|Sport(s):||Men's and Women's Soccer Coach|
It is so rare to have three 500+ career win coaches on a collegiate staff, but Maryville College has been blessed with this predicament. So rare indeed that to this date only Maryville College and Washington University in St. Louis are the only Division III schools in the country with three 500+ active program leaders. After today all three, Randy Lambert, Kandis Schram, and now Pepe Fernandez have been honored for their career contributions to their sport at MC with induction into the Maryville College Wall of Fame.
Pepe Fernandez was a two-time All-American while attending Tennessee Wesleyan College. Upon graduation Coach Fernandez began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He soon took his first head coaching position while teaching at Hixson High School where he took the Wildcats to the state championship game in 1986. He directed Hixson to an undefeated regular season in 1987 before taking his leadership skills to Chattanooga’s Notre Dame High School. After a season with the Irish, the Fighting Scots program came calling.
Coach Fernandez was challenged to direct the men’s program beginning in the fall of 1989 and organize a new women’s program beginning in the fall of 1991.
From 1989-1994, Coach Fernandez wasted little time creating a successful program mentality within each squad. His women posted four consecutive winning seasons winning at a 70% clip while his men finished with winning seasons in five of the six campaigns. The women’s program produced three all-region performers while going 46-19-9 and honoring the program’s first All-American in Wall of Fame Inductee Julie Dingels. Fernandez’s men earned 74 wins while 13 different Scots garnered All-South Region accolades. Ryan Riggins and Chris Reid are the men’s program’s only four-year award recipients. Reid soon earned MC’s first male soccer All-American accolade under Pepe’s guidance.
Coach Fernandez’s next five seasons (1995-2000) mirrored the success of the previous six campaigns. Both programs collectively posted 109 wins with a combined winning percentage of 62%. Coach Fernandez’s 1995 and 1996 men earned NCAA Tournament bids. Pepe’s third All-American, Jody Tootle, emerged and the programs could boast of 17 All-South Region performers during this time frame including men Chris Reid, Jody Tootle, Johnathan Brabson, Paul Wieck, and Michael Williams. Women standouts included Jennifer Windrow, Chris Rajkowski, Karrie Wilson, and Mandy Franklin.
From 2000-present, Coach Fernandez’s Scots competed within and simply dominated the Great South Athletic Conference in Soccer. For eleven seasons his Scots have accumulated an amazing 293 wins and 15 Great South Championships. His men have gone 144-53-15 for a 73% winning percentage during this time frame. This four time men’s GSAC Coach of the Year produced 64 All-Conference performers, 22 All-South Region performers, and four Academic All-Americans while winning six league titles, including the last four in a row. His 2005 men advanced to the NCAA’s “Sweet Sixteen” going futher than any Scots team on the pitch.
His women have also done some great things during this Great South dominance. Nine consecutive GSAC titles beginning in 2002 highlight this era. His women have posted a 109 match unbeaten streak within the league while going 149-58-12 with a 72% overall winning percentage. This two-time GSAC women’s Coach of the Year developed 57 All-GSAC standouts, 15 All-South honorees and one Academic All-American.
Pepe Fernandez and his programs have developed seven Wall of Fame members consisting of Kelly Smelcer (2002), Walter Walsh (2003), Julie Dingels (2005), Randy Evans (2005), Ryan Riggins (2008), Ben Sohrabi (2009), and Lara Sibold (2010). Coach Fernandez, with his 248 women’s victories and 68% winning percentage, is the NCAA Division III’s 44th winningest active coach by percentage and 14th by victories. Among women coaches all-time he is the 49th best by percentage and 21st best by wins. On the men’s side he is the 29th top active coach by percentage with his 274-116-25 career mark. His mark of 274 men’s wins is 27th best among active coaches. Among All-Time Coaches Fernandez is ranked 39th with his 69% win percentage and 43rd in victories.
Collectively, these numbers are just hard to beat: 70 All-South Region performers, 121 All-Great South honorees, 5 Academic All-Americans, 3 All-Americans, 7X GSAC Coach of the Year, 15 GSAC Championships, and 11 NCAA Tournaments.
Pepe is proudly supported by his parents Lois and Jose. His father Jose is a Tennessee Soccer Hall of Famer and considered the Godfather of Soccer. His wife Fran, and his sons Marc and Chris are a big part of MC’s and Coach Fernandez’s success over the years. Each student-athlete has become a member of the Fernandez family over the years and Pepe’s nephew Paul and niece Chrissy even played for the Wall of Fame mentor.
Ladies and Gentlemen, simply the best soccer coach in the history of Maryville College. Help me welcome Pepe Fernandez to the 2011 Class of the Maryville College Wall of Fame.
Head Coach (Tennessee Wesleyan College, '85/ Lincoln Memorial University, '90)
Coach Fernandez is from Franklin, TN. He attended Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN, and played in the Franklin Express Soccer Club in Williamson County. He played his collegiate soccer at Tennessee Wesleyan College, where he was a captain for three years, All-Conference for four years, All-South for four years and a two-time All-American.
Fernandez's coaching career began in 1985 as an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He soon moved to Hixson High School, where he took the Wildcats to the state championship game in 1986 and had an undefeated regular season in 1987. That fall, he accepted a coaching position at Notre Dame High School, guiding the Lady Irish to a Final 4 and then a state championship in 1988. His boys team made the regional final and regional semi-finals.
Coach Fernandez came to Maryville in 1989. At the conclusion of his 24th season at MC (2012) he has led the men's and women's programs to several national rankings and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance by the 2005 men's squad. Both teams have been consistently ranked in the Top 10 in the South and have had more than 50 All-South players and four All-Americans. After the 2012 campaign, Fernandez holds impressive career records of 292- 131-10 (.690) and 272-131-10 (.700) with the men and women, respectively.
With 292 wins, he is currently ranked 32nd in winning percentage among Division III men's soccer coaches, and he is ranked 34th in victories among coaches with a minimum of 10 years at a Division III institution.
With 272 wins, he is currently ranked 15th in victories among Division III women's soccer coaches, and he is ranked 25th in victories among coaches with a minimum of 10 years at a Division III institution.
Fernandez also played for two seasons in the USISL for the Knoxville Impact, serving one year as head coach. He is also a State Head Coach for the Tennessee Olympic Development Program and presently coaches the 96 boys. He holds the NSCAA National, Advanced National and Premier Diplomas and is also a USSF-certified coach.
Coach Fernandez was inducted into the Maryville College Wall of Fame in the fall of 2011.
He lives in Maryville with his wife Fran and two sons Marc and Chris.
The Fernandez Men's Soccer Era
Career (24) 292-131-10 (.690)
The Fernandez Women's Soccer Era
Career (22) 272-115-28 (.700)