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FSU hires Pensky as soccer coach

Florida State has hired one of the SEC’s best coaches to take over its soccer program.

Tennessee’s Brian Pensky led Tennessee for the last 10 years, winning the 2021 SEC championship as part of a 20-3 season. He also claimed back-to-back SEC East Division titles.

“Florida State’s soccer program is regarded as one of if not the best in the country and rightfully so,” Pensky said in a statement released by FSU. “The opportunity to be a part of this great program with the remarkable tradition is an honor. What Mark (Krikorian) did here over the last 17 years is unparalleled in our game. Simply put, he has been the best in the business.”

“But it is more than just the soccer program that attracted me. The status of the university as a top tier public institution academically is just as impressive as the athletic history. And I have coached in the ACC and I know the strength of the league is second to none in the country. I take over the program with endless humility and understanding of the task at hand.”

Pensky takes over for Mark Krikorian, who stepped down in March after winning three national titles (2014, ’18 and ’21) in 17 seasons in Tallahassee.

“After getting a great deal of input from our soccer student-athletes, we set out to attract the very best coach in the country to lead what has become the premier program in the country,” FSU athletics director Michael Alford said. “I am very pleased to announce that in Brian Pensky we have found the person whose talent and drive match our consistently high expectations for FSU soccer. 

“Coach Pensky is a proven winner both in the ACC which we consider the nation’s best conference and the SEC.  He has built programs and sustained consistent, high-level success proving his abilities time and time again. I am excited about the future of our program under Coach Pensky and we welcome him and his family to Florida State.”

He also won the ACC coach of the year in 2010 at Maryland. Pensky has experience as a men’s soccer assistant at Maryland (from 2002-04) and Loyola College (2001). He made the move from Maryland men’s soccer assistant in 2004 to the Terrapins’ women’s soccer coach from 2005-11.

Pensky’s full Tennessee bio can be viewed here. Former FSU athletics director Dave Hart was Tennessee’s AD and hired Pensky in 2012.

“He’s awesome,” Hart told the Osceola. “He’s had a lot of opportunities that he has passed up. He’s a commodity. He’s a big achiever. FSU can’t do better. Great to work with. … You don’t always have the opportunity to take a job on the heels of a national championship.”

This is the second head coaching hire by FSU athletics director Michael Alford. He promoted Brooke Wyckoff from assistant coach in March when Sue Semrau retired.

Pensky, whose overall record as coach at Tennessee and Maryland is 185-111-45, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University in 1991. He has an “A” license from the United States Soccer Federation as well as an NSCAA Premier and NSCAA goalkeeping diploma.

Pensky and his wife, Abby, have three children – boy-girl twins Will and Alex and their youngest son, Ben.

Osceola publisher Jerry Kutz contributed