Brian Dooley came to Florida Atlantic University in April 1999. As one of the nation's most successful head coaches at the Division II level, Dooley's assignment was not an easy one - to take over a fledging women's soccer program which had posted one winning season in its eight years of existence.

Today, 11 years and 122 victories later, FAU women's soccer is firmly established as one of the state's most successful programs.

"Coach Dooley has a lot of stats and numbers that show he is a great coach," said former player Brittany Comer (2005-08). "But that is not why he's a great coach." Dooley's contributions transcend a run of eight-straight winning seasons and three conference championship titles. His true impact is reflected in development of the student-athletes that have played for him.

"From the start Dooley saw potential in me that I could not," said Comer. "On the field he gave encouragement when needed, direction when necessary, and praise when deserved. Receiving that kind of feedback gave me the motivation to put in the effort needed to become the best player I could be."

His approach brought the program immediate success in his first season in Boca Raton, leading the FAU Owls to its first postseason tournament appearance in 1999. What had been an unexceptional 5-9-1 team in 1998 was transformed into a 14-game winner in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The Owls went on to win a school-record 16 games in 2003 en route to capturing the Atlantic Sun Conference crown.

  • 8-straight winning seasons (2000-2007)
  • 4-straight appearances in Atlantic Sun Conference title game (2000-2003)
  • 2005 NCAA College Cup Tournament qualifiers
  • Top defensive team in nation (2006), 16 shutouts in 21 matches
  • Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals (2006 & 2008)
  • Hosted First Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Florida Atlantic in School History (2009)

"Some of the best years of my life were spent at FAU and I owe that to Coach Dooley," said Rhonda Jones (2000-03), who was part of changing the culture of FAU soccer in Dooley's early years as head coach.

Jones was the 2003 Atlantic Sun Conference "Player of the Year," one of eight All-America players Dooley has coached, and one of more than 70 academic all-conference honorees.

"He goes beyond his duties as a coach to make sure his players are doing the best they can in school," said Jones. "He makes sure they are achieving even after they graduate and is always there to lend a hand or give advice. He's an amazing man, a friend for life and a wonderful role model."

Although soccer is an important factor in the decision that a student-athlete makes when they come to FAU, Dooley believes that the education they receive is what truly makes a difference in their lives.

Overall Records
Florida166-53-18 (.738)
FSU153-63-22 (.689)
UCF141-63-14 (.678)
FAU117-63-12 (.640)
Jacksonville101-86-15 (.537)
Miami 87-94-14 (.482)
Stetson76-100-15 (.437)
USF59-83-16 (.424)
FIU 62-98-18 (.398)
Conference Records
UCF 80-12-5 (.850) CUSA/ASUN
Florida 79-13-7 (.833) SEC
FAU71-24-7 (.730)Sun Belt/ASUN
Jacksonville 56-35-9 (.605) ASUN
FSU 45-28-11 (.601) ACC
FIU 29-38-8 (.440) Sun Belt
Stetson 39-51-9 (.439) ASUN
USF 34-51-10 (.410) BIG EAST/CUSA
Miami 25-46-7 (.365) ACC/BIG EAST

"I see them for many more hours than the professors," said Dooley. "I hear their complaints, doubts and fears everyday. I see their physical struggles in the strength and conditioning room and on the field. I see them force themselves into study hall and tutors. I see them barely make it to the cafeteria before it closes and I see them find a way to get the laundry done [sometimes] and the dorm room cleaned [never]. I see their tired eyes wishing for a day off but their hearts refusing to ask. But most of all, I see them overcome."

"I would hardly call this the end of my four years here with the FAU women's soccer program, because I know that the relationship and friendship built between coach Dooley and I will last for decades beyond this point. 2005 marked my freshman year at FAU, probably the greatest year to jump aboard the FAU family with exceptional girls and an exceptional coaching staff. Coach Dooley has been a father away from home. He treats each and every one of his players equally and will go beyond what any other coach will do to guarantee his players get the fullest experience. There aren't too many people or even players who realize that more than half of the benefits the women's program receives is all because of Coach Dooley's aggressive fundraising efforts off the field, and in the office. Coach Dooley has changed my life in many aspects. I would never have had the experiences and opportunities that have come my way if he did not have faith in me as a team player and most importantly a student athlete. Day in and day out I try and give back at least a fraction of what Coach Dooley and the women's program has given me." - Natalie D'Oria (2005-08)

Dooley and assistant coach Chris Gnehm continue to recruit world-class talent to Boca Raton. FAU's 2008 roster had a nice blend of local, national and international talent. The team consisted of 18 players from the state of Florida, three from other states, six from Canada and two from Finland.

"I have seen many student-athletes come in as nervous teenagers and leave as confident adults ready to make a difference in the world," said Dooley. "Our ability to bring in international student-athletes truly makes us see a difference in the world."

Ten former players have represented their respective
national teams (Finland, Scotland, Jamaica, Puerto
Rico). Four have gone on to play professionally.
including Susanna Lehtinen (pictured)

The future looks bright for FAU's new generation of players. Building on its first NCAA College Cup Tournament appearance in 2005; FAU transitioned into the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in 2006. Dooley has guided FAU to within one game of the SBC conference title twice in the past three years. FAU reeled-off five straight SBC wins in 2008 and for the second straight season, FAU fielded the league's "Newcomer of the Year."

"I have been fortunate to be part of a great program at Florida Atlantic University," said Dooley. "Having completed 10 seasons, I can't wait for the next decade. The university has grown so much over the past 10 years. Our improvement as an athletic department will only grow exponentially from here. The foundation is solid and the time is right."