Skyhawk Soccer | Phil McNamara - Head Coach
Leading The University of Tennessee at Martin soccer program to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances is Phil McNamara, who was named UT Martin’s fourth head soccer coach on March 23, 2010.
One year after McNamara took the Skyhawks to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, he posted arguably the best season in school history in 2012. UT Martin captured its first outright Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship on its way to a new program record for single-season winning percentage (.659, 13-6-3). In the NCAA Tournament, the Skyhawks pushed Southeastern Conference power Kentucky to the limit before a narrow 1-0 loss in overtime.
For his efforts, McNamara garnered 2012 OVC Coach of the Year honors. He also presided over five players who were All-OVC performers, including Saphyra Coombs-James - the program's first-ever OVC Freshman of the Year. All in all, eight of McNamara's players earned All-OVC or All-OVC Tournament accolades in 2012.
McNamara’s second season at UT Martin was a banner year, as the Skyhawks captured their first-ever OVC Tournament championship in 2011. UT Martin won a program-record six straight games from Oct. 21 through Nov. 6 on its way to a school record for victories (14) before falling to then-undefeated Memphis in its first NCAA Tournament match in school history. The Skyhawks boasted four players on the All-OVC team, including Melissa Govea (the league’s Defensive Player of the Year) and Brooke Robertson (the fourth player in program history to achieve All-OVC first team status in two different seasons).
In his debut season as Skyhawk skipper, McNamara guided UT Martin to an 8-8-2 record and 3-4-1 OVC slate. The Skyhawks began to click midway through the schedule, winning seven of nine games during one stretch. UT Martin also continued its home dominance under McNamara, putting together a five-match win streak and going unbeaten for a 58-day span, falling only in the home opener and finale in 2010. The stingy Skyhawk defense also excelled under McNamara, as the team tied an all-time single-season record with eight shutouts.
McNamara came to UT Martin from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., where he led the Eagles to the NCAA Division II championship tournament in each of his last seven years. His teams advanced to the NCAA Final Four in back-to-back years in 2004-05 and won five regular season league titles and four South Atlantic Conference tournaments. During his eight-year tenure at Carson-Newman, he picked up the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year honor four times.
At Carson-Newman, McNamara’s teams were consistently ranked, as his players garnered several top honors throughout his tenure. All in all, he coached 43 all-conference players, 22 all-region players, four All-SAC Tournament members, four All-SAC tournament MVP’s, four All-Americans (including the first in Carson Newman history), four All-NCAA Tournament team players, three SAC Players of the Year and two SAC Freshmen of the Year. In addition to coaching the program’s first-ever national All-American, he also guided the Eagles to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and NCAA Tournament victories. Four players also earned national or regional academic All-American awards under his watch.
McNamara’s 2009 Carson-Newman team was the best in school history, as they set a single-season record for most wins (20). They finished ranked seventh in the nation after winning their third NCAA Southeast Regional title under his guidance.
McNamara won 11 games or more every year for the past eight years at Carson-Newman, a tremendous feat considering the Eagles had never won more than 11 games in any one season in its first 11 years of playing soccer prior to McNamara’s hiring.
Before Carson-Newman, McNamara served two seasons at Virginia Intermont in Bristol, Va.. He posted a 17-12 record and he led the team to both conference and regional championships. He was named conference and regional coach of the year. He spent the 2001 season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs. The men were ranked 18th in the nation.
McNamara also served as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s programs at his alma mater, King College in Bristol, Tenn.
McNamara has three European coaching licenses and has served as a youth coach for the Irish Football Association (IFA) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. As a player, he was a YTS trainee with Ashton Villa FC in England for two years, and spent one season with the Carrickfergus Rangers FC in the Irish First Division. He was a member of the Cliftonville FC in the Irish Premier League for four years before ending his playing career in the United States, spending one season playing indoor soccer with the Huntsville Fire of the Premier League and two years with the Roanoke Wraft of the PDL D-2 League.
McNamara is married to the former Jacqueline Logue of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has two children, Halina and Anthony.