Anson Dorrance is a retired women’s soccer head coach at the University of North Carolina. He is one of the most successful coaches in the history of athletics. Under his leadership, the Tar Heels have won 22 of the 24 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championships and have had a 101-game unbeaten streak. He coached 13 women to a total of 20 National Player of the Year awards.
He was recognized by the NCAA as Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year seven times, was National Coach of the Year eight times, and ACC Coach of the Year ten times. In 2008 he was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Dorrance was born in Bombay, India, in 1951, and moved with his family throughout Europe and Africa due to his father’s career as an American oil executive. He graduated from boarding school in Switzerland in 1969. He grew to love soccer while living in Kenya. He then graduated from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy. There he played soccer and was a three time All-ACC player. He later attended the University of North Carolina School of Law. He also became the UNC men’s soccer coach. In 1987, he led the team to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and the NCAA Final Four. That same year he also won the NCAA Men's Soccer Coach of the Year. He also began teaching the newly formed women’s team in 1979.
He also led the U.S. women's national team to the 1991 World Cup title.
Before his retirement in 2017, he was invited to deliver the Last Lecture at the university, the premise being, “If you knew this was the last lecture you would ever give, what would you say?” He focused on building character at college and throughout life. “I’d like to challenge you to choose character, to build your own resilience, your own positivity, your own capacity to be loyal, to care, connect and love.”
Dorrance and his wife, M’Liss, converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1976.