 years. He is a great coach and a terrific person. Derek has all the attributes that are necessary to lead Vanderbilt's women's soccer team back to national prominence. His experience and passion for the game will help his players achieve great success on and off the field."
Rising Senior and Team Captain CJ Rhoades
"Derek has had a strong impact on our program. Even though we didn't have the best season, it was the best team I've been a part of--in terms of work ethic and discipline--and the most fun I've had. He created a new dynamic and helped foster our love of the game. He's keen and passionate about the team, and has gotten everyone excited about the direction of our program."
2010 SEC All-Freshman Selection Claire Romaine
"Derek is a great presence as a coach and mentor. He is incredibly passionate and has really high expectations for our program, which is fantastic. Derek promotes a 'lead-by-example' style, and backs it up by always being available to put in extra work in the film room or on the field. He believes our team can have success and represent everything that is great about the university. I'm proud to be a part of the Vanderbilt Commodore family."
Coach Greene's Resume
Interim Head Coach, Vanderbilt University
Assistant Coach, Vanderbilt University
Assistant Coach, Belmont University
Associate Head Coach, University of Mississippi
Assistant Coach, University of Mississippi
Head Coach, Carson-Newman College
Volunteer Assistant Coach, University of Tennessee