The Golden Bears rounded out their final 2013 roster with two strong additions to head coach Neil McGuire’s coaching staff in Chris Lemay and Laura VanWart.
Lemay and VanWart join the team with a combined 14 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience, plus extensive experience on the club and player development side.
Lemay most recently spent a season as assistant coach at San Diego State, during which the Aztecs won both the Mountain West regular season and conference tournament championships and went 21-2-1 with a No. 4 national ranking after being defeated in the NCAA round of 16. He was also the assistant coach at UC Riverside from 2003-2006, where he helped the team to a 45-20-14 overall record during his tenure and a 2005 NCAA tournament bid.
"Chris brings a wealth of club and collegiate experience to Cal. He is a proven winner and an outstanding coach, and has a competitive fire that will help inspire our team," McGuire said.
Aside from coaching at the collegiate level, Lemay spent time as an assistant coach for the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s San Diego Sea Lions, featuring three women’s World Cup players. A licensed United States Soccer Federation Class A coach, Lemay was also the head coach for the San Diego Surf Soccer Club’s girl’s U9 to U18 teams, leading his players to four state cup championships. He was named the San Diego Surf Girls Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2013 and was also a finalist for the award in 2009. Prior to that, he was the Del Mar Sharks’ Director of Younger Girls Programs and head coach for the U8 to U18 teams from 2001 to 2007, where he won three state cup championships. In total, Lemay’s teams have won seven Cal South State Cup Championships, including two national state cups. Most recently, Lemay’s 2012-13 U12 Surf team won the Cal South National State Cup Championship and were crowned regional finalists. His U14 team won the prestigious Southern California ECNL conference championship and took third nationally.
He was a four-year starter at Eastern Michigan from 1995-2000, where he graduated with a degree in communication and a minor in business management, before playing for the USISL semi-pro soccer club Michigan Madness.
VanWart, a 2001 Cal grad with a history degree, will serve as the team’s volunteer assistant coach after assisting at St. Mary’s since 2011 and in 2009 after a season as assistant coach at Long Beach State from 2010-11.
"Laura offers our program a number of important factors. She is a very talented coach who is well-connected in our community, and will be an excellent role model to help our student-athletes navigate both their athletics and academics at Cal," McGuire said.
While at Long Beach State, Laura helped guide the 49ers to the NCAA tournament. In the 2010 season, Long Beach State tied its school record with 14 wins and won the Big West Conference Tournament after being picked to finish 6th in the pre-season Big West Conference coaches' poll. At Saint Mary’s, she worked worked primarily with the forwards and midfielders, and in 2009 helped the program to its best offensive season since 2002, scoring in 19 out of 20 games.
VanWart started her collegiate soccer coaching career as an assistant coach at Contra Costa College in 2004 before becoming head coach in 2006. She was named the Bay Valley Conference Coach of the Year in her first year as head coach, and served as head coach until 2009.
Her experience also includes high school and club team development as well, serving as assistant director of the Bay Area Oaks Soccer Club since 2011 and coaching Olympic Development club soccer since 2003. VanWart coached El Cerrito High School’s junior varsity women’s soccer team from 2003-05 before coaching the varsity team from 2005-08. She joined the coaching staff of Las Lomas High School’s varsity team from 2008-09.
The pair join McGuire and assistant coach Cori Alexander as the Golden Bears look for their tenth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Cal opens the season on the road on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. against UC Irvine.