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Kirt introduced as UT head soccer coach

Has been a mainstay on the Tennessee staff since 2007
New Tennessee head soccer coach
New Tennessee head soccer coach(Rick Russo)
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Joe Kirt was formally introduced as Tennessee head soccer coach on Monday.

During his 15 seasons on Rocky Top, Kirt has helped guide the Lady Vols to two SEC Tournament championships, two SEC Eastern Division championships and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.

As an assistant at Tennessee, Kirt played vital roles in goalkeeper development, technical and functional development for field players as well as constructing and implementing the program’s game model. During his introductory news conference, Kirt paid tribute to the strength of the Lady Vols brand put on the map by UT pioneers Pat Summitt and Joan Cronan.

Director of Athletics Danny White introduced Kirt to the Knoxville media on Monday saying, “When I met with the student athletes in our soccer program earlier this week, I asked what characteristics they valued in their next head coach,” White said after agreeing to a five-year contract with Kirt.

He went on to say, “The players talked about a leader who cares about their development beyond just athletics, someone who promotes a family-oriented culture, someone who empowers them to be themselves genuinely and someone who not only listens but truly hears. After examining several quality candidates, it became increasingly apparent that we already had the perfect fit right here in current associate head coach Joe Kirt.”

Kirt was instrumental in helping guide UT to its second straight SEC Eastern Division championship in 2021. The Lady Vols went on to defeat top-seeded Arkansas 3-0 in the final of the SEC Tournament, bringing the trophy home for the first time since 2008 before advancing in the NCAA Tournament to the Round of 16. With a record of 20-3-0, it was the winningest team in program history.

It’s a new coach with a familiar name. Kirt’s been around the program since 2007 and says he’s more than ready to take over the reigns, “ I could not have asked for a better experience to walk into knowing these guys as well as I do and they with me, all of the energy it takes to develop and cultivate those relationships. We don’t have to spend time doing it.”

On continuing to build on what’s been accomplished of late, Red-shirt junior forward Jaida Thomas added, “We don’t have to spend it. Definitely don’t miss a step going forward. We’re already like on a roll and I think that him now being our coach is just like, making it more fun and we’re like, just really pumped for the season coming up.”

Kirt replaces the very successful Brian Pensky, who has moved on to coach perennial power Florida State. A native of Brookfield, Wisconsin, Kirt holds a National Soccer Coaches Association of America national goalkeeping diploma. Joe and his wife, Susan, an eighth-grade teacher, reside in Knoxville with their sons, Landon and Luke.

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