| Tammy DeCesare
Tammy DeCesare begins her fifth year at the helm of the Western Carolina program. Taking over the Catamount Women's Soccer program on February 18, 2005, DeCesare has guided Western Carolina to two of the program's three Southern Conference Tournament titles in its brief ten-year history, including the best turnaround in the entire NCAA during the 2005 Southern Conference Championship run.
In 2008, the Catamounts made their second NCAA appearance with two thrilling penalty kick victories in a three-game run to the conference title. The tournament culminated with a PK victory over top-seeded UNC Greensboro in the SoCon Championship. The '08 squad also posted a 9-2-0 conference record, the best by WCU in their ten-year history. WCU also posted its third-ever ranking in the Soccer Buzz post-season regional poll - after receiving votes after the 2001 season, Western was a school-record 11th on the regional ledger in 2005 and 15th following the 2008 campaign.
DeCesare is just the second head coach all-time at Western, taking over the reins from former head coach Debbie Hensley who was instrumental in founding the program.
The 2005 DeCesare-led squad set a multitude of school records: wins in a single-season (18) - 13 of which were shutouts, also a school record - and claimed the school's first ever SoCon tournament title. Seeded fourth, WCU became the lowest seed to ever win the SoCon women's soccer championship, claiming the title after knocking off top-seeded - and previously unbeaten in the conference - Davidson and No. 2 seed, the home-standing Furman Paladins. DeCesare led the Catamounts in their first-ever appearance in the NCAA College Cup Championship, facing 17-time National Champion, North Carolina.
During the 2006 and 2007 seasons, DeCesare-led teams continued to shine, garnering top 20 regional preseason rankings and competing against nationally and regionally ranked non-conference opponents such as Nebraska, Clemson, Duke, Wyoming, NC State and East Carolina. In 2008, the Catamounts recorded their first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent, upending Southeastern Conference-member (SEC), South Carolina, 1-0 win in Cullowhee.
Under DeCesare's guidance, five Catamounts have earned All-Southern Conference accolades including two first team selections (Heather Dittmer, 2006; Shanna Schmoker, 2008) and three on the second team (Emily Pierce, 2005; Alesha Row, 2005; Arlan Whittle, 2008). Kayla Beauduy was named to the inaugural All-Freshman team in 2008.
A combined eight players have garnered All-tournament accolades, including Whittle, WCU's lone three-time recipient, and Schmoker twice. An additional three players - Casey Davis and current Catamounts Shannon Fowkes and Catilin Williams -- have combined for five SoCon Player of the Week honors. Row and Williams were also named SoCon Player of the Month (November, 2005 and 2008), and Dittmer was named to Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week (2005), a program first.
Beyond player recognition, DeCesare was recognized by Soccer Buzz and named Regional Runner-Up Coach of the Year for the Southeast following the 2005 season.
In an environment that is intense but family oriented, DeCesare promotes both academic and athletic excellence. Through her four-year tenure, the Catamounts have been recognized nationally for their academic prowess by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) receiving the Team Academic Award all four years. In 2006 and 2007, WCU was ranked in the top ten nationally in cumulative team GPA boasting cumulative GPA's of 3.61 and 3.53 respectively. In 2008, the squad boasted a SoCon best 3.39 GPA.
DeCesare came to Cullowhee after six seasons as an assistant coach at UNC Wilmington. During her time alongside head coach Paul Cairney, she helped the Seahawks compile a 59-50-5 overall record, which included a 14-2-1 tally against Southern Conference foes. During her tenure at UNCW, the team was recognized for three consecutive seasons with the NSCAA Team Academic Award. DeCesare obtained her Masters of Education from UNCW in 2002, completing the program with a 4.0 GPA. In addition to her collegiate endeavors, DeCesare was very active in youth soccer in the Wilmington community coaching with Cape Fear Youth Soccer and the Port City Storm Soccer Club.
A four-year starter at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC, DeCesare helped the Indians become a nationally ranked program. She helped Catawba capture a pair of South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Tournament titles and a SAC regular season conference championship during her playing career. Serving as team captain, she earned All-Conference honors during her senior campaign. Additionally, DeCesare also played basketball at Catawba, duplicating her efforts as team captain for the Indians' hoops squad and helping lead them to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. Upon her graduation, DeCesare played two years of semiprofessional women's soccer for both the Hampton Roads (Va.) Piranhas and the Carolina Speed of the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL).
DeCesare is also involved in the development of youth soccer with both the North Carolina and Region III Olympic Development Program for the last seven and five years, respectively. With her most recent NC ODP team, she coached several All-Region team players and three National Pool/Team selections in their respective age groups. On the Region Staff, she has accompanied two different teams on foreign tours to play international competition- one to Costa Rica in 2007 and one to Denmark and Sweden last spring.