Lenard Looks to Lead Women's Soccer to New Heights
After 14 seasons leading Dallas Baptist University’s women’s soccer program, including a Division II NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance last season, Michelle Lenard was named the Baylor women’s soccer program’s sixth head coach Dec. 11, 2021. Lenard says the goal is to compete for a national title, while admitting the task is not easy.
“There are a lot of coaches in this room that have shown that you can do that at Baylor,” Lenard said at her introductory press conference. “We hope to be the next team at Baylor to win a national championship.”
Lenard, who had a 14-year record of 200-77-26 at DBU, follows former Baylor head coach Paul Jobson. She credits Jobson for leaving an “unbelievable foundation” that included two Big 12 titles and back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight (2017, 2018). Jobson stepped away from coaching in November 2021 as the winningest coach in program history (97-57-26).
“We want to build on past success and see if we can get this program to the next level,” Lenard said. “I will help the team understand that I’m here for them, that they’re my priority, and I want to serve them and help them reach their highest potential.”
A Lubbock, Texas, native, Lenard played four seasons at the University of North Texas (1999-2002). Her coaching career began as an assistant at Texas Woman’s University (2003-04), followed by two seasons at her alma mater.
Lenard led the Patriots to the NCAA postseason eight times, including a South Central Regional title and a 2015 Elite Eight appearance. Her 2021 squad won the Lone Star Conference regular-season title and became DBU’s first Final Four team; Lenard earned her 200th career victory during that season.
A week after being introduced as Baylor’s head coach, Lenard’s DBU staff was named the 2021 United Soccer Coaches National Staff of the Year. Lenard said Baylor’s mission is aligned with her life mission and what she believes God has called her to do.
“Coaching has never been a job for me; it’s always been a calling,” she said. “I feel that God has equipped me to coach at a high level and to compete for championships, and to disciple and mentor young women.”
Lenard, who is confident in her ability to be successful at the Division I level, said coaching is much the same regardless of division.
“As far as the soccer piece goes, the model that helped us be successful at DBU will help us be successful here,” she said. “It’s not a matter of division. We’re going to get to work, we’re going to work really hard, we’re going to introduce a very clear game model that the players can all get on board with, and make sure that we’re organized in our approach to the way we want to play.”
Lenard said Baylor will continue to build a Texas-heavy roster. The Bears’ 2021 roster included 15 of 26 players from the Lone Star State.
“But there are good soccer players all around the country and around the world,” she said.
Lenard quickly built a solid coaching staff at Baylor, including former DBU student-athletes and staffers Lea Sedwick Caffey (assistant coach) and Maggie Scales (director of operations). Lenard also added assistant coach Cole Ouren, formerly head coach at Central Christian College of Kansas, and volunteer assistant Cameron Carter, former assistant coach at the University of Texas at San Antonio.