Ian Hennessy, a former MLS and an All-American soccer player at Seton Hall who served as an assistant coach at Boston College for four seasons, was named the head coach of the University of Delaware men’s soccer program on January 23, 2006.
The Cork, Ireland native agreed to a five-year contract extension in February 2014 after leading the Blue Hens to two NCAA Tournament appearances in three years.
Hennessy is the 11th head coach in UD men’s soccer history - which dates to 1926 - and only the third since 1963.
The Hens have grown on and off of the pitch under Hennessy’s guidance and have posted three straight 10-plus-win seasons for the first time in the program’s 90-year history. During his tenure, Delaware garnered the 2011 CAA Tournament Championship and 2014 regular season title while earning two trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Hens have also reached the CAA Finals four times in the past five years.
The 2015 squad posted a 10-7-4 record and advanced to the CAA finals for the second consecutive season while boasting three-time NSCAA Division I All-American Guillermo Delgado and Regional honoree Thomas de Villardi. Ben Sampson also became the third Delaware player to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America® accolades, joining Matt Haney (2004, 2005, 2006) and Kyle Davis (2009), all of whom played for Hennessy.
During the 2014 campaign, the Blue Hens captured their first-ever CAA regular season championship while registering an overall mark of 13-6-1 while going 5-2-1 in league action. Delaware opened the year with a program-best 6-0 record and earned 263 points to rank No. 11 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll. The squad finished the year ranked eighth nationally with a 2.05 scoring offense while All-American Guillermo Delgado placed ninth with 12 goals. A NSCAA Team Academic Award honoree, UD had 12 student-athletes receive academic accolades while Ben Sampson was just the second player in program history to earn CAA Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors alongside Matt Haney (2005, 2006).
Delaware also welcomed a new $1.5 million playing facility during Hennessy’s tenure as Stuart and Suzanne Grant Stadium was dedicated formally in November 2014. Formerly Delaware Mini Stadium, Grant Stadium features expanded seating for 1,400 fans, including a number of handicap-accessible seats, on elevated bleachers in addition to a new sound system, a television/film tower platform and a 48-foot, climate-controlled press box that accommodates 24 people.
Hennessy led Delaware to one of its finest seasons in school history in 2013 as the Blue Hens set a school record for wins in a season while going 14-5-1 and earning an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts, he was named the NSCAA South Atlantic Region Head Coach of the Year.
In addition to setting a school record for wins and best overall winning percentage in a season, the 2013 squad also established program standards for goals scored (45), assists (42), and corner kicks (144) in a single season. The Blue Hens finished the 2013 season ranked second in NCAA Division I in scoring offense, averaging 2.25 goals per game. Delaware received votes in the national NSCAA and College Soccer rankings throughout most of the season and recorded two Top 25 victories, downing then No. 8 UMBC and then No. 21 William & Mary during the month of October.
The Hens posted a 4-3 record in Colonial Athletic Association play to earn the No. 4 seed in one of the nation’s most competitive conferences, but dropped a heart-breaking decision to top seed Drexel on penalty kicks in the tournament semifinals. Delaware still earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and hosted a first round game for the first time in 40 years before dropping another heartbreaker, this time a 2-1 overtime setback to St. John’s before an overflow crowd of 1,123 at the Delaware Mini-Stadium.
Delaware also had a program-best eight student-athletes earn a total of nine All-CAA postseason awards, including CAA Rookie of the Year Guillermo Delgado. Delgado also earned second team NSCAA All-American honors and was joined on the All-NSCAA South Atlantic Region team by Borja Barbero, Vincent Mediate, and Ignacio Martin. In addition to the on-field success, two Delaware players, Ben Sampson and Luke Oostdyk, were selected to the prestigious CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic team. An impressive total of 15 student-athletes carried a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the academic year.
During the 2011 season, Hennessy led the Blue Hens to a dramatic post-season run as Delaware captured the CAA Tournament championship with three victories in four days. The Blue Hens posted a pair of penalty kick victories over Northeastern and James Madison, before edging 18th-ranked Old Dominion, 2-1, to win the team’s first CAA title.
Delaware traveled to Virginia, the 2009 national champion, in its first round game, and stunned the Cavaliers when John Dineen scored the lone goal of the match with 4:14 left in the second overtime period. The Blue Hens then headed to fourth-ranked and eventual Final Four participant UCLA, where they battled the Bruins before falling 1-0 on a goal with just 6:44 remaining.
Following their remarkable season, the Blue Hens were selected the 2011 Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association Delaware Team of the Year. Evans Frimpong was named a Second Team NSCAA All-American, was a First Team All-South Region pick, and was selected as the league’s Player of the Year. Roberto Giménez was a Second Team All-South Region selection and earned CAA Rookie of the Year honors, while Darren O’Connor was selected to the Third Team All-South Region.
In 2010, Hennessy guided the program to its first-ever appearance in the CAA tournament, earning the No. 4 seed. In the semifinals, the Hens forced double overtime against top-seeded William & Mary, which was also ranked No. 12 at the time, before falling 1-0. Delaware, which finished with a record of 6-9-3, landed a record four players on the all-conference team, including two Second Team selections in Jon Scheer and Evans Frimpong.Darren O'Connor earned a Third Team nod while Vincent Mediate was tabbed as the program’s first-ever All-CAA Rookie honoree. The 2010 season also marked the most conference wins for the Hens under Hennessy, going 5-4-2, the first winning conference schedule for Delaware since 1996.
