Jennison named Saint Mary's head women's soccer coach

Paul Jennison

Saint Mary's University Sports Information Department

WINONA, Minn. ­— When the Saint Mary's University women's soccer team kicks off the 2020 season at UW-Superior on Sept. 1, there will be a new face roaming the sidelines as the Cardinals' head coach.

Saint Mary's athletic director Brian Sisson announced Monday that Paul Jennison will be that new face — taking over the helm of a Cardinal squad that finished 10-7-1 overall in 2019.

"We are thrilled to announce Paul Jennison as the head coach of our women's soccer program," Sisson said. "Paul clearly stood out amongst a very strong pool of candidates.  His passion, energy, character, past successes, and experience will be great for our student-athletes and this program moving forward.  

"Paul is so highly respected in the soccer community and again the future is bright for Cardinal women's soccer," Sisson added. "We are eager for Paul to connect with our women's soccer alumni, the Winona community and welcome him, his wife Lauren, and his daughter Charlotte to the Cardinal family."

Jennison comes to Saint Mary's after spending three seasons as an assistant coach in charge of the goalkeepers for the Northwestern (Ill.) University women's soccer team. During his tenure, the Wildcats reached back-to-back NCAA Division I national tournament appearances.

"My family and I would like to thank Brian Sisson and the search committee for this special opportunity," Jennison said. "From our first discussion to stepping on campus, you sense a 'people first' mentality that looks to develop leaders academically and athletically.

"Saint Mary's has all the framework to drive to the highest levels and help inspire student-athletes to become their very best," he added. "We are incredibly excited to get started and can not wait to begin our time in Winona."

Jennison's goalkeeping expertise is extensive with stops at various U.S. Soccer Training Centers, A staff coach with the Midwest Region and Illinois ODP,  Campton United Soccer Club and Baylor University's Summer Elite Camp. He is also currently involved with Illinois Youth Soccer and their Coaching Education department.

He holds a USSF National "A- Youth" License and Grassroots Instructor License. Also, a United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma, and Advanced National Goalkeeping Diploma, which were both earned with distinction.

Prior to his stint at Northwestern, Jennison spent nine seasons as both the boys' and girls' head soccer coach at St. Charles (Ill.) East High School. The girls' program won four straight regional championships and was the state runner-up in 2014 under Jennison. The boys' program won four conference title, advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2012 and won the regional title in 2012, 2013, and 2017.

The Middlesbrough, England, native played collegiately at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois before transferring to Eastern Illinois from 2005-07, where he was the Panthers' starting goalkeeper. He earned a Bachelor's of Science in Physical Education (Teacher Certification) from  Eastern Illinois in 2008 and completed his Master's of Science in Kinesiology, Coaching Education from Georgia Southern in 2014.

What They Are Saying About Coach Jennison:
• "Paul is man of great character and integrity. He believes strongly in the development of the whole person in the athletic arena, not just the athlete.  Combining this with his positive energy and enthusiasm, as well as his love for soccer, he will be a great asset to Saint Mary's and those fortunate enough to play under his tutelage." —Michael MoynihanNorthwestern head women's soccer coach

• "Congratulations to Saint Mary's on a great hire! Paul is a man of great character and his love of the game is contagious.  He will do a fantastic job serving the student athletes to develop them both on and off the field." —Paul JobsonBaylor head women's soccer coach

• "Having known Paul since he was a college player at Eastern Illinois University, and to have followed and observed his coaching career, I am delighted to hear that he is coming to Saint Mary's and the MIAC. His ability to teach life lessons through the game, make the team experience enjoyable, and produce winning players and teams forecast a bright future for Cardinal women's soccer." —Rob KehoeDirector of College Programs, United Collegiate Coaches