The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is naming the field in its new soccer and lacrosse stadium for Anson Dorrance, the 22-time national championship-winning head coach of the Carolina women’s soccer program. The field, which will be known as Dorrance Field, will be officially dedicated on Sept. 29, before Carolina’s game against Notre Dame.
“It’s truly something special to see my family’s name enshrined as part of this beautiful new facility,” said Dorrance. “This honor is a tribute not only to myself and my loved ones but also all the women and men who played for me over the past 42 years. It honors my staff as well and all those who have contributed to both of our soccer programs being world-class, national champion entities. I am humbled by this tribute, especially so coming from my beloved alma mater. To see this unique, one-of-a-kind stadium come to fruition is so heartwarming as it sets up the future for generations to come for four of our university’s national championship sports.”
“From the team’s inception, Anson has built a true dynasty for women’s soccer at Carolina,” said Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. “Not only is he a world-renowned coach, he is a lifelong mentor and role model to our student-athletes who cares deeply for both their academic and athletic success. Anson is a Tar Heel legend who inspires us every day with his wisdom, determination and generous spirit.”
Now in his 43rd year of service to the Carolina soccer programs, Dorrance debuted as the Carolina men’s soccer coach in 1977 and added duties as head coach and founder of the women’s program in 1979. A 1974 graduate of Carolina and a three-time All-ACC player under Dr. Marvin Allen, Dorrance won 172 games in 12 years as the head men’s coach before moving solely to the women’s program in 1989.
Since naming Dorrance the women’s head coach in 1979, Carolina has an 855-75-40 record and advanced to the College Cup on 28 occasions. UNC’s 21 NCAA crowns are more than any other women’s NCAA Division I sports program in history and, with the 1981 AIAW national title, the 22 overall national championships are more than any single sports program in ACC history, men’s or women’s.
Nineteen different Tar Heels have won national player of the year honors under Dorrance’s direction, a list that includes some of the greatest players ever to play the game. He is a seven-time national coach of the year, an 11-time ACC coach of the year and a member of numerous halls of fame, including the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
In addition to his dominance at the collegiate level, Dorrance has had fantastic success on the international stage. After taking the role as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team just a year into its existence in 1986, Dorrance quickly built the team into one of the best in the world. That work culminated five years later as a United States team with nine of its 18 players coming from UNC beat Norway 2-1 to capture the inaugural Women’s World Cup title. In total, an incredible 59 former Tar Heels have earned international caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The dedication of Dorrance Field marks the third such honor for an active Carolina head coach in the last 15 months. Last July, men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, who has led the Tar Heels to three national titles, was honored by having the court in the Dean Smith Center bear his name. Last September, seven-time NCAA champion head field hockey coach Karen Shelton had her name added to the program’s new facility.
“Anson is the architect of one of the greatest sports dynasties in history, and his team values of character development, academic growth and athletic success have created phenomenal leaders who continue to share those ideals all over the world,” Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said. “His career is an inspiration to everyone at Carolina and motivates all of us to continue striving for greatness. This honor is richly deserved and we are proud that his name will forever be synonymous with Carolina soccer.”