In his first season at Delaware, Hennessy made big strides in helping the Blue Hen men's soccer team return to respectability in the Colonial Athletic Association. His 2006 team posted an overall record of 6-8-2, the most wins by a UD team since 2001, and placed ninth in the CAA standings with a mark of 4-7, the program's best CAA finish since joining the league in 2002 and most league wins since 2001.
Along the way, the Hens defeated long-time CAA powers William & Mary and James Madison for the first time in school history and captured the season-opening Towson Tournament in September with wins over Loyola and Adelphi. Of the team's eight losses, five were by one goal or less.
In 2007, the Blue Hens posted a record of 3-13-2 and placed ninth in the CAA with a mark of 3-7-1, but the season consisted of six one-goal losses. Among the victories was a 2-0 win late in the season over league champion Old Dominion, which advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament and was ranked No. 19 nationally in the final NSCAA/Adidas Top 25 poll.
The 2008 season yielded similar results as Hennessy’s Hens produced a record of 3-13-3 and 2-8-1 in the conference. Again Delaware was a competitive team despite its record. The team lost eight games by one goal and played in six overtime games. Among those overtime games was a 1-0 victory over conference-foe VCU - the program’s first victory in seven all-time meetings.
In 2009, Hennessy led his squad to a 7-12 season and a 4-7 CAA mark to place the Hens eighth in the 12-team league. The eighth-place finish was Delaware's highest finish since joining the conference in 2002, while the Hens' 23 goals scored served as the most since UD found the back of the net 25 times in 2004. Of UD's 12 losses, six times the Hens fell by one goal. Hennessy coached Darren Christie to a first team All-CAA accolade, while Kyle Davis earned ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America second team honors.
Hennessy earned his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University in 1990 and earned his doctorate in molecular biology from Columbia University in 2001.
He began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Rutgers in 2001, leading the Scarlet Knights to a 15-7-3 record, a No. 9 final national ranking, a No. 1 ranking in the Mid-Atlantic region, and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16. He then moved on to Boston College where he served as an assistant to head coach Ed Kelly for four seasons.
While at Boston College, the Eagles posted a combined record of 42-26-8, won the 2002 Big East title, advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2002, and moved on to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2004. Boston College spent numerous weeks in the national Top 20 during his tenure and moved as high as No. 6 during the 2002 season. The Eagles went 5-9-2 in their first year as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005.
Hennessy has also coached the New Jersey Imperials in the Premier Developmental League and was an assistant for the New Jersey Stallions in the United Soccer League. He coached at the Player Development Academy in New Jersey before moving to Boston and has served as the Olympic Development Program head coach for the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts. He currently works as a Region I ODP staff member and also holds a USSF “A” coaching license.
As a player, Hennessy excelled at both the collegiate and professional level. A former Republic of Ireland Youth International, Hennessy was recruited to Seton Hall by then head coach Ed Kelly, and played four seasons in 1986-89, leading the Pirates to three Big East titles. He earned Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors in both 1986 and 1987, scoring a goal in every Big East Tournament appearance, and earned a spot on the National Soccer Coaches Association All-American team in 1987.
He completed his career at Seton Hall as one of the school’s all-time great players and still ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in points (No. 2 with 134), goals (No. 2 with 52), and assists (No. 4 with 30). He was inducted into the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame on Feb. 9, 2006.
He began a 12-year professional playing career with the Boston Bolts of the American Pro Soccer League in 1990-91, played with the United States Indoor Soccer League’s New York Fever (1993-94) and New Jersey Stallions (1995-96), was a member of the Major League Soccer’s New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1996-97, and played for the Connecticut Wolves of the A-League in 1997-98. He also played for the Reading Rage of the United Soccer League.
Hennessy's Career Year-by-Year Head Coaching Record
|Year||School||Record||Conf. Record (Finish)||Highlights|
|2006||Delaware||6-8-2|| 4-7 (9th)
|| First Season at Delaware
|2007||Delaware||3-13-2|| 3-7-1 (9th)
|2008||Delaware||3-13-3|| 2-8-1 (12th)
|2009||Delaware||7-12|| 4-7 (8th)
|2010||Delaware||6-9-3|| 5-4-2 (4th)
||CAA Tournament Semifinals|
|| 6-4-1 (4th)
|| CAA Champions
NCAA Tournament Second Round
|| 2-5-3 (8th)
|| 4-3-0 (4th)
|| CAA Tournament Semifinals
NCAA Tournament First Round
NSCAA South Atlantic Region Head Coach of the Year
|2014||Delaware||13-6-1|| 5-2-1 (1st)
|| CAA Tournament Finals
|2015||Delaware||10-7-4|| 5-2-1 (3rd)
||CAA Tournament Finals|
|Career||10 Seasons|| 79-90-24 (.471)
|| 40-49-10 (.454)
|Alma Mater:||Seton Hall|