Profile: Simply the winningest and most successful head coach in women's college soccer. Although he is mentioned synonymously with the North Carolina program, his resume includes several years as the architect of the U.S. Women's national team as well.
He has a knack for finding and developing talent. Sixty-two different Carolina players have won either first-, second- or third-team or honorable mention All-America honors over the years. In most cases these players have earned multiple All-America accolades. This group has included 48 first-team selections. Ten different Tar Heels have been named National Players of the Year during the program's history - April Heinrichs in 1984 and 1986, Shannon Higgins in 1988 and 1989, Kristine Lilly in 1990 and 1991, Mia Hamm in 1992 and 1993, Tisha Venturini in 1994, Debbie Keller in 1995 and 1996, Staci Wilson in 1995, Cindy Parlow in 1996, 1997 and 1998, Robin Confer in 1997 and Lorrie Fair in 1999.
North Carolina begins the 2000 season with a 199-6-2 all-time home record at Fetzer Field and it holds an 1,056-90 scoring edge in those 207 games. In its history, totaling 496 games, Carolina has shut out opponents 348 times and has been held scoreless in just 12 games.
Overall, Carolina has a 466-19-11 record under Dorrance and only once in 21 years have the Tar Heels lost more than two games in a single season. That came in 1980 when UNC was 21-5. The Tar Heels' 15 NCAA crowns are more than any other women's Division I program in the nation and the 16 national championships are more than any single sports program in ACC history, men's or women's.
Ironically, Dorrance's career plans did not originally include coaching a women's team. He began his coaching career at Carolina as the designated head coach for the men's team in 1976 during Marvin Allen's last year as head coach and he took over as head men's coach the following year. He served as head coach for the men's team for 12 years, posting a 172-65-21 record. His team won the Carolina men's only ACC Tournament championship in 1987 and he took the Tar Heels to the 1987 NCAA Final Four and to the second round of the 1988 NCAA Tournament. Dorrance's .708 winning percentage is tops among Carolina's men's soccer coaches and his 172 wins are just two behind his college coach and mentor, the late and legendary Dr. Marvin Allen.
When Carolina decided to make women's soccer a varsity sport in 1979, Dorrance became a two-sport head coach. Dorrance's brilliance at coaching women manifested itself almost immediately as it took just three years before the Tar Heels won a national championship, capturing the 1981 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national title.
Dorrance, who won all-conference and all-region honors while playing at Carolina, has also been chosen both men's and women's National Coaches of the Year. He earned women's national honors in 1982, 1986 and 1997 and he was named men's Coach of the Year in 1987.
In 1989, Dorrance was named the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America South Region Coach of the year. He was the Soccer News Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 1996 and the Soccer Buzz Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 1997. In 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1996, he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Soccer Coach of the Year.
In 1996, Dorrance received the highest honor possible from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). He won the NSCAA's Walt Chyzowych Award for lifetime coaching achievement.
In 1995, Dorrance's program was profiled in a full-length documentary film entitled, "Dynasty." The movie focused in particular on the Tar Heels' amazing nine-year national championship run from 1986 through 1994 and it included in-depth interviews with both current and former Tar Heel players.
Following the United States' victory in the women's world championships in 1991, he received an Honorary All-America Award, one of the most prestigious of its kind, from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
In 1991, Soccer America named Dorrance one of the 20 most influential men in American soccer over the previous 20 years.
A 1974 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both English and philosophy, Dorrance began his collegiate career at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas where he spent one year studying and playing soccer before transferring to Carolina to play for legendary soccer coach Marvin Allen.
As a gifted soccer player in Chapel Hill, Dorrance was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Team three times as an undergraduate and he won All-South Region honors in 1973. He was also one of the top intramural sports performers on the Carolina campus during his days as an undergraduate.
Prior to his permanent return to Chapel Hill in 1976, he organized youth soccer leagues in both Connecticut and North Carolina. He was the founder of both the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association and the North Carolina Senior Soccer Association.
Dorrance has an "A" level coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation and was the head coach of the United States Women's National team from 1986 until August 1994 when he resigned. The U.S. team was 65-22-5 during his tenure. Mike Ryan was the national coach at the inaugural international play of the U.S. Women's National Team in 1985. Dorrance took over a year later and led the program for eight years.
As National Team coach, he directed the United States as it shocked the world by sweeping through six games in China to the first world championship title in 1991.
Dorrance's final act as head coach of the Women's National Team was to lead the United States to victory at the CONCACAF Zone World Championship's qualifying tournament in Montreal in the summer of 1994.
Dorrance was born on April 9, 1951, in Bombay, India, and is married to the former M'Liss Gary who is an accomplished professional dancer. The Dorrances have three children, daughters Michelle and Natalie, and a son, Donovan.
Dorrance's soccer origins stem from his youth days living in Ethiopia. He also lived in Kenya, Singapore, Belgium and Switzerland as a youth. His family traveled widely as his father was an international businessman.
Another remarkable facet of the Tar Heel legacy is the number of former Tar Heel players, assistant coaches, staff members and managers who tutored under Dorrance at Carolina and who are currently head coaches or assistant coaches in collegiate women's soccer, with U.S. national development programs or in the women's professional ranks. The list is rather staggering in terms of its volume and of the quality of the individuals included on it. But it counts April Heinrichs ('87), formerly at Princeton, Maryland and Virginia, now the coach of the U.S. Women's National Team